Coaches across Continents have accepted a unique challenge in partnering with Straight Talk, which works with adolescents in the community to talk about issues like HIV/AIDS, early pregnancy and marriage, and sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation is a big problem in Busia, since it is a border town and has a very transient population. Many women and girls in Busia are sex workers – some by choice and some by force. The head of Straight Talk in the region is an amazing young man named Bashir, who has basically committed his life to the welfare of the young people in Busia.
The broad objective of STF is to contribute to the improved mental, social and physical development of Ugandan adolescents (10-19) and young adults (20-24). The programme also aims to keep its audience safe from HIV/STD infection and early pregnancy and to manage challenging circumstances such as conflict and deprivation.
More specifically, Straight Talk Foundation aims, through its communications projects, to increase the understanding of adolescence, sexuality and reproductive health, and to promote the adoption of safer sex practices. The foundation also aims at helping adolescents acquire the necessary life skills and grasp of child and human rights to make the passage through adolescence safely.
Coaches Anna, Grace, JB and Rich are using the partnership and soccer to work with teenagers and teachers in 16 schools in the region to reinforce the Straight Talk messages. All four coaches have worked hard to adapt to the needs of Busia, a town with a high percentage of sex workers, HIV and teen pregnancy.
Each day our program works with 2 schools and over the course of the 8 weeks, each school receives 5 new sessions that deal with issues like health and wellness, female empowerment, HIV, conflict resolution and fun. This is the first time that the schools in Busia have used sport for social development and the District Education Officer sent a letter to all local schools requesting that they all take part. There has been a fantastic response from headmasters and teachers to ensure the success of this new program and often our coaches work with 150 children while another 200 watch and learn from the sidelines.
“Most governments, countries and communities do not understand how sport for social development should be part of all educational programs. The Straight Talk program have embraced the power of football for change and thousands of children in their program are now having fun while they learn. It is certainly a challenging program for our coaches as they work with thousands of children but this type of outreach will have a sustainable impact on a community desperate for behavioural change in their young people” Coach Anna.
Check out stories from our coaches in Uganda at our Coaches Blogs