Category Archive for "Stories"

Day 32 – World Cup Final – Main Bus Terminal, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe

The World Cup Final – Africa Goal 2014’s final event – was held at Chinhoyi’s main bus terminal, a large bustling square lined with bars and shops. The team and partners, the Pumuhacha HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, arrived well ahead of the match to give plenty of time for the crowd to gather and receive HIV information. An information table was set up where people could get information about, and sign up for, HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) – it was great to see many accessing information and signing up for services.

Before, during and after the match, 360 packages of Africa Goal’s targeted Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials for adults were distributed. All the children in the audience also received the children’s IEC material packages, with a total of 440 children’s IEC materials provided to Pumuhacha HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, with the remaining to be distributed to the young people in their support groups for people living with HIV. The pre-match and half time HIV quizzes garnered much excitement, with prizes including FC Brugge football kit, OneWorldFutbols, and Africa Goal T-shirts. Given such prizes, we were surprised when one prize winner requested to swap her prize for an Africa Goal IEC bag. It turns out she is living with HIV, and was keen to have the cool bag we distribute the IEC materials in to carry her Anti-Retroviral medicines. We’re glad the bag will serve this other useful purpose, and she was pleased to keep both.

As time neared to kick-off the crowd continued to swell, emptying the surrounding bars and attracting many key target groups amongst the audience, including truck drivers, chibuku (sorghum beer) fans and sex workers. Seeing the screen from the road on the way home from work, or responding to the news that spread rapidly across the town, the event attracted a further mix of people unaccustomed to spending an evening in this part of Chinhoyi, let alone the bus station. This element was one appreciated by some audience members. Walking during the match, the team found the event had attracted a huge crowd of around 2000 people reaching far back from the screen, so we are very happy we had opted for such a large space! Luckily it was possible to follow the match from quite a distance and many were sitting and standing on their cars to have a better view. Quite a sight and sound, with the football commentary also playing on multiple car radios in Shona.

Germany v. Argentina proved a tense contest, between two very equally matched teams. Early on Argentina striker Higuain had a goal rightfully ruled out for offside, and Germany hit the post, but neither team could breakthrough before ninety minutes elapsed and the game went into extra-time. Lionel Messi, as ever, posed a great threat in Argentina’s attack, and looked the likeliest to prevent 2014’s final being decided by penalties. However, in the end it was the young Germany striker Mario Goetze who won the game in the 113th minute with a fine controlled finish. The excitement continued to the last as Messi had a final chance to keep Argentina in it, but his free kick went over the bar and the World Cup was Germany’s. With the added excitement of fireworks lit for the occasion, the celebrations erupted in the bus stop.

Despite the setting, large crowd and exciting match, the crowd remained relatively calm and dispersed soon after the the contest was won. Nevertheless, it was helpful to have a few police officers among the crowd– especially as one won a football for the youth football group during the quiz and it provided an opportunity to supply the police station toilets with condoms. It was striking how openly many audience members asked for additional condoms to those in their IEC kits, with over 1000 extra distributed. Indeed, a high number of sex workers work in the area, so the event was able to meet some of their sexual health needs.

We were very pleased to have the District AIDS Coordinator – the person responsible for HIV issues for the district – join us for the event, and that both she, and our partners at Pamuhacha were thrilled with the turn out and the outreach achieved. So were we, as several audience members thanked us wholeheartedly, as we set about taking down the Africa Goal rig for the last time in 2014.
A highlight for us all was to lighten our load of the four sandbags, each weighing between 50 and 60 kgs, that we had used to steady the screen. We had set up the screen next to a small stall – basically a man with a table and stool – at the side of the bus terminal, and he was delighted with the prospect of levelling his ‘shop’ floor with beautiful dark red sand from Kenya.

With plans already in the pipeline for Africa Goal 2018, we are looking forward to the forthcoming tournament in Russia… but not without some rest before the long drive back to Kenya first.

Day 31 – Alaska Mine, near Chinoyi, Zimbabwe

The third place playoff between Brazil and The Netherlands was a much-anticipated match, which we showed in the small town of Alaska, near Chinhoyi in Zimbabwe. Alaska was once a prosperous mining town but has become a desolate area since the mine closed over ten years ago. We partnered with an organisation called Pamuhacha HIV/AIDS Prevention Project, which is the Shona name of an indigenous tree where people could traditionally go to seek food or healing. We set up the screen in an area surrounded by run-down shops and several bars. Most of the crowd were passers-by or those looking for entertainment in the small trading centre who took an interest in the huge screen and loudspeaker, although some had heard about the event through Pamuhacha’s mobilization efforts earlier that day.

The name Alaska could not have been more appropriate for what turned out to be an exceedingly chilly night. Once again, there was over an hour available for our partners to engage the crowd in a discussion and question and answer session bout HIV. There were prizes given out for correct answers and information packs, along with Pamuhacha’s own pamphlets, were distributed to everyone who formed a somewhat-orderly line. Among the cheery bar-goers, there were also a number of children, who were all happy to receive the age-appropriate HIV and World Cup information booklets designed specifically for children, in partnership with SAfAIDS.

There were enough vuvuzelas in the crowd to create a humming atmosphere. We also had facepaints and audience members were very keen to have the Dutch and Brazilian flags painted on their faces which added to the festivities, although some were quick to switch alliances and requested a change in colors after the first goal was scored in the third minute of the game. However, the crowd was overall sympathetic to Brazil’s plight, hoping they could redeem themselves after the semi-final debacle. Once again, the bitter cold and late start to the game were not enough to dampen the crowd’s spirits. The Africa Goal team crawled into bed, exhausted but very pleased with the outcome of the event, at 2am to recharge in time for the final game.

Trading Footballs – Singida

Name: Robert
Age: 13
Location: Singida, Tanzania

As we approached Singida late in the afternoon, we saw a small group of young children playing with small ball on the roadside. Stopping for a quick kickabout, we saw that their ball was made from a bundle of old plastic bags stuffed into an old sock which had then been folded back on itself and stitched – giving it a remarkable resemblance to a cricket ball.

