Good Health & Wellbeing through Football
Young people in Lesotho face severe, multiple and overlapping health challenges that can have a wide range of impacts on their development and future prospects. The Good Health & Wellbeing through Football Curriculum aims to fill this gap in provision, providing targeted health education specifically designed to engage and motivate youth around the most pressing challenges in Lesotho, including, HIV/AIDS, hygiene & sanitation, nutrition, drug, alcohol and substance misuse and mental health.
Many of these health needs and challenges are linked to the underlying societal issue of HIV/AIDS, and our integrated approach to this project addresses wellbeing in a holistic way. We believe this is essential to improving the overall long-term health chances of young people in Lesotho. The curriculum also includes significant components of gender equality and life-skills development, which are critical in supporting the adoption of healthily attitudes and behaviours.
As well as promoting behaviour change to improve health chances and prevent poor health, improving access to services is a key factor in addressing existing health conditions and needs. The project addresses this need through individual referrals to specialist health services dependent on the specific needs of participants. Notably this includes referrals to HIV testing, counselling and medical follow-up.
Lesotho is a patriarchal society that normalises gender inequality. In 2014 33% of women and 40% of men expressed a belief that a husband is justified in beating his wife in certain circumstances (LDHS). 86% of women have experienced some form of Gender Based Violence (GBV) at least once in their lifetime, including partner and non-partner violence. With many women unaware of their rights or how to uphold them, Gender Links research also indicates that GBV remains a primary driver of HIV infection in Lesotho.
Girls United aims to empower other girls & young women with sexual & reproductive health education, knowledge of their rights, preventing and responding to gender-based violence, and life-skills development notably self-confidence.
Delivered by young female leaders, the project includes:
- A 14 session sports-based curriculum covering gender rights, sexual & reproductive health education and life-skills development.
- Mixed-gender football tournaments that integrates activities to engage boys as activists against gender-based violence.
- Referrals to health, legal, protection and psychosocial services.
- A young leaders network for female empowerment and support on an ongoing basis. Young leaders identified through the curriculum have the opportunity to join a young leaders network and become leaders in promoting social change in their communities on an ongoing basis.
Monitoring & Evaluation includes pre and post course assessments, focus groups and coach observation. Follow up focus groups are conducted at intervals after the course to assess on-going impact, including the impact of the young women as advocates of healthy behaviour in their families and communities.