The English Premier League has supported the crucial expansion of the combined initiative of Grassroot Soccer and the Baylor Children’s Foundation in Malawi to improve the identification of HIV-infected children and to ensure that they receive appropriate follow-up care, education, treatment and support.
The GRS-Baylor partnership engages local communities in activities designed to raise awareness, promote prevention and reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. Since the training of 28 GRS Coaches in October 2008, over 1,000 youth in Malawi have received HIV prevention and life-skills education and more than 2,000 people have received Voluntary Counselling and Testing at local football events.
The English Premier League’s support has made it possible for GRS and Baylor to progress and expand the Baylor Centre of Excellence’s Teen Club. Using a football-based curriculum the Teen Club provides participants with an age appropriate and engaging education in positive living, adherence to treatment, HIV resistance and GRS life skills that are essential to their healthy development and growth. The Premier League’s funding guarantees that as the number of teens in need of the education and support grows, so too does the ability of the program to reach out and engage more participants. Teen Club participants are also encouraged to become peer educators within their communities.
The English Premier League has taken a leading role in realizing the power of football to deliver international development in health, social equality, education and lifelong learning. As global interest in the League has grown so has their commitment to social development. The expansion of their International Premier Skills programme is just one example of their determination to use football to make a sustainable difference worldwide. In partnering with GRS in Malawi the Premier League Small Grants Programme has made it possible for more HIV+ Malawian youth to gain crucial and effective support and education through the engaging medium of football.
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