Day 28 – Teacher’s College, Masvingo, Zimbabwe (Escaping from the Cold)

Our second night in Masvingo, we again worked with BHASO (Batani HIV/AIDS Service Organisation) who had arranged for us to show the match at the local teacher’s college in a more rural area of Masvingo. We drove about 15km off the main road along a wide, dusty track with a once-paved lane down the middle to get to the college – quite different from the technical college the previous night, which was right on the outskirts of town. We arrived at a large hall, which was already full to the brim with over 600 people. A loud cheer broke out as the first Africa Goal team members entered the hall with an armload of equipment. We set up the screen and speaker on-stage, with the crowd watching and reacting excitedly, which made us feel like a troupe of actors. Once the speaker system was up and running, our incredibly dynamic partners started a question and answer session that got the crowd so animated that a dance party erupted on-stage. In fact, in contrast to our other events, it turned out that many were there more for the HIV information session than for the football. By the time the match started at 10pm, the crowd had dwindled somewhat, but those that remained were invested enough to stay through the extra time and the penalties, which didn’t end until well after midnight.

This was our first indoor event of the campaign and we were all quite relieved to be warm for a change. As we have driven further and further south, the fact that it is winter in Africa has become more and more evident. The evenly matched game between Argentina and The Netherlands was quite a contrast to the Germany-Brazil match of the night before. The Africa Goal team and the crowd were fairly divided in their loyalties and the penalty shoot-out made for an exciting finish. Audience members were very excited to receive information packs, including posters, pens and booklets. We were not able to include the condoms that we usually have in the packs because the college is a Catholic institution and their policies do not allow the distribution of condoms. Nevertheless, if students do want condoms, they are able to access them through the on-site clinic so this information was passed on to the students. It was very encouraging that the students, many of whom were women – another rarity for this event, were so enthusiastic to take part in the HIV information session and our partners were able to make it such an enjoyable and exciting event.

Day 27 – Technical College, Masvingo, Zimbabwe (A Brazilian Debacle)

After unfortunately having to change our travel plans due to security concerns on our intended route (see previous post), we had to make some last-minute plans with additional partners in Zimbabwe. Luckily, BHASO (Batani HIV/AIDS Service Organisation) was keen and able to organize the two semi-final events near Masvingo in Southern Zimbabwe. We weren’t quite sure what to expect when we arrived at the local technical college for the first of these events. The game wasn’t starting until 10pm, but we had arrived with plenty of time to spare. The campus was almost eerily quiet and we were a bit nervous that it would be a very small event. But bit by bit, as we set up our equipment, started playing music and blowing on vuvuzelas, young men and women started emerging from the surrounding dormitories. Despite the bitter cold, a crowd of several hundred gathered on the outdoor volleyball court where we had set up the screen. With an hour left before the game, excited audience members took to the stage, dancing to the World Cup theme songs which warmed and energized everybody. There was also plenty of time for an HIV quiz session, with highly-coveted Brugge football jerseys and shorts distributed as prizes.

When Germany scored the first of their seven goals of the match, the crowd erupted. People danced in front of the screen, blew on vuvuzelas and cheered out loud. By the fourth goal of the match, the reaction was slightly more blunted, as disbelief crept in and people started wondering if this was really happening. The fifth, sixth and seventh goals prompted questions like, “Is this real or are you just showing highlights?” and “This seems more like a video game than a real match!” Although most people were cheering for Germany, it seemed that everyone felt at least a little sorry for the host nation, Brazil, being beaten so badly on their own soil. But overall, the tone of the night was very celebratory, which fit well with our birthday celebrations of the day for one of the Africa Goal team members. All in all, it was a night to remember!

Making difficult decisions: Africa Goal changes route

While finalising our preparations for the drive into Mozambique the next morning, our event in Chimoio the next evening and journey on to Swaziland, various team members received warnings and expressions of concern from different individuals regarding our planned route through Mozambique  and on to Swaziland because of recent attacks on the main road we would be travelling. As these reports amassed at the makeshift headquarters – a cafe with internet – we began to research and found that indeed, a 100km stretch along the EN1, the main road between Chimoio and Vilanculos has been struck in the past few weeks by regular gun attacks. Cars travelling that road have to travel in convoy with military escort, the convoys have been one of the main targets of the attacks, and only one convoy travels per day.

Faced with this limited but clearly worrying information, we quickly spoke to our partners and explored potential alternative routes that would enable us to make as many of our events as possible without compromising our security or ability to reach our events. Africa Goal is entirely committed to HIV prevention in Mozambique and Swaziland, and was loathe to let down partners, but after having spoken to all concerned, and weighed up all the factors and risks, we made the difficult decision to cancel our onward journey through Mozambique.

With very limited time, Africa Goal capitalised on its strong partnerships in Zimbabwe to arrange events for all the remaining World Cup matches.

Day 24 – Kubatana Primary School, Epworth, Harare

The Epworth Africa Goal event which was organised and lead by SAfAIDS, in partnership with Young Africa, and Population Services Zimbabwe, was the culmination of a full day of activities including football, netball and volleyball matches, HIV information and quizzes and on-site Voluntary Counselling and Testing. Around 1,000 people attended the event during the course of the day, 76 were counselled and tested for HIV, and 22 signed up for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision.

After a long day of driving from Chirundu on the border with Zambia, the Africa Goal team arrived in time for the end of the sports activities in time to set up, sparking great interest from the crowd. Faced with the option to project the match on to the side of one of the school buildings or set up the screen, the team opted to use the screen double-sided in the centre of the sports field to ensure as many people as possible could watch the match comfortably. In this poor suburb of Harare without electricity, there was almost no other possibility to watch the game, so we knew it would be popular. Indeed, despite the cold, and fact many were sporting only shorts and t-shirts as they were playing sports, around 500 people of all ages remained and gathered to watch the Belgium – Argentina match.

The diversity of ages was a welcome sight, with 240 adult kits of targeted information and education communication (IEC) materials and 200 children’s IEC kits distributed and excitedly received, unpacked and read by audience members. A further 60 adult and 100 children’s IEC kits were taken by SAfAIDS for use over the coming days. An additional HIV information quiz with Africa Goal t-shirts and OneWorldFutbol balls as prizes got the audience fired up before the match – a tense one – with Higuaín’s early goal for Argentina in the 8th minute shattering Belgium’s hopes for reaching the semi-finals. While the Belgian team produced only a few real chances at drawing level – often being caught offside – the numerous attempts of Argentina and their star Messi to further Argentina’s lead were thwarted by Courtois’ expert goal-keeping. In the end, all efforts only yielded a score of 1-0.

