World Cup Provides Opportunity to Talk about HIV Prevention
The FIFA World Cup was the biggest sporting event that Africa witnessed this year. However, for many Africans living in rural or low-income communities, getting access to venues that were broadcasting the live soccer games was not easy.
Canada and local organization Africa Goal partnered to provide local communities free screenings of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, during which time they provided information on HIV prevention.
Young enthusiastic soccer fans blow ‘vuvuzelas,’ trumpet-like devices used for cheering that symbolized the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Community members turn up in the hundreds to watch the FIFA World Cup during a screening in Nairobi.
Richard Le Bars of the Canadian High Commission joins the community to watch the World Cup.
On behalf of five participating Canadian missions in Africa, the Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe recorded a message in the screenings about Canada’s efforts in fighting HIV in Canada and across the globe. The month-long project began in Kenya and ended in South Africa. The Africa Goal crew spent each day in a different location, connecting with diverse people from different cultures and backgrounds.
The crew targeted rural and low-income urban areas with high HIV infection rates. A few screenings at highway stops along the route also attracted long-distance truck drivers, bar and restaurant clientele and villagers. A great range of people enjoyed and celebrated the tournament while receiving potentially life-saving information on how to stop the spread of HIV.
In total, the screenings covered eight African countries through the savannah and bush, down the Swahili coast, into small remote fishing and farming villages and into larger cosmopolitan towns.
One screening was hosted on the outskirts of Nairobi by the African Medical and Research Foundation, an organization that works to support and rehabilitate street children. At the event, Mr. Richard Le Bars of the Canadian High Commission noted that Canada was committed to the fight against HIV and AIDS, in Canada and around the world.
“Canada has invested hundreds of millions of dollars globally to prevent new infections, slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life of people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as those of their families, friends and communities,” said Mr. Le Bars.
He also used the opportunity to call on youth to help prevent the spread of HIV. “Today, we see the strength of the African nation in hosting the World Cup. Tomorrow, let us continue to see that strength as we work together to stop the spread of HIV,” he said.
Africa Goal’s screenings in Africa were supported by the High Commissions of Canada in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and the Embassies of Canada in Mozambique and Zimbabwe through the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s post initiative funding and the Canadian International Development Agency’s Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
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