Football for Health developments in Africa

Following successful pilot evaluations of the ’11 for Health’ programme in South Africa (2009), Zimbabwe (2010) and Mauritius (2010) and the nationwide implementation of the programme in Mauritius (2011), F-MARC, in the presence of Prof Jiri Dvorak (Chairman), Dr Astrid Junge PhD and Prof Colin Fuller, embarked on a four-week programme of further developments in Africa during April and May 2011.

The first stage began with a stop in Nairobi, Kenya, where F-MARC educated 22 coaches working at the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) during a five-day ’11 for Health’ training programme. In collaboration with MYSA, the ’11 for Health’ programme will be delivered by the 22 coaches from May to July to 400 children aged 11 to 12 years in an out-of-school setting at the 16 MYSA operational centres and the FIFA Football for Hope Centre in Mathare. The next stop was in Windhoek in Namibia, where a similar 5-day training programme was delivered to 22 primary school teachers and 8 coaches from the Namibia Football Association. In Namibia, the ’11 for Health’ programme will be delivered in collaboration with the Namibia Football Association and the Namibia Government Ministries of Health, Education and Sport to around 400 children attending the final year of primary school education in 11 schools during the period June to September.

For the second stage, Ashford Mamelodi, the FIFA Southern Africa Regional Development Officer, joined the F-MARC group to make presentations to the Football Associations in Botswana and Malawi. In both countries meetings were also held with representatives from Ministries of Health, Education and Sport to discuss government support for the programme. These representations resulted in positive support from the Football Associations and Government Ministries; this resulted in plans to implement pilot studies in both countries involving around 400 children in the period September to December 2011 with the prospect of the start of nationwide implementations in 2012.

A successful pilot evaluation of the ’11 for Health’ programme at 11 schools in Mauritius during 2010 in collaboration with the Mauritius Football Association and Government Ministries of Health, Education and Sport resulted in a nationwide implementation of the programme. The programme was lead by F-MARC with local support in Mauritius provided by Rajen Dorasami from the Ministry of Sport and Youth and Ananda Vuddamalay the General Secretary of the Mauritius Football Association. One hundred and sixty four schools took part, over 350 teachers delivered the programme to over 15,000 children aged 11 to 12 years in the period from January to May 2011.

The implementation culminated on 19 May 2011 with a graduation ceremony at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Indian Culture with representatives of the children and teachers who took part in the programme.