According to one audience member who informed us he had not planned to have an HIV test but took the opportunity on site, the idea of using football to reach people with HIV information and services was a very welcome one – “When you speak about HIV, you do not have the ear of young people. If you bring them together to play and watch football, it is a great way to reach out to them.”

Football Trading – Lusaka streetball

Name: Sidin
Age: 11
Location: Mtendere, Lusaka

While waiting to meet our partners for the Argentina-Switzerland game in Mtendere, Lusaka, we spotted a group of kids playing football near the Mahatma Gandhi Primary School. We went over to join them and a game began at frantic pace. Africa Goal players had fun adapting to the concrete pitch and obstacles they weren’t used to in this urban setting. As our partners arrived we had to move on to set up for the game, but before doing so traded one of our Nike Belgium balls for the match ball, a plastic creation made by Sidin, aged 11.

Day 23 – Chirundu…Elephants and Truck Drivers at the Border Crossing

After a relaxing couple of days by the Zambezi river, near the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, we were excited to have the opportunity to show the France-Germany quarterfinal match in the border town of Chirundu. Our original plans of reaching Harare that night fell through, but we were able to make a last minute plan with the National Employment Council Transport Operating Industry (Nectoi) in Chirundu, which gave us some additional time to relax and also to put together 600 information packs in preparation for the next couple of events. Shamiso Chisauka is the site agent for Nectoi and acts as an HIV peer educator for the town.

We were a bit apprehensive about the choice of venue in Chirundu town – just next to a busy bar where truck drivers were already enjoying bottles of Sorghum beer. However, Shamiso assured us that this was the best option and we realized that we would be reaching one of our main target audiences. Sure enough, the crowd was almost exclusively male and many were truck drivers, who are a high risk group when it comes to HIV.

We were pleasantly surprised when one of the first guests to take an interest in the set-up was a bull elephant! Unfortunately, he wasn’t there to watch football, but rather to rummage in the large, open rubbish heap just in front of the bar. The residents of the town told us that some elephants have become very accustomed to being among people and eating rubbish. While it was exciting to have an elephant in our midst, it made us sad to think about the implications of population growth on the environment and its wildlife.

The match drew a crowd from the bar nearby, while others watched from a distance. During the match, we distributed information packs and, with the help of Shamiso, spoke with small groups and individuals about HIV. The local residents were aware of the clinic with HIV testing facilities available in the town and most had been tested as well. They were all grateful for the opportunity to watch the game and for the condoms and information in the packs that we handed out.

Most were happy with Germany’s 1-0 win over France. The team was mostly relieved that it was only a short drive back to the place where we were staying, where we then enjoyed a late dinner of fresh Tiger fish from the river.

Football Trading – Who ate all the pies?

Name: David
Age: 13
Location: Mtendere, Lusaka

We made a second ball trade in Mtendere, Lusaka, at the site where we eventually showed the Argentina- Switzerland game. David, 13, had taken part in the game we played by the primary school, and followed us all the way to the event to exchange his homemade ball for one of our One World Futbol donations. David’s ball was finished with a protective layer of bakery packaging, reminding us of the delicious Zambian meat pies we had eaten on the journey to Lusaka.

Chongwe – Comments from the Crowd

Day 20 – Mtendere, suburb of Lusaka, Zambia

After a day in Lusaka catching up on project communications, getting supplies and repairs for one of our cars, half the team went ahead to meet event partners SafAIDS and AIDS Healthcare Foundation and begin the set up, while the other half waited for the car to return from the garage. The second party were not long behind, after a problem with the planned location required some quick thinking and a new site to be arranged – a clearing next to a small but bustling row of shops in the Mtendere suburb of Lusaka.

This was the most urban Africa Goal event yet, with permission acquired from a local business owner, light for the HIV Testing and Counselling (HCT) tent plugged in at the barbers and the satellite dish in someone’s backyard. Though on a quiet road, there was still a lot of foot traffic and over the course of the evening around 1000 people stopped to watch the Switzerland v. Argentina game, speak to Africa Goal team members and partners or avail of the HIV information and services. 50 people were tested for HIV on-site.

With 300 audience members at any one time in this small space, the atmosphere was pretty lively, especially during the quiz at half-time, when eagerness to answer questions and potentially win an Africa Goal t-shirt or OneWorldFutbol ran high.

The match itself was a display of excellent football despite the lack of goal scoring. Switzerland put up a valiant fight and managed to deflect the efforts of the Argentine attackers and force extra time, with the score at 0-0 after 90 minutes. Lionel Messi finally unlocked the Swiss defence with three minutes to spare before penalties, sliding a killer pass through for Di Maria to finish and win the match in the nick of time.

As well as learning about HIV and appreciating the opportunity for free testing, several audience members wanted to join Africa Goal. We hope to see a new young Zambian-led Africa Goal for the Africa Cup of Nations emerging in the near future.

Trading Footballs – Beach Football

Name: Yotam
Age: 10
Location: Nkhotakota

On the shores of Lake Malawi the Africa Goal team got involved in our first game on a sand pitch. We enjoyed a fun game playing against some locals well-versed in Brazilian-style beach-soccer skills. Here we exchanged one of the indestructible balls donated by One World Futbol, for the ball we had played with, which featured a condom bladder covered in plastic and string, hand-made by Yotam, 10. After taxing our legs to earn a 2-2 draw with the Malawians, we were more than happy to cool off in “the sweet sweet waters of Lake Malawi,” as aptly described by an immigration policeman on the way there.

Trading Footballs – Lakeside Acrobatics

Name: Isaac
Age: 14
Location: Nkhotakota

Enjoying a rest day in Nkhotakota with no matches to screen, we were again pleased to join in a lakeside kickabout with some locals. As demonstrated in the photo above, some more Rio beach-style skills were on display, as we got involved in an extended overhead-kick training session. After honing our football acrobatics, another ball featuring a condom bladder was exchanged with Isaac, 14, for one of our Nike Belgium donations.

