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The Network

Attending a workshop organised by the first
Ladies office/OAFLA-Uganda for the AB network
Africa Youth Ministries Uganda, Peer Educators counsel students in Lugogo Show Ground on Sexual Abstinence (Students sign True Love Waits commitment Cards) October 2005
THE NETWORK
“Together we can fight the HIV/AIDS epidemic” Africa Youth Ministries embraces the principle of networking to fight the AIDS epidemic and better utilise the scanty available financial resources to implement projects that contribute towards the prevention of new HIV infections. Africa Youth Ministries Uganda is a member of the AB Network, this is a forum of mostly Faith Based Agencies that have committed themselves to promoting the AB strategy that is Abstinence for the unmarried and Be faithful to the married.
Similarly, Africa Youth Ministries is working at joining the Southern Africa & Global networks of organisations using sports as a medium of communication to bring to communities the messages of HIV/AIDS Prevention. The idea to use sport as a vehicle to address HIV/AIDS issues was developed in Zambia and Kenya, and the concept spread to other countries. The result was the formation of the Kicking AIDS Out! Network in 2002.
Kicking AIDS Out! is an international network of organisations working together to use sport and physical activity as a means of raising awareness about HIV/AIDS and motivating behavioural change amongst the youth. The Kicking AIDS Out! Network believes that “sport and physical activity is the best way of attracting this target group and creating an environment conducive to sharing positive messages about HIV/AIDS”.
Kicking AIDS Out! is a broad concept of integrating sport skills and life skills in physical activities at different levels of implementation. Depending on the focus of the individual organisation, Kicking AIDS Out! activities can be sport specific or involve movement games in Physical Education. Even drama, dance or poetry are used to spread a positive message about HIV/AIDS and other life skills areas.
Go Girl!
Empowering female role models in sport like referees and coaches plays an important role in the work of the different organisations, and Kicking AIDS Out of Uganda! is a good tool in these processes. When it comes to preventing teen pregnancy, few make the link with women’s sports participation. Common sense and a growing body of research suggests, however, that creating opportunities for girls to play a key role in reducing teen pregnancy.
Girls who play sports are likely than those who don’t to be virgins. They wait longer before having sex for the first time, have sex. When Girls participate in sports or other physical activities, they report higher levels of self esteem and wait longer before having sex for the first time.
Body language
Sport and physical activity is all about using your body and exploring its possible improvement. If you know your own body well, you will want to know how to protect it. Sport can show you how the body works and what happens when it its sick or injured. Right to Play states again under “Look after Yourself, look after One Another”
“All children need to learn that they have some control over their bodies, and that the choices they make and actions they take will affect their health. Girls, in particular, need to learn that their bodies can be self-controlled, and do not belong to others. The essence of body wisdom is clear in sport: respect for the body, for its beauty, its ability, and its potential.”

Knowing how to keep your self fit and how to treat injuries is an important part of physical education and sport leadership. This knowledge not only helps the youth understand how they can protect themselves in sport, but also how physical activity is an essential part of caring for yourself if you are infected with HIV.
Peer Leadership
Africa Youth Ministries Uganda use the concept of peer leadership in their approach towards youth. Youth listen to youth. Sex is known as a taboo issue in many African cultures, and young people all over the world find it difficult to discuss sex related questions with adults. Sport creates an arena where youth come together to have fun, but also to talk about things that are important to them. Africa Youth Ministries Uganda through Kicking AIDS Out of Uganda! helps bringing up different issues for discussion in a safe environment. Peer leaders can help facilitate these discussions, or just be there for individuals if they need to talk to someone they trust.
As an example, EDUSPORT in Zambia has developed a system of peer leadership where young players are given HIV/AIDS and leadership training, and the responsibility to build up their own team of younger players with whom they run Kicking AIDS Out! activities. In 200216, EDUSPORT had 128 Peer Coaches between the age of 13 and 19, of whom 60% are female.
 


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