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"What questions do you have about HIV?" - The participant-centred approach of Cricket Without Boundaries

Author: Lee Booth
Copyrights: Cricket Without Boundaries

"What questions do you have about HIV?" - The participant-centred approach of Cricket Without Boundaries

Cricket Without Boundaries shares their low-cost and effective method to respond to diverse participant needs in HIV education through cricket.

How often do we ask our participants, what do you want to know about HIV? Not what does your school want you to know, or sexual and reproductive health experts, or your coaches or our funders. You.

Asking the question “what questions do you have about HIV?” (or about condoms, or consent, or sex, or relationships) might be an opening of Pandora’s box, but the results can be insightful, impactful, and offers a simple opportunity for even the smallest organisations to start moving towards a participant-centred approach to curriculum development.

Cricket Without Boundaries (CWB) asked this question in September. At CWB we enjoy exploring new ways to integrate learning into sessions, and recently have introduced flashcards to start conversations about common questions about HIV: Can you get HIV by kissing? Can a child be born with HIV?

These proved popular with primary-school students, teachers and coaches, providing structure to sessions while also allowing their flexible use in games.

But high-school students scoffed at the content – it was too easy, too childlike, not relevant to their lives. So, thanks to funding from the Mercury Phoenix Trust, CWB partnered with Avert to design new flashcards for high-school students. The question was: what should be on the cards? Who better to ask than our teenaged participants.

To prevent inhibition, we wanted to solicit questions anonymously. Colourful pens and A3 sheets headed with “What questions do you have about HIV?” were left with groups of students while they waited to play. A brief explanation and they were away. It turns out, there were a lot of questions. They were strikingly diverse, but three trends emerged:

  • As treatment becomes readily available, questions turned to living with HIV: could you have a HIV negative child if you are HIV positive? What if you want to get married and you are HIV/AIDS positive and your partner is negative? What side effects do ARVs have?
  • Others reflected the teenage experience: If you can’t abstain, what can you do? What if you don’t have a condom? Does using a condom make it feel worse?
  • There was a consistent thread about the origin of HIV, its prevalence across the African continent, and how that fits in to a global picture: Where did AIDS originate from? Why is HIV especially found in Africa? Why do Africans use condoms that come from outside the continent?

At the time, we Googled and researched to provide the best answers we could to these more unusual questions, often enlightening ourselves on the way – did you know there are only five places than manufacture condoms in Africa? The next step is now underway, to identify the most common questions, use these to inform the development of new flashcards to start conversations, with helpful notes and guidance for coaches and teachers on the reverse side.

And the takeaway message? This is a low-cost exercise. It’s quick. It creates the opportunity for interesting conversations on the spot. And most importantly, like all good coaching, it puts the needs of your players first.


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Sara Begg


Cricket Without Boundaries


Friday, November 29, 2019 - 16:07