Day 17 – Chinyama Village, Malawi (near Salima): Nail-biting Penalty Shootout Brings the Crowd to Their Feet

After a much needed day off at Lake Malawi, the team made the short drive southwards towards Salima for the start of the group playoffs. We showed the Brazil-Chile match in the small village of Chinyama, several kilometers down a dirt road, where electricity and running water are still conveniences of the future. It was a friendly crowd of about 400, many of whom had heard about the event from the local chief, who had been informed by our partner organization, Salima AIDS Support Organization (SASO). Having been there before with the same partners in 2010, the Africa Goal team received a warm welcome as we arrived at the local football pitch. The crowd’s level of knowledge about HIV/Aids is a testament to SASO’s hard work in the area. Almost everyone asked knew that HIV testing was available at the nearby hospital, or as part of SASO’s outreach activities, and that antiretrovirals are available to those who test positive.

Our second partner organization for the evening, Play Soccer, was also in attendance and provided us with 20 additional One World Futbol Project indestructible balls for trading. Similar to the Africa Goal project, Play Soccer uses football as a platform for addressing health and other social development issues. One of the many of the successes of the event was the meeting of these two organizations, who were enthusiastic about the possibility of collaborating in the future.

Before the match, SASO facilitated an HIV question and answer session with the crowd and the prizes included football jerseys, shorts and tracksuits donated by Club Brugge in Belgium. The timing of the prize jackets was perfect as the night got cooler and others ran home to get sweaters and blankets. The session was useful as it illuminated a lack of understanding about the relationship between HIV and TB, which is an area the organization will focus on addressing in this community. During half time, SASO showed a short video entitled Never Too Late about a young Malawian woman who has overcome many hardships and is hoping to improve her life and support her children by completing her education and becoming a nurse.

The Brazil-Chile penalty shootout made for a frenzied finale to the night. Although many of the youngest children had already been sent to bed, there was still a big group of front-row fans split down the middle with one side cheering for Chile and the other for Brazil. It was a friendly rivalry, with each side chanting for their team as the players took their shots. The Africa Goal team was also fully invested, having placed bets on the match earlier in the day. When the final Brazil goal went in, the kids all jumped up to cheer in the beam of the projector. Their shadows danced on the screen until the generator went quiet and we packed everything up for the next day.

Trading Footballs – Gunners Pub dustball

Name: Michael Holmes
Age: 11
Place: Nr. Chipata, Zambia

Just over the Zambian border, near Chipata, we stopped outside ‘The Gunners Pub’ to pick up some water and met Michael Holmes, 11. Michael was playing with his friends with a ball he had made from melted plastic and scraps of plastic bag, nicely coloured by the accumulation of red dust…He was happy to exchange his creation for a ball donated to Africa Goal by Select Denmark. As Michael and co. began another kickabout with their new Select ball, we wondered if one day a certain Mr. Wenger might one day pay a visit to ‘The Gunners Pub’ to scout for a new playmaker while enjoying a cold Mosi.

Trading Footballs – Khazakani four-a-side

Name: Virtan
Age: 12
Location: Khazakani, Malawi

On the way to the Malawi-Zambia border we stopped at a village called Khazakani and took part in an excellent game of four-a-side, which drew quite a crowd, a few of whom acted as referees and linesmen to ensure offsides and corners were correctly awarded. This was one of the most competitive matches so far, as we struggled to contain the opponents’ menacing four-goal target-man (“watch the kid in blue”), and one of our players acquired some impressive blisters from the hard dirt pitch. At the end of the game we exchanged a ball donated by Nike Belgium for the match ball, made from melted plastic by Virtan, 12, and staggered back into the Land Rover.

Day 15 – Nkhotakota, Malawi

Nkhotakota is located about midway down the western side of the long, narrow lake that stretches from the north to the south of Malawi. It was a long trip from the north of the country, where we had crossed the border from Tanzania the day before. Due to some unforeseen delays in the morning, we decided to split into two groups and send the Land Cruiser (aka The Beast) ahead with all of the equipment. It was a good thing we did, because they arrived at the bustling Chisote Trading Center in Nkhotakota with barely enough time to set up. Short-handed, they had to be extra-productive, but with the light of the car, they were able to complete the job in record time. The market-goers quickly became more interested in the giant screen that was going up and by the time the Ghana-Portugal match started, there was a crowd of more than 500.

The second team, following behind in the Land Rover (aka Landy) had a slightly more leisurely drive, knowing that they wouldn’t make it in time to help with the set-up, and managed to do two ball trades along the way. They arrived just in time for the second half, bringing much-needed nourishment to the A-team who had skipped both lunch and dinner in their haste to get to the location and set up in time for the match.

Our partner organization was Nkhotakota AIDS Support Organisation (NASO) and they were able to provide HIV testing on-site to 76 people, well over their 50-person target. Testing went on in their tents for over an hour after the match and there were still more people signed up for the following day. Each person tested received an information pack from us, which included condoms, a poster and a World Cup-themed informational booklet. Our partners promoted these, along with the importance of getting tested, during half time and this helped to attract many more people to get tested.

Despite a disappointing end to the match, which we all hoped that Ghana would win, the evening was a great success, with the crowd swelling to around 1000 by the end of the night. It was late by the time we packed up the last lights that had been illuminating the testing tents and we all fell into bed, glad to have a day off to look forward to the following day.

Day 13 – Ilula Trading Centre, near Iringa: Circumcision Celebrations

Around 60km before we reached Iringa, we met the Jhpiego team in a small trading centre called Ilula. Jhpiego had already set up their mobile dance stage – on the back of the pick up truck as we set up our equipment next to it and got underway with the event. We all definitely felt the huge benefit of three extra pairs of hands and set up our equipment in double quick time!

Jhpiego focused on sharing information about voluntary medical male circumcision which has been found to reduce risk of HIV transmission in men by 60% or more. On arrival, we were handed their blue shirts which promote medical male circumcision, switching things up from our usual bright yellow for a night!

Jhpiego work with IDYDC for their Iringa activities which was very exciting for us as we had partnered with IDYDC in 2010 so they already had a clear idea of how the events work and were very well organized to make the most of it. We were so impressed by the amount of energy that all the Jhpiego and IDYDC guys had – D-Jing, dancing and conducting games and quizzes to keep the audience entertained in the lead up to the match. They had a group of traditional dancers who performed an amazing dance too.

