Everyday 3,800 men, women and children die from AIDS. And according to the UNAIDS 2010 Annual Report, half of all new HIV infections – 7,500 every day – occur among young people aged 15 to 24.
This is why Comic Relief and the Premier League just teamed up with Grassroot Soccer to launch an innovative educational curriculum called Generation Skillz. This global partnership will empower local Grassroot Soccer coaches to educate and inspire over 30,000 young people in South Africa and Zimbabwe to live healthy and productive lives.
Informed by the latest evidence in youth HIV prevention, the interactive Generation Skillz curriculum addresses key drivers of the epidemic in southern Africa including multiple partnerships, inter-generational and transactional sex, alcohol abuse, and gender-based violence.
Success in reversing the HIV epidemic depends not only on changing individuals’ attitudes but also changing the social norms fueling these four risk drivers. The intervention will be backed up by the most rigorous evaluation ever conducted in the field of sport-for-development. The Generation Skillz program seeks not only to achieve increased self-efficacy, reduced risky behavior, and improved health outcomes, but also to prove that sport can radically improve lives.
Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says: “Young people are the key in the fight against AIDS. By creating effective campaigns for education and prevention, we can turn young people’s enthusiasm, drive and dreams for the future into powerful tools for tackling the epidemic.”