HIV & AIDS prevention through sport: making it work in Eastern Africa
Today, more than 30 million people are living with HIV, and many of them are involved in sport, either as spectators or as participants. Because the prevention of HIV/AIDS and fight against discrimination are the two fields in which sport can clearly make a difference, and because sport breaks down barriers, builds self-esteem and can teach life skills and healthy behaviour, the sports movement has decided to join the world campaign against the HIV & AIDS epidemic. Through its global network, the sports community can be a key protagonist in reaching out to communities. The IOC, in cooperation with the Ugandan Olympic Committee and Churches United Against HIV & AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa (CUAHA), organised a workshop in Kampala on 16 and 17 August 2009.
AIDS-prevention toolkit in an African language: a first for an Olympic publication
The roll-out of the recently published Swahili version of the IOC-UNAIDS toolkit on HIV & AIDS prevention through sport was among the main topics of the workshop. This is the first time ever that a major publication of the Olympic Movement has been translated into an African language. Jointly developed by the IOC and UNAIDS (Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS), this practical guide will thus reach millions of sports people in Africa and the region, and will help them engage in activities and programmes to combat this disease. Participants from selected National Olympic Committees of Eastern Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania) exchanged views with representatives of CUAHA on how this toolkit could effectively be applied to educational programmes, particularly for young people.
Making it work in Uganda
The main subject on the agenda of this two-day workshop was how sport could help support national and international efforts to curb the spread of the AIDS epidemic, especially among young people. The workshop was thus an occasion for the participating NOCs to present their programmes and actions, particularly the Ugandan NOC, which has become a role model in the fight against the pandemic. The participation of the sporting icons in an advocacy and stigmatisation campaign has been highly underlined and encouraged, as has talking to the young generation using the language of sport.
The workshop concluded with a list of concrete recommendations and commitments for future action, calling on the main stakeholders from the sport and health sectors to set up a task force building on existing partnerships. The document also encourages further action on developing an HIV and AIDS policy for each relevant organisation. A similar workshop for countries of Southern Africa will be organised by early January 2010.