About 10 minutes before the match was due to start, disaster struck. We had found satellite signal and all was fine but we suddenly lost signal and had an error message on the screen. Not sure what had happened, we double and triple checked all our connections and went through all the settings – everything seemed to be fine but the error message remained. We called DSTV to ask if there was a transmission issue and were told that, due to exchange rate fluctuations, the payment we had made for our second month’s subscription was now a couple of dollars short! Thankfully, the man we spoke to was sympathetic to our problems and reconnected us on the agreement that we would top up the following day. Whilst we were still on the line, the picture came back and we were good to go again – phew!

It was a great event – made so because of the huge effort and enthusiasm of our partners, Jhpiego and IDYDC. Despite competition from another event in town, we had a huge crowd with around 600 or more people and Jhpiego registered 40 people signing up for voluntary medical male circumcision, a fantastic result for an evening’s work – we’re already looking forward to the 2018 event with Jhpiego!

Trading Footballs – Lua Mbuyuni

Name: Ari
Age: 15
Location: Lua Mbuyuni

Traded a One World Futbol Project football with Ari, 15, at the side of the road in Lua Mbuyuni. The ball we got in exchange from Ari was made from plastic and string, but no time for a game on this occasion as the goats he and his brothers were looking after had started hoofing it down the road. Manchester City or Bermuda fans of a certain age might fondly remember former striker Shaun ‘feed the goat’ Goater. Perhaps in a few years time a new Sky Blues signing might arrive from Baobab Valley, Tanzania.

Trading Footballs – Leopard Print

Name: Allie
Age: 13
Location: Chamwino Village

Chamwino Village had a unique style of homemade footballs – made from scrap pieces of fabric hand-stitched together and stuffed with old mattress foam. We traded a leopard skin print stitched ball with Allie, 13 years old from Chamwino Village, who was thrilled with his indestructible One World futbol ball.

Day 12 – Chamwino Village, Morogoro: The long road to Chamwino

We had a very early start as had 750km left to cover before we arrived in Morogoro where we had a big event planned. We had hoped to cover more distance the day before but, unfortunately, the Landy had other plans. Just as dusk fell and with 200km left to cover the night before, we discovered that our headlights weren’t working. Pulling off on the side of the road, we checked all the fuses and electrical wires – quite a feat to follow the birds nest of wires which make up the Landy’s electrics! After an hour or so of poking around under the bonnet, the lights suddenly came back on – a huge relief to get back on the road although we’re still not sure which wire was jiggled in which way to get them working again!

Arriving in Morogoro town after the very long drive, we met with our partner organization, Hacoca, and followed them a few kilometres out of town on dirt roads to Chimwano Village. We set up the equipment on the edge of the main football field in the centre of the village. After a quick set up, Hacoca started an HIV discussion and question and answer session, distributing Misgav Football Club jerseys and shorts which were donated to Africa Goal as prizes for correctly answered questions. There was a lot of excitement about the jerseys and audience members were very keen to join in and try their hand at winning one of the jerseys. Hacoca do a lot of work around Gender Based Violence, as well as HIV, which made for a very interesting discussion around the different manifestations and causes of gender based violence – as well as the links with increased vulnerability and HIV risk.

As night fell and the match started it became clear that, although we had only driven a short distance out of town, we were already in rural Morogoro and the light from our projector and floodlights was the only visible light around. Since English is much less frequently spoken in rural Tanzania compared to some of our other locations, we bought a small radio to link up to the projector so that the football commentary could be transmitted in Swahili which made for a fun new addition to our kit.

As we packed up after the game, the village leader came to speak to us. He was thrilled that Africa Goal had come to his village: “Thank you so much for including us in your project. Very few people here would have seen a World Cup 2014 match but now they have the opportunity which is fantastic – HIV is also a big problem for us so it is really important that this information reaches the people”.

Sesse Islands (Kalangala) – Comments from the Crowd

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnQz_sy5mXQ

Ghana vs. Germany: Cheers at the Rolex Stand!

We found ourselves in the small town of Kyotera, trying to find something to eat for supper whilst the Ghana vs Germany match on the 21st June was being played. Due to the time difference with Brazil, many of the matches are too late to show so, during the early stages of the World Cup, we are focusing primarily on the early matches.

As we were tucking into Rolexes (chapatis rolled with eggs and tomatoes) and grilled chicken pieces, there was a kiosk nearby which had the only TV showing the world cup match (albeit a very tiny screen at the back of his shop). Germany was 1-0 up on Ghana when we sat down next to the rolex stand and two or three people stood outside the electronics kiosk watching the match. The guys manning the rolex stands had their radios blaring next to them so they could keep following the match as they worked. Before long the commentator started to get wildly excited and everyone milling around the street rushed to the electronics kiosk to catch sight of Ghana scoring a goal to level the playing field with Germany. The crowd around the kiosk was instantly 10 men deep – everyone straining their necks to catch a glimpse of the action. When Ghana scored a second goal midway through the second half, the whoops and cheers could be heard throughout town, everyone on the edge of their seats hoping Ghana could maintain their lead until the end. Although Germany did manage to score a final goal in the second half to end on a 2-2 draw, the excitement and celebration in Kyotera – and, no doubt, throughout Africa – was palpable.

Day 9 – Kasekulo, Sesse Islands: Much demand for HIV services in an Isolated Fishing Community

We left Kampala early, heading west towards Masaka to get the 1.30pm ferry from Bukakata to Luku – on Bugala, the most populated of the Sesse Islands. The towns on the Sesse Islands have some of the highest rates of HIV in Uganda, fueled in part by poor economic conditions and associated high levels of transactional sex between fishermen and fish market sellers who exchange sex in lieu of payment for fish.

The last 50km was on a dirt road which, having recently been flooded and now with an alarmingly steep camber, made for a slow, bumpy and skiddy drive. Just when we thought we had safely made it, 5km from the ferry dock, the Landy cut out suddenly and rolled to a disheartening halt, the ignition refusing to engage again. Aware that the ferry departure time was fast approaching, we frantically searched under the bonnet, looking for anything that might have caused the engine to cut off.

