April 2014

Using Soccer to Tackle HIV/AIDS Education Gap in Teens

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Soccer is a uniting force in Africa – especially among children. No matter who your favorite player is or what team you support, a soccer ball generates the same reaction – pure joy. After years of watching children clamor and jockey for the ball, fellow soccer enthusiast Tommy Clark began searching for a way to combine his passion for the game with youth focused education around HIV/AIDS.

In 2002, Clark co-founded Grassroot Soccer (GRS) in Zambia; the nonprofit uses soccer-based activities to show teens ages 12 – 19 how HIV infection occurs and how it can be prevented. In Zambia, nearly 60 percent of GRS graduates get an HIV test, compared to only 13 percent of the general population. Other programs use soccer as a hook to teach important life skills, like financial literacy.

In the last decade GRS has grown to develop partnerships with organizations in more than 30 countries.

Children and teens are among the most vulnerable populations affected by HIV/AIDS. The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) applauds innovative ways of teaching young people how to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.  

To learn more about Tommy Clark and Grassroot Soccer be sure to read the original article published in USA Today.