This project aims to use football to educate in-school adolescents in Benin City, Nigeria, about HIV/AIDS and thus reduce HIV transmission in the city. Activities to be carried out in implementing the project include formation of male and female football teams, project briefing meeting, peer education training, production and distribution of SBC materials, a football match, and intense media outreach. Both process and outcome indicators will be used to monitor and evaluate the project.
This project will be implemented over a one-year period and will consist of the following activities:
1. Formation of male and female football teams: In collaboration with the Edo State Ministry of Sports, DEAC will form two football teams, one male and one female. Team members will include students at the senior secondary school level in public secondary schools in Benin City, who are already very good in football players and are members of the state teams. There will be 18 students per team.
2. Project briefing meeting: Following the formation of the teams, a one-day briefing meeting will be held for the students to inform them about the purpose of the project and to agree on a project plan.
3. Peer education training: Members of the two football teams will be trained as peer educators on HIV/AIDS so they can educate other students about HIV/AIDS and persuade them to change their behavior. They will be trained to foster an open atmosphere that adults might not be able to create to increase HIV/AIDS awareness among fellow students. The training will focus on issues such as relationship building, abstinence, avoiding sexually transmitted infections, and cultural norms and values on virginity. There will be two cycles of training of five days each during the holidays.
4. Production and distribution of SBC materials: Information and other SBC materials carrying HIV/AIDS messages will be produced and distributed by the peer educators to fellow students, teachers and community members during the project to raise awareness and understanding of HIV and AIDS and to challenge people to take positive steps to protect themselves against the disease.
5. Football match: DEAC will organize a football match involving the male and female teams formed. All secondary schools in Benin City will be invited to the match as well as the chairmen of the three local government areas that make up Benin City. The commissioners for education, youth and sports development, health, women affairs and representatives of the state agency for AIDS, chairmen of the state house of assembly committee on health, education and sports, and other stakeholders will also be invited. All the sports materials to be used during the match, including the players’ kits, will be branded with HIV/AIDS messages. Special T-shirts with HIV/AIDS messages will be produced and given to special dignitaries so they can wear them to the football match.
Before the kick-off there will be some cultural/drama/variety presentations on HIV/AIDS by some students. The commissioner for health and commissioner for women affairs will present messages on HIV/AIDS to spectators before the match kick-off. Thereafter, the commissioner for sports will do the kick-off by kicking the ball out of play to signify how HIV and AIDS should be kicked out of Benin City and Edo State to the spectators.
Team members will distribute information packets and SBC materials on HIV/AIDS to spectators before the match and at half time. They will also hold discussions with individuals on HIV/AIDS prevention.
At the end of the match, team members will be given a supply of football equipment branded with HIV/AIDS messages to encourage them to continue with HIV/AIDS education. Also, a trophy will be presented to the winner of the match by the commissioner for education so that the competition can become an annual event that will attract more support with more schools participating in the future.
6. Intense media outreach: HIV/AIDS prevention messages will be transmitted through the radio and television media to create awareness about the football match and about HIV/AIDS. The football match will be transmitted through the local television stations for greater awareness and it will be widely reported in the newspapers. Some members of the two teams will be given opportunity to speak to the media on HIV/AIDS issues during the period.
7. Advocacy with policy makers: In order to increase support for the project and enhance ownership and sustainability, DEAC will carry out advocacy with policy makers in the state.