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Sports for HIV/AIDS prevention, SRHR and family planning

Author: ranaumairasif
Copyrights: Kafka Welfare Organization

Sports for HIV/AIDS prevention, SRHR and family planning

How can sports help create safe spaces for youth?

The concept of “Sports for Development and Peace” (SDP) has brought positive change to communities around the world. SDP uses team-based sports to teach social and moral values to young people. Since 2001 when the United Nations officially endorsed it, SDP programmes have been initiated globally by different organisations, two famous ones being Right to Play and UNOSDP (United Nations Office on Sports for Development & Peace).

In Pakistan, a project called Sports for Social Change was implemented by the Kafka Welfare Organization. Through SDP activities, it taught youth about positive values, including acceptance, tolerance, mutual respect, discipline and understanding of cultural diversity. A participant said:

"During activities (…) I experienced equality (…). We are all equal (…) Now I accept people from all backgrounds and cultures."  

The power of sport helps youth to overcome barriers and differences; it unites them based on friendship and team spirit.

Our Country Coordinator from Pakistan, Umair, uses sports as a tool to reach youth in his community and to teach them about sexual health, contraception and social welfare. In his community as well as in many others, one of the most prominent barriers to use of contraception is the cultural stigma. Contraception is considered taboo in Pakistan and is not talked about at all. SDP activities create safe spaces in which he breaks down these cultural barriers and makes it easier for young people to talk about contraception, HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and family planning.

Umair uses a variety of sports analogies: "Like a goalkeeper is needed to prevent goals from happening, a condom is needed to prevent HIV." This image was used during friendly soccer matches. Individuals report feeling free to express their opinions and share their feelings after the ice has been broken through fun and games. Umair specifically includes people affected by HIV/AIDS as well as youth from different genders. He also used these safe spaces to talk about unwanted pregnancies, maternal health and social welfare when organising SDP activities.

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Published

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 10:33

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