merckPharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) has supported the recent launch of Football for an HIV Free Generation (F4) Namibia, which will catalyze the successful sports-based HIV prevention efforts of two local implementing partners under F4’s innovative, pan-African effort to leverage the power of soccer and the opportunity of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

“Thanks to the invaluable support from MSD,” says GRS Managing Director Kirk Friedrich, “we were able to initiate work with local partners in Namibia, a new country for F4, and establish our HIV prevention program to reach 6,000 youth by the end of 2010.”

Targeting young men aged 15-35, NawaLife Trust’s NawaSport program has been a GRS implementing partner since 2006, using a sports-based curriculum developed in partnership with GRS.  In addition to curriculum delivery, NawaSport runs nationally renowned Street Soccer tournaments and engages former Namibian National Team players as champions for HIV prevention.  In June 2009, with support from MSD, GRS provided advanced facilitation training to 23 NawaSport Coaches, building their capacity as agents of social and behavioral change.  Together, GRS and NawaLife Trust are developing a new curriculum, integrating the strengths of the original NawaSport curriculum and the new Skillz curriculum being piloted by F4 South Africa.

george_eMSD’s support has also enabled GRS to provide training of coaches from 12 sites throughout two regions in Northern Namibia, coordinated by the Academy for Education Development (AED).  Targeting youth aged 14-25, AED’s program establishes soccer clubs in rural communities where little organized sport activity exists and trains coaches to deliver an activities-based curriculum adapted from the GRS curriculum.  In April 2009, GRS trained 34 Coaches to deliver the new Skillz curriculum with youth.

MSD is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company, and has for decades spearheaded corporate social investment and HIV/AIDS efforts in Africa. The company is acclaimed for its bold investment in establishing the African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) to support and enhance Botswana’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic through a comprehensive approach to HIV and AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support.
Merck & Co. Inc. (Whitehouse Station, N.J., USA), which operates in most countries outside of the U.S. as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first.