|Tackling AIDS through sport:
In Sub-Saharan Africa, people under the age of 24 are most vulnerable to AIDS. Girls in particular in this age group are at risk of contracting the disease, as are orphans, many of whom have lsot parents and carers to AIDS. To reach young people and get them to act on AIDS prevention messages we must use all the tools at our disposal. Sport's huge popularity with Children and young people throughout the world provides us with a medium for engaging with them on their own terms. Well-designed programmes that harness sport's power to touch young people's emotions and desires have a role in realising the aspiration of an AIDS free generation. As we grew up, we knew sports activities were only intended to win prestigious awards and tournaments, but today sport has evolved so much to become a major effective communication tool in various aspects of development. Since January 2006, we have seen the effectiveness of sports as a means of communicating educational messages about HIV & AIDS. Tackling AIDS through sport describes initiatives that build and mantain leadership, equity, supports the empowerment of young people women and men and promote knowledge of transmission and prevention. Through sport, we have successfully been able to mobilise young people into sports activities, and as an entry point through organised sports tournaments we have been able to make young people more aware of the disease and how they can avoid to get infected.
HIV infection is rising in every region of the world and most worryingly in countries like Uganda and Thailand, which had been heralded as success stories in the fight against AIDS, the United Nations said on Tuesday 21 November 2006 UN report. Somebody is infected with the HIV virus every 8 seconds, equivalent to 11,000 infections worldwide every day, while another 8,000 infected people die, the two agencies said in a joint annual report "2006 AIDS Epidemic
Update". "Evidence shows again that the global epidemic is growing in all areas,"
Peter Piot, executive director of UNAIDS, told a news conference.
"Perhaps of even greater concern to me is the fact that in some countries that had known real results in the fight against AIDS -- Uganda and some western countries -- we see an increase in infection rates."
Some 4.3 million people across the globe became infected with HIV this year, with a heavy concentration among young people, bringing the total number to an estimated 39.5 million.
Sub-Saharan Africa, which recorded 2.8 million new infections, still bears the brunt of the AIDS scourge, with 24.7 million people living with HIV, according to the report.
Of the 2.9 million global deaths from AIDS last year -- which Piot said was the highest number recorded -- 2.1 million occurred in Africa, the core area of the 25-year-old epidemic.
PAST SUCCESS STORIES:
Uganda is among countries suffering a resurgence of infection rates which were previously stable or declining.
New data showed erratic condom use in Uganda and more men having sex with more than one partner, as well as evidence of rising HIV prevalence in some rural areas, according to Karen Stanecki, UNAIDS senior epidemiologist.
"In Thailand, another one of our past success stories, the number of new infections continues to drop but the epidemic is changing and countries such as Thailand and Uganda need to take into account the fact that epidemics do change over time," Stanecki said.
In Thailand, a large percentage of new HIV infections occur in people considered "low risk", she added, noting one third of new infections are among married women.
HIV infection rates currently are rising year on year with 45 milion new infections expected to occure between 2002 and 2010. The largest generation of adolescents in human history is now entering its sexual and reproductive life. According to UNAIDS, these young people (ages 15-24) are both "the most threatened-globally accounting for half of all new cases of HIV - and the greatest hope for turning the tide against AIDS.
The Country Director Africa Youth Ministries together with other guest pose for a picture with the winners of the tournament St. Burkhita Vocation School.
Popularity of sport amongst young people:
Sport has a huge power to attract and engage young people. In Uganda, sport is the most popular activity amongst teenagers of both sexes followed by music. In a survey for British Council to gauge the interests of young people aged 11-20, sport was the clear top response in the two sub-Saharan African Countries surveyed: Uganda (where 88% were interested in sport exercise) and Zambia 83 %. There's also a strong sense amongst Ugandan boys and girls 94% that they are interested in sport as a way for them to develop leadership skills. Football has enormous visibilty, support and enthusiasm in Uganda. In terms of overall interest in sport either as a participant or as a spectator, for boys football is by far the most popular activity 80% in Uganda. For girls in Uganda, football ranks the second in the list of interests (Uganda 36%) after basket ball & netball respectivelly. Football or Soccer as it is commonly known among teenagers is the sport played by most boys in Uganda, although girls participation is psread across a wider range of sports including soccer, netball, basketball and volleyball.
Watching soccer on television is also popular, 89% of Ugandan boys and 68% of Girls regularly watch it. This makes sports people popular, recognisable and credible role models for young people and provides them with a platform to spread positive messages and behavior.
Africa Youth Ministries Uganda, has been able to integrate successfully sports activities in our ongoing HIV/AIDS mitigation programmes with a major focus on out of school young people, this is the segment of our society that has been neglected by most Ngos, CBO's, CSO's & FBO's involved in the fight against AIDS. Through sports programmes and activities as a way to engage young people, we have been able to sensitise young people about the disease and how they can avoid to get infected, develop life skills for both boys and girls, promote a a sense of social inclusion, breaking down stigma, discrimination and to provide a safe and supportive environment for people living with AIDS and children affected by AIDS. Similarly, through sports activities we have seen the lives of destitute children change, we have seen those with good soccer skills get Education Bursaries and they are back in school. Through sports activities we have been able to tackle the problem of drug abuse among young people and we have seen many change positively.
Despite the great potential sport has in disseminating information on HIV and AIDS among young people, it has many shortcomings which include the following:-
- Majority of young people in our communities have no access to sports facilities, the most and commonly known sports activity is soccer because it only requires very little money to buy a soccer ball as little as US$16. Girls opportunities to sports activities in our communities are very limited because both Netball, Volleyball & Basket Ball require a slightly higher investment in the facilities required. Sad to note, due household commitments, girls have limited time to play.
World AIDS Day 1 December 2006 (Kick AIDS Out Junior League)
As we mark the World AIDS Day Friday 1st December 2006, Africa Youth Ministries Uganda will be participating in the “Kick AIDS Out” junior league featuring its Under 14 Suubi Team. The soccer league will run from the 1st & 2nd of December 2006. This league is organized by Kampala Junior League.
World Youth AIDS Day 2007 League:
Since 2004, Africa Youth Ministries Uganda has participated with different programmes & themes. In the coming year 2007, for the World Youth AIDS Day coming up on the 26th of February, Africa Youth Ministries Uganda will participate with the theme "Tackling AIDS through sport" . Our major programme activities will include aggresive HIV/AIDS sensitisation campaign in the Districts of Rakai, Gulu, Jinja & Wakiso using sport as an entry point target majority out of school young people. This will further include a soccer & netball league in both the 4 Districts for Under 20, 18, & 16. For our previous World Youth AIDS Day activities Click here
Registration for the teams that will participate in soccer, netball & cycling race is currently going on. We welcome any kind of assistance that is financial and material donations. For further inquiries, kindly send us an email at
or by phone +256-753-200002
Sports Bikes are Very Vital in Mobilising young people in our sports outreach program
Richard Kimbowa on his way to mobilize young people in the community for our sports outreach program. Him and others in this program uses sports bikes to reach the young people in the communities, this is cheap & affordable. You too can donate a sports bike to us.