By Staff Reporter
Last Thursday the American Embassy welcomed a new Johnson & Johnson supported HIV/AIDS prevention programme to Namibia.
In a statement, the embassy said that Johnson & Johnson would collaborate with the Academy for Educational Development (AED), who brought NAWA Life Trust into the partnership. Both organizations are long-time partners with USAID in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Namibia through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The programme was launched on Thursday at the Eenhana Multi Purpose Youth Center.
The Namibia Street Soccer Project will build on AED’s well-established school-based OVC program as well as its relationship with the NAWA Sport program. NAWA Sport uses community-based soccer programs as a means to bring HIV/AIDS prevention and care messages to men aged 15-35.
Members of NAWA Life Trust Community Action Fora run these programs.
AED proposed an integration of Nawa Sport into AED’s after-school program that engages over 20 000 OVC – expanding the reach of NAWA Sport’s HIV/AIDS behavior change program to a school setting.
This sports-based HIV prevention program for boys and young men aged 14-24 is focused on out-of-school youth. Johnson & Johnson provided a grant through AED Namibia to pilot the program. The program will be implemented in twenty sites across two regions, Ohangwena and Omusati, in northern Namibia. With direction from AED’s full-time program coordinator, 40 local street soccer coordinators will be trained to run clubs in each of the 20 sites. It is anticipated that 3,000 young men will graduate from the program and that 200 soccer teams will be founded. AED is working very closely with NAWA Sport to avoid duplication of efforts now that the target populations are similar.
“This launch today illustrates the promise of public/private partnerships and the ability of our Namibian partners to impress and garner additional support from respected, US multinational companies such as Johnson & Johnson. AED, working with NAWA Sport, is providing the structure, support and technical expertise that underpin this Johnson & Johnson funded initiative.
Well done,” said United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Program Development Specialist, Dalene van der Westhuizen.
In 2007, Namibia received over US$91 million to combat HIV/AIDS. Namibia is one of fifteen focus countries under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Since 2003, Namibia has received approximately US$215 million from the US Government to carry out its plans to combat HIV/AIDS.