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Health and Wellness


Physical and emotional health

We can all agree that being active and playing sports is good for our physical wellbeing, and more and more people are beginning to understand how important sports can be for improving emotional wellbeing. CAC uses soccer to convey both of these messages. At the most fundamental level we teach Health & Wellness games in order to get the heart pounding, the lungs gasping for air, the muscles aching. But we also use these games to educate our participants on how to stay healthy, practice good hygiene, think about the food and fluids they put into their bodies, and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.


Game: Marta for Health & Wellness

we make our discussions about health and wellness locally relevant and we learn about the various cultural factors that influence our ability to stay healthy

In this game, cones are scattered about in a space about 3-4 yards apart. Participants are divided into two groups – one group will work, the other will rest. Each will go for 30 seconds and in that time must collect as many cones as possible by doing different movements at each one – touching the cone with their hand, or jumping over it with two feet. There are all sorts of variations to this game, but they all have the same purpose – get to work!

After these exercises we ask the participants how they feel. We see what information we can pull out of them, not as a test, but to help them understand why it is important to think about exercising in ways that extend beyond becoming better soccerers. We ask pointed questions in order to encourage the participants to think for themselves. In this way we make our discussions about health and wellness locally relevant and we learn about the various cultural factors that influence our ability to stay healthy in body and in mind. These Health & Wellness games lay a strong foundation for us to build from when going more in-depth with topics such as nutrition and sexual health.


Working with Whizzkids United on HIV education

One of our long-time partners, Whizzkids United, has the most comprehensive HIV education program that we have encountered in our work. Their new FIFA Football for Hope Center, outside Durban, South Africa, is next to the hospital they partner with. This relationship allows them not only to educate about HIV/AIDS but also to incorporate HIV testing, counseling, and thorough long-term follow-up care into their programs. It is small-scale, but it has a big impact. CAC works with the FIFA Football for Hope Center coaches, teaching them all of our games, with particular attention paid to our HIV module. These games give coaches a framework within which they can convey their messages about sexual health; the activities are flexible enough that whatever happens during the game is what shapes the discussion.

Our Monitoring & Evaluation shows that, before our program, only 29% of our participants could use a soccer game to teach young people how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, whereas after a CAC training, that number jumps to 93%.