Health Goals Project Kicks Off in Malawi

News article 21 Aug 2018
Presentation of the Health Goals Malawi project during the press conference in Blantyre, Malawi

Liverpool Football Club’s official charity, the LFC Foundation, and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) proudly presented their ambitions for the in-country phase of their ‘Health Goals Malawi’ project,  as part of their visit to the country.

‘Health Goals Malawi’ is a three-year project that aims to reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in Malawi, by raising awareness of support services and educating young people about the risks. The medium of football and the power of the LFC badge aims to support engagement with local people, in particular young males aged 14-22 who are predominantly hard to reach and least likely to access health education and services such as self-testing and treatment plans.

During their time in Malawi, representatives from both organisations will be working with the Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust (MLW) to progress with the activation of the project; delivering football training sessions to local villagers across Blantyre, Chikwawa and other surrounding districts, and providing ‘Coach the Coach’ intensive training sessions to 10+ new Malawi-based coaches, enabling the delivery of high-quality sports sessions to thousands of youngsters across Malawi.

Karl Carney, Community Engagement Lead at the LFC Foundation, said: “We’re extremely excited to be here in Malawi and working alongside LSTM and MLW to deliver this much-needed project; using the power of football and the LFC badge to engage with local people, and share our coaching skills to train local coaches who will ensure the sustainability of the project.”

Stacey Lavery, Fundraising Manager at LSTM, said: “LSTM is delighted to be involved in this project, which takes a new and creative approach to engaging young males with health services. It is really important that we break down any barriers to engagement, and create more friendly and accessible ways to communicate key health messages. We look forward to delivering the project over the next three years in partnership with MLW and LFC Foundation.”

Later this week (25th August), LSTM and LFC Foundation will attend the at the MLW Kafukufuku research festival in Chikiwawa, to showcase the self-testing education video, featuring LFC star, Sadio Mané, in which he explains the importance of understanding your HIV status, and demonstrates how to use a self-testing kit.

From the beginning, the Senegalese footballer has played a massive role in raising the profile of the project and ensuring the campaign appeals to young Malawians. As well as featuring in the video and promotional materials, Sadio launched the project earlier in the year and met with Malawian coaches when they visited Liverpool in April, during the first phase of the 'Health Goals Malawi' project.

The festival will also host the final rounds of the LFC Foundation’s football tournament, which commenced in June and was entered by teams from 52 Malawian villages. The two finalist teams, dressed in their donated LFC kits, will compete to win a prestigious trophy.

MLW Science Communication Manager, Rodrick Sambakunsi, said “The use of football at this year’s event is an example of how MLW uses different innovative strategies to engage the public on health and health research. We are extremely happy to partner with LFC Foundation and use Sadio Mane as the face of the campaign, helping us to reach out to the youth of Chikwawa.”