After much trial and error (it turns out the Landy has a number of ‘loose end’ wires!), we finally found the culprit – an electrical wire which normally plugs into the solenoid had jiggled lose, cutting the fuel supply in the process. Unfortunately, by this point it was clear that we had missed the 1.30 ferry and would have to wait for the 4pm one so planned to get our cars in line at the dock and find some lunch while we waited. Luckily, the 4pm one would still get us to the island in time for all the planned activities, but our set up would have to be very speedy.

Lunch has become something of a rarity for the Africa Goal team so it was an exciting prospect to actually sit down and have some food rather than grabbing a chapatti on the go! Putting all the tools back in the boot of the Landrover, we slammed the door closed (the Landy boot needs a fairly hefty slam in order to close) only to find ourselves surrounded by an explosion of glass! Much to our surprise, the back windscreen had completely shattered. We are still not sure how it happened as there wasn’t anything in the boot that would have smashed it. Suffice to say that lunch was even more rewarding after our second fix of the day, this time taping up the back with cardboard and gaffer tape!

After our eventful morning, we boarded the 4pm ferry, met our partners for the event – the wonderful Strides for Family Health – at the ferry arrival dock in Luku and followed them about 20km through stunning forest and past beautiful white beaches to Kasekulo Landing Site. Kasekulo is the largest landing site for fishing boats on the island and the nearest clinic for Kasekulo residents, for whom the fishing trade is their mainstay, is 30km away. HIV prevalence in the area is high and HIV services are far and expensive to reach, so many people do not know their HIV status, inhibiting their access to treatment, care and support. As one audience member explained, it costs 15,000 Ugandan Shillings (about 6USD) in transport to get to the closest clinic which is a big expense so many people do not seek medical services until they are very sick. Bringing the services to the community here and providing them for free is really helping people.

On arrival, there were already 25-30 people lined up for testing services and this queue remained constant throughout the event. In total, 250 people went for testing at the event – a huge achievement which made the arduous journey and mechanical challenges on the way here more than worthwhile.

A reporter from NTV Uganda was also there, filming the event and interviewing the team. The report is due to be aired at 9pm on the 21st – hopefully we will be somewhere where we can watch it!

Day 8 – Busega, Kampala: Scrambling for Booklets in the Heart of Kampala

The morning started again with us catching up on event write ups, sorting photos and video footage, printing questionnaires for data collection, putting together our packages of materials and following up with partners for the next set of events.
In the afternoon, we set off towards Busega, a high density area in the heart of Kampala . Navigating our way through a maze of small dirt backroads (we wanted to avoid the infamous Kampala traffic!), we finally found our way to Busega Community Primary School, where the event was due to be held.

The Kids League, one of our partners for the event, were finishing off a football tournament which they had arranged to hold before our event. They finished off their last two games as we set up the screen, etc. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, our other partner, had arrived earlier in the day and had set up a HIV counseling and testing area in one of the spare classrooms. They had already tested 40 people by the time the event started.

When we arrived, we met the school headmaster who was overjoyed that the event was being held in his community: “Thank you so much for including Busega Community in your activities – we have had so many parents and community members coming today for testing and they are really grateful to have this opportunity”.

With our set up and the football tournament complete, the Headmaster took to the stage to welcome everybody, before presenting the teams who had won the football tournament with One World Futbol ‘nearly indestructible’ footballs as prizes.

A representative from AIDS Healthcare Foundation then shared some information about HIV, encouraged everyone to access their on site HIV counseling and testing services and conducted a quick HIV quiz – with Africa Goal T-shirts up for grabs for correctly answered questions.

During half time, we distributed information materials to both the children and adults, which caused a huge amount of excitement. It is, of course, wonderful to see how popular our materials are – developed and printed with support from SAfAIDS – however, the enthusiasm can get a little unnerving when fifty 8-15 year olds are about to mob whichever one of us is distributing them! At the Busega game, kids were stashing them in their bags, up their T-shirts and down their shorts, pretending they hadn’t yet been given one!

Once the chaos had died down, we all watched the nail biting second half of the Colombia vs Cote D’Ivoire game – the crowd cheering wildly at every Cote D’Ivoire attempt at goal.

Day 7 – Masese Landing Site, Jinja: Screening on the Nile

We took advantage of the bright, sunny morning to dry out all of our equipment, wash the screens which had got muddied in the storm and and reorganize everything after the slightly chaotic pack up of the night before in the rain. With everything back in order, we set off to meet with our partners from The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO). The event location was on the outskirts of Jinja at the Masese Landing Site – the main landing site for the many fishing boats in the area – easily recognizable by all the banners that TASO had put up for the occasion. It was a great venue for our first event in Uganda!

Turkeys, chickens and goats pecked, wandered and grazed around us as we set up the satellite dish, screen and projector, whilst children and adults looked on with interest. TASO had been on site for a few hours already, conducting HIV testing as well as testing for other STIs, distributing condoms and sharing HIV information.

We set the screen up without the backing so that it could be viewed from both sides – the double-sided screen worked perfectly for the location, with people being tested in a hut behind the screen still able to follow the game whilst the majority of the crowd watched from the other side – including some people watching from the village on the other side of the road. In total, around 600-700 people were watching.

By the end of the event, 93 people had accessed STI and HIV counseling and testing services and the four found to be HIV positive had been referred for treatment at the local clinic. It was a really great first event in Uganda and we were pleased that we had been able to support TASO to engage the hard to reach groups from the fishing communities. This is what one TASO representative had to say:

“We could have reached a greater number of people if we had held the event in the centre of Jinja but here we are reaching the fishermen and sex workers – they are key target groups who are usually very hard to reach so it is a great opportunity to do so”.

Day 6 – Busia: Lightning Speed Setdown

After a morning of catching up on blog posts, photo sorting and following up with partners, we left Mbita on the ferry to Luanda Kotieno and headed to the border town of Busia, between Kenya and Uganda.

We met our partners, Current Customs and PS Kenya, at the border and followed their vehicle – loaded with speakers pumping out tunes and announcing the upcoming Africa Goal event – for about a kilometer to a small township called Mondika where we set up in the central market place. Within minutes of our arrival, we were surrounded by hundreds of children who gathered around our set up area, intrigued by what was going on. The very hip peer educators were great – full of energy and humour – and clearly very popular with the community members. As we set up, they entertained the crowds with their DJ-ing skills, getting everyone dancing and cheering. The air was buzzing with excitement and anticipation.

