17 | 12 | 2017

USING FOOTBALL TO PROMOTE HEALTH AMONG SLUM YOUTH

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pilot project is working with 500 youth in Kikopey slum area in Nakuru County, Kenya  where various football skills are linked to environment and health risk factors that affect them. The youth also learn organic farming methods for food security and nutrition.

 

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ootball is the one activity that unites people of different ages, gender, social and cultural backgrounds. It is uniquely effective and affordable for promoting good health, while fighting hunger and poverty especially among the youth.

SPORTING ACTIVITIES LINKED TO HEALTH RISK FACTORS

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n Kenya, a pilot project with 500 youth is being run by Trinity United Methodist Church in Central/Narok District. Trinity United Methodist Church is linking sports with environmental clean-ups, AIDS prevention, leadership training and other community service activities involving approximately 2000 young people in the slums of Gilgil, Naivasha and Narok and Nakuru areas.

 

‘Football for health’ is an ’11 Health’ programme that improves children’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviour towards diseases. Eleven simple messages on prevention, all based on scientific facts and linked to a specific football action, are practiced by youth group in eleven 90-minute sessions.  The first half is called ‘Play Football ‘and inducts a specific football skill. The second half is called ‘Play Fair’and informs about the specific health issues and teaches children behaviour that introduces healthy ways to protect themselves.

YOUTH TRANSFER SKILLS TO FAMILIES AND PEERS

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rinity United Methodist Church Outreach team has been working with football teams in the slum where participating youth are shown how they can use their environment to improve their nutrition and food security. The young people share it with their families and peers.

Training Skills Imparted On Slum Youth

Health message

Football skill

Risk factors  influenced

play football (physical exercise)

playing football

high blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, physical inactivity

Respect girls and women

passing

Unsafe sex

Protect yourself from HIV

Heading

unsafe sex

Avoid drugs and alcohol

Dribbling

use of alcohol, tobacco

Use treated bed nets

Shielding

Malaria

Wash your hands

Defending

Poor sanitation and hygiene

Drink clean water

Trapping

Contaminated water supply

Eat a balanced diet

Building fitness

Under and over-weight, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake

Vaccinate yourself and your family

Shooting

Inadequate health protection

Take your prescribed medication

Goalkeeping

Inadequate health protection

Fair play

Teamwork

Family and social support

 

STARTED WITH KITCHEN GARDENS

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aith Wanjiru the outreach officer has taught one of the team members how to set up kitchen gardens. The initiative started with an indoor sessions where Ms Wanjiru had a discussion with the team on different urban farm activities that can be implemented in the slum areas. The topics included poultry, rabbit keeping and kitchen gardening. The group chose to start with kitchen gardens, with support from a farmer training video they learnt how to set up a kitchen garden.

 ‘Trinity United Methodist Church donated kitchen garden sacks, farm manure, and soil, kale and spinach seedlings to the team. With the help of the outreach officer, the team planted their first kitchen garden within the grounds of Trinity Mission School as a demonstration plot’ said Rev Josam Kariuki, Central/Narok District Superintendent.

PROJECT TO BE EXPANDED TO OTHER SLUM AREAS

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t is hoped that this technology will be replicated in different slums in the country as it is not costly and does not need a lot of space yet the yields can be enough to feed a family, in this way enhancing food security in the slum areas.

The program is also used to evangelize to the children and youths in the slums. The number of the youths joining the church is increasing tremendously since this program started. Also the rate for retention for the children and youths in church has improved, said Rev Kariuki.

Daniel Njuguna a 15 years old boy from Kikopey slum says ” since the Trinity United Methodist Church started this program  many youths have  stopped taking drugs and the late of crimes has reduced. Some of my friends were engaged in gangs but now they have joined the soccer teams”.  They also attend church services, said Njuguna

The church donates balls, uniforms and other soccer equipment to the teams within the slum.

 

By Peter Openda

Communication officer

Central District

The United Methodist Church, Kenya

East Africa Annual Conference

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