The Botswana Football Association (BFA) has been very interested to engage in the 11 for Health programme. After initial talks with F-MARC in spring, it was decided to launch a pilot project together with the Ministries of Health, Youth, Sport and Culture, and Education, Skill and Development in order to evaluate the acceptability and effect of the ‘11 for Health’ programme in 12 to 13 year-old school children.

Two project responsibles were nominated by the BFA to organise a first coach instructor course from 1 to 5 August in Gaborone. Next to the F-MARC instructors, two teachers involved in the nationwide launch of the programme in Mauritius were part of the instructor group for this course. These coaches, who come from a similar educational and social background as the course participants, are meant to not only to provide culturally sensitive training but also allow for maximum gain from practical experiences in other countries and to establish a core group of African coaches.

Twenty-two physical exercise teachers, two from each of the eleven secondary schools involved, and six BFA coaches participated in the course in Gaborone and learned how to teach the eleven messages to children as well as the theoretical background underpinning each of the messages.

The implementation started straight thereafter. Four hundred boys and girls at the respective schools completed a questionnaire establishing their current health knowledge prior to the start of the lessons. Following this, implementation of the programme at the schools started. One week is spent on teaching each message to the kids in a playful, football-related manner.

In November, the children will again complete the questionnaire to assess any change in their health knowledge as an effect of the programme. The coaches will provide feedback on the implementation of the programme and any issues that might arise in this particular setting. Based on the experiences gained, the long-term implementation of the ‘11 for Health’ programme in Botswana will then be planned.