LSTM and the LFC Foundation return to Malawi this week to deliver the final stage of their joint programme - Health Goals Malawi.
Now in its second year, the joint project delivers sports-based public engagement activities in Malawi to provide youth-friendly platforms for young people to access available health services and education about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Using the medium of football and the power of the LFC badge, the programme engages with youngsters and in particular the hard to reach group of young males aged 14-22 who are least likely to access health education and services such as self-testing and treatment plans.
The Malawi teams’ last visit in July involved the training of 25 football coaches alongside FA Malawi in how to deliver messages about HIV through football.
These community coaches have since planned and delivered six mass-participation sessions to more than 650 local young people, and 88 per cent of the young people who took part went on to receive and use HIV self-test kits, supplied and distributed by local provider Population Services International, which is the main ambition of the programme.
The number of people living with HIV in Malawi is one of the highest in the world and young people account for 50 per cent of new infections and incidences are highest among 15-17-year olds.
Education around prevention and transmission of disease is essential amongst young people who often have low levels of awareness and are therefore more likely to contract it or be living with it unknowingly.
During their 10 day visit to Malawi this week the LFC Foundation and LSTM team will provide further training and support to the newly trained coaches as they deliver a week-long series of community outreach sessions, culminating in local partner Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust’s science festival event and football tournament.
Using tailored football sessions as the hook, it will give hundreds of teenagers the opportunity to find out their HIV status and receive targeted health education.
Sara Begg, from the Centre for Capacity Research said: “Working in close partnership with the LFC Foundation has been fantastic, allowing us to develop a programme that really meets the needs of young men in Malawi. "The impact so far has been impressive, with hundreds of young people having the opportunity to test for HIV for the first time, and we look forward to working with our partners in Malawi to ensure this excellent work continues."
Matt Parish, director of the LFC Foundation, said: "We are delighted to be able to utilise the power of football to engage with such a hard to reach group. "Working alongside LSTM’s talented team and utilising their expertise has enabled us to make a real difference to hundreds of young people’s health and life chances in Malawi."