Current Customs put up their HIV testing tents behind our screen and testing quickly got underway before the match, whilst the peer educators shared HIV information and conducted an HIV quiz – with Africa Goal T-shirts being distributed as prizes.

As half time approached, the Africa Goal team nervously watched a very dark cloud which seemed to be approaching rather fast. Our partners were sure that the cloud would blow over – there hadn’t been rain in the area for a long time. Hoping they would be right, we waited to see what would happen – knowing that taking the equipment down would be a big disappointment to the 300 or so people who had gathered to watch the game – as well as for our partners who were so enthusiastic about the event.

As the wind picked up, audience members moved under the eaves of the shops and kiosks on the opposite side of the road, clearly expecting the worst but eager to be able to see the screen still. Watching nervously as the screen started to sway heavily in the wind, pulling our sandbags even with people sitting on them trying to anchor everything in place, and as the dark cloud headed our way, we had no choice but to also prepare for the worst. We lay the screen down to protect it from the force of the wind, and put the electrical equipment away in a waterproof box, hoping still that the storm would pass and we could set back up in a few minutes.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case. Just as we had all the electrical equipment safely stored away, there was a massive crack of thunder above us and the heavens well and truly opened – rain thrashing down around us as we scrambled to get all the rest of our kit safely away and into the cars. Within minutes, every team member was soaked through – the slippery, wet poles not making it any easier to dismantle the screen frame and flood lights. Trying to dodge the quickly forming puddles and streams, we managed one of our fastest set downs yet, getting everything away a little soggy but thankfully, undamaged.

Whilst, unfortunately, the storm brought an early and rather abrupt end to our event this time, we were really impressed to see that our partners had battled the elements and continued providing testing services until all the people who had initially lined up had been tested – such commitment to their communities is great to see and we look forward to working with Current Customs and PS Kenya again next time when, hopefully, the weather will be on our side.

Day 5 – Mbita: Battling the elements on the football field

It’s always slightly disheartening to wake up to a puncture – even more so to wake up to two – one on each vehicle! Luckily there was a workshop nearby so, after some quick tyre changes, we had all our tyres back in working order and headed off to Mbita, on the shores of Lake Victoria, for our fifth event. On arrival, we met with our partners for the event – PS Kenya and family FACES (Family AIDS Care and Education Services) and decided on the central football field for the event.

The Africa Goal team began setting up on the football field whilst our partners rigged up some speakers and a PA system to the roof of their car and drove around town to announce to everyone that the event was about to start. A crowd quickly gathered, intrigued by what this bright yellow-clad bunch of people were doing with a huge screen and satellite dish on the field!

Medical Corps International (MCI) also arrived to set up their tents for HIV counselling and testing, which quickly got underway as the match started. In the meantime, the PS Kenya and FACES peer educators circulated amongst the crowd to speak to small groups about testing and demonstrating correct use of condoms.

Since we had such a big open space to work with, we left off the backing of the screen so that people could watch from either side. Everything was going swimmingly until a huge wind swept in, our massive screen straining against the force like a sail! With team members struggling to hold the screen in place, and not sure whether the wind was coming ahead of a rain storm, we decided to lay the screen down for a while to assess the situation. The wind had also blown the satellite dish over, losing signal in the process. Thankfully, the wind died down as suddenly as it had started and the rain clouds blew past us so we were able to get it back up and running pretty, with a big cheer from the crowd as the match came back on the screen, this time with the cars parked behind the screen to protect it from any more sudden wind gusts.

Unfortunately , the HIV testing tent had also been blown down by the wind so testing had to come to a halt, although MCI have a drop-in centre nearby in the town so anyone who hadn’t managed to access testing on the night was introduced to the medical doctors and referred for testing at the centre the next day. On the night, 19 people accessed HIV testing – and at least 20 more were expected the following day – not a bad result for an area where HIV stigma and discrimination remains high.

During half time and after the match, the peer educators took to the platform to hold HIV questions and answer sessions with the audience members. This was a great opportunity to dispel some of the common HIV myths which prevail, such as whether HIV can be transmitted through kissing or sharing plates and where HIV comes from (many people continue to believe that people living with HIV have been cursed).

Day 4 – Sotik

There was a huge amount of excitement as we arrived at the Sotik event, being held in partnership with Community HIV Outreach Coordinators who we had also worked with in 2010. We followed a trail of handmade banners hung up around the community promoting the event and arrived to huge cheers and a very warm welcome from the 1000+ audience members who had gathered for the event! The Outreach Coordinators had arranged activities for the whole day and had already held football tournaments, sack races and tug of war challenges – alongside their HIV information activities and HIV counselling and testing services.

We were greeted with a welcome dance performed by HIV Champions from the community, followed by an HIV quiz – with Africa Goal T-shirts handed out as prizes for correctly answered questions. The whole event had a very celebratory atmosphere – it was a great energiser for the Africa Goal team members following a long and tiring drive from Eldoret.

The Switzerland vs Ecuador match helped to keep the excitement and energy of the event going – with loads of tries on goal and a nail-biting finish to the game, with Switzerland scoring in the final minute of extra time.

In total, 103 people accessed HIV counselling and testing – the HIV outreach team and Africa Goal were thrilled to have reached so many people. Of those, three were found to be positive and have been referred for treatment – with freely available treatment now widely available, people living with HIV today can live healthy, full and productive lives. Early diagnosis and treatment significantly improves health outcomes – the fact that those three people will now be accessing treatment will help to ensure that they stay healthy and can live long, happy and fulfilled lives.
Plans are already afoot for the 2018 match in Sotik!

Day 3 – Eldoret

We had a beautiful drive along the Kerio Valley from Baringo to Eldoret, making for a stunning backdrop for a quick kickabout with Elias, a 14 year old boy who we spotted playing with his homemade football on his way to school. He was thrilled when we traded his ball made of layered plastic bags with one of the footballs which the One World Futbol Project generously donated to Africa Goal for distribution during the project. One World Futbol produce and distribute ‘nearly indestructible’ footballs which can survive being run over, kicked into barbed wire and punctured by thorns – they are perfect for the rugged environments in which the Africa Goal 2014 events are being held.

