Combining sports with HIV education to reach Maasai youth in rural Kenya
“For months we actively searched for appropriate audiovisual aids to teach HIV prevention to our youth and young adults. The official materials in Nairobi were not useful given they consisted of a handful of posters and simple brochures, and that too only produced in English. You can imagine our excitement when we came across the TeachAids materials. They were not only culturally sensitive and in Swahili, but they were free! We were finally armed with the tools needed to move forward with our HIV prevention related efforts.”
– Lena Koh, Health Program Development Director, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust
On June 1, 2012, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) combined the joy of sports with the importance of HIV education to promote safe behaviors in a remote Maasai community in the Chyulu Hills, Kenya. The event included a soccer tournament – the first of its kind – which brought together youth from throughout the region to engage both in sports and health education. Along with playing games, all the participants received HIV tests, counseling, and reproductive health education, including the Swahili TeachAids animation.
The HIV education sessions were delivered at nearby schools and hosted by MWCT, Kenya’s Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and several other local NGOs including AMREF, APHIAplus, Hope Worldwide, and World Relief. Over 180 adolescents participated in the activities, which included watching the TeachAids animated tutorials. They completed pre- and post-tests to assess the knowledge gains around HIV transmission. The results were greatly encouraging, said Koh.
“Our event was considered a grand success and received many accolades from local educators. MWCT found a significant increase in knowledge of HIV transmission routes after viewing the TeachAids materials. Furthermore, it was clear that the TeachAids materials served as a foundation for youth to engage in meaningful discussion around protective measures.”
Similar to other notable organizations throughout Africa, MWCT has identified sports as a powerful tool for social mobilization that can also serve as an important medium for addressing health issues that affect adolescents. The MWCT’s Soccer Tournament & HIV Awareness Day was held in a predominately illiterate, indigenous Maa and Swahili speaking community.
View a short message from individuals in the Maasai community after watching the TeachAids materials.
MWCT is a non-profit, community-based organization that seeks to protect the ecosystems of Kenya’s Chyulu Hills through conservation, health, and education programs that benefit the local Maasai communities. By providing quality medical care, conducting medical outreach to remote areas, and developing innovative ways to advocate for change in the community, MWCT aims to improve the lives of the Maasai people on Kuku Group Ranch. MWCT was recently awarded the UNDP Equator Prize 2012 for their successful local development work and conservation efforts.
Photo: Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust combines the power of sports with the TeachAids HIV prevention software to educate learners in the Chyulu Hills, Kenya.