"In many parts of Africa sporting activities, in particular soccer/football, are being incorporated into a variety of programs geared towards helping youth to address a broad range of issues affecting their lives. The "team" approach is especially important if countries are to successfully meet and overcome their current challenges, from poverty to HIV/AIDS, and from malnutrition to educational access.
"This summer we are challenging the creative world to design the perfect pitch in Somkhele, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. This facility, run by medical professionals from the Africa Center for Health and Population Studies, will serve as a gathering place for youth between the ages of 9 and 14 including a home for the first-ever girls football league in the area. The pitch will also act as a tool to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and eventually a service point for a mobile health care clinic. The title of the competition is Siyathemba, the Zulu word for hope."
In related news, check out The World Starts With Me!, "an online curriculum in sexual health and rights education, HIV/Aids prevention, life and creative skills for young East Africans." It combines online learning, games and creativity to talk with young people about their bodies and their choices in some pretty innovative ways. Cool stuff
The global effort against AIDS is changing gear
"THIS year's report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on the state of humanity's health concentrates on the '3-by-5' anti-AIDS initiative that the agency, and several collaborators, announced last year. The initiative's aim is to provide anti-AIDS drugs to 3m people in poor countries by the end of 2005. That might not sound much, given that at least 34m people are now thought to be infected with HIV, the AIDS-causing virus, but it would, in fact, be a huge leap forward. At the moment, only 400,000 of these people are getting the drugs they need.
"The plan is to create easy but efficient ways of delivering life-saving treatment. Obviously, pills would have to be provided in larger numbers. But drug regimens would also be simplified (at the moment, people have to take multiple pills at particular times of day). There would be better and more widely available diagnostic tests. Care and counselling would be delegated from doctors and nurses to paramedical 'community health workers', to avoid wasting scarce skilled manpower. And there would, inevitably, be 'mobilisation' of poor-country governments, charities, religious bodies, companies and United Nations agencies. According to Jim Kim, the head of HIV/AIDS at the WHO, the initiative will be launched in half-a-dozen countries by the summerthough which countries will benefit first has yet to be announced."