On arrival, we headed to the University of Eldoret, where we had an event planned with the university’s peer educators to sensitize the students on issues around HIV prevention, testing and treatment. Our event coincided with the fresher’s party which made for a big crowd of very jovial young men and women – it was a great atmosphere.

Family Health Care joined us to provide on-site HIV Counselling and Testing – excited to be conducting their first night-time testing session. We were all really pleased to hear that 56 people went for HIV counselling and testing during the 90 minute match – a fantastic result for both Family Health Care and Africa Goal.

Kampi Ya Samaki, Baringo – Comments from the Crowd

Kasarani – Comments from the Crowd

Eldoret – Comments from the Crowd

Day 2 – Baringo: Busting Shocks and HIV Myths!

The very bumpy road to Kasarani for the match on the 12th left the Landrover a little worse for wear with a broken shock absorber so the morning of the 13th started with the team having to split – with Ben and Maciej setting off to find a garage whilst everyone else headed to Baringo for our second event. With, two members short, the set up was a bit more challenging than normal but we managed to get it all sorted in time – and even had a moment to take in the beautiful location just on the edge of the lake, near the main boat landing site for the village.

We met with the Kabarnet Talent Theatre Group and Family AIDS Initiative Response (FAIR) on arrival, as well as the PS Kenya Coordinator. More dark clouds on the horizon had the team slightly on edge – particularly when we heard about the massive storm that Ben and Maciej were driving through as they tried to catch up with us.

Ahead of the game, the Kabarnet Talent Theatre Group put together a great little skit about the importance of HIV counselling and testing (HCT) which was hugely popular with our audience members. The stigma and discrimination around HIV in Baringo was very evident and, at the start of the HIV discussions and condom demonstrations, audience members were incredibly hesitant about participating, answering questions or taking condoms. However, we had a couple of people in the audience who had been at our event in 2010 and stepped up to encourage others to engage in discussions. Once a few people had started taking part, others gained courage and the discussion gained momentum – with lots of interesting questions being asked and lots of myths and misconceptions about HIV being ‘busted’. By the end of the event, we were really pleased to see that audience members who had initially been reluctant to take a strip of condoms were asking for whole boxes!

One of the young guys who helped to get the crowd more engaged had this to say: “I came in 2010 to watch the Ghana/USA match with Africa Goal – and came again in 2014 because it’s a very informative event and a great way to enlighten people. I come for the football but I also learn something new about HIV”.

On the way out the next morning, we were pleased to see many of our bright yellow Africa Goal T-shirts being worn around the village. One man stopped us to show us the stash of condoms he had in his back pocket, telling us: “I’m protecting myself from HIV – I’ve got my weapons in my back pocket!”

Although far fewer people accessed HIV testing services in Baringo compared to Kasarani, our partners were really pleased with the outcome, recognising that twenty people over the course of a football match was surprisingly high for an area where HIV related stigma and discrimination is rife.

A Special Thanks to Club Brugge!

Club Brugge, one of Belgium’s top football clubs has donated club football kits and training wear, as well as club footballs to the project to be used as prizes during partner events. Founded in 1891, Club Brugge is one of the top clubs in Belgium with fans all over Belgium and the world. Thank you for your support!

Nike Footballs Donation

Nike – the Belgian division of the world famous sports brand – is donating footballs towards Africa Goal’s trading footballs initiative. The whole team thanks Nike for their support and we look forward to sharing photos of the balls being traded!

Harare International School 24 Hr Run Fundraiser

A very special thanks goes out to the Harare International School community who managed to raise over $3000 dollars to support the Africa Goal 2014 Project during their 24 Hour Run. During the 24 hours around 1000 participants took part managing to run 18,655 labs – adding up to a staggering 6529 km – approximately the same distance the Africa goal team will travel from Kenya to Swaziland as part of the 2014 campaign!

Thank you HIS!

Africa Goal Donate

Africa Goal 2014 Fundraising Campaign Launch

The Africa Goal project would not be possible without the generous support and donations of organisations, companies and individuals like you.

Please visit our crowdsourcing campaign page in order to help us raise funds for the 2014 Africa Goal project, using Causevox and Stripe to process credit card donations simply and securely. All funds raised from the website go towards the purchase of necessary broadcasting equipment, HIV & AIDS awareness materials being developed in conjunction with our partners, travel costs as well as footballs for trading.

Through our fundraising page you can see specific items we are fundraising for. To find out more details about the project as well as specific budget details please download the 2014 Africa Goal Project Proposal. 

Please follow the link to support Africa Goal – we are hugely grateful for any contribution that you can make.

Support Africa Goal 2014

Africa Goal 2014 Website Launch

March 10, 2014 – With less than 4 months left before the start of the 2014 World Cup, we are excited to announce the launch of the Africa Goal website. Keep checking news/events section of the website for updates, articles, news, photos and video clips during the lead up to the project and whilst we’re on the road! All campaign materials will also be available as downloads.

Message of Support by Mr. Wilfried Lemke

Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace

The United Nations considers sport to be a powerful tool to promote education, health, development, and peace. Sport unites people of all social classes, cultures, and religions in a positive and educational way.As the Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace, it is with great pleasure that I offer my support to the Project, “Africa Goal 2010” for one year. The initiative is an extraordinary example of the application of sport as a tool for development and peace-building efforts. Harnessing the opportunity of the World Cup and building on the experience of the implementation of this project in 2006, the Africa Goal Project will combine screenings of the World Cup Football Games throughout the African continent with awareness raising campaigns about HIV and AIDS. In cooperation with local community based NGOs and by providing an enabling platform, Africa Goal, taking on a facilitating role, will support local partners to maximize the potential of the World Cup as a tool for HIV information dissemination. A sustainable effect is assured by exhibiting audio-visual material as well as locally handmade footballs after the tour, creating funds that the communities will benefit from.

This project exemplifies how sport can be used as a valuable tool to initiate social change and through its activities, contributes to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals. I wish you great success and all the best for the continuation of your exceptional efforts throughout the next year!

Wilfried Lemke
Geneva, 27 May 2010

http://www.africagoal.com/media/2010-05-27_Message Wilfired Lemke_Africa Goal-final.pdf