The power of football

Cedar Tanzania first witnessed the power of the TackleAfrica  (TA) methodology at a SASA! community event in Kamanga village in February this year. Through a translator, Ashley Phillips from Southampton, UK invited both boys and girls to play a game, the point of which was to kick the ball up and keep it up for as long as possible. Boys, both young and old began and showed off their varying skills to an amused audience, which clapped and cheered. But then it was the girls’ turn. Their kick-up skills were not as impressive as the boys’, and a very audible moan and sympathetic slow clap followed each humble attempt, of which only two consecutive kick-ups was the most that could be achieved.

But from the audience a bold young woman stepped out to the front, gave her small infant to a friend to hold and demanded the ball. And in front of the crowd, she did this…

She took the football and amazed the crowd!

The cheer that went up for her confirmed Cedar Tanzania’s decision to partner with TackleAfrica. TA encourage young people, boys AND girls, to talk about the value of girls having a voice in the community, as beautifully demonstrated by the young lady in the green dress! They also help the youth to discuss issues about sexual health and HIV/AIDS, all whilst playing football!

Ashley Phillips writes, “I first volunteered with TackleAfrica in April 2016 on a HIV education programme in Makambako, Tanzania. I started full time in September 2017 as the programme manager for TackleAfrica Tanzania.

Tanzania is my first posting in Africa but TackleAfrica work in eight countries within sub-Saharan Africa. In Tanzania we currently work in Geita and Tarime districts, and now we are adding Kamanga to the list.

I have a background in sports development and applied international development, so working with an international sports development organisation was a great fit and offered me some vital experiences. I was attracted to TackleAfrica particularly because of their unique methodology and integrated approach to development education. Also, the importance they place on monitoring, evaluation, and learning in order to constantly improve programmes and their beneficiary impact, is impressive.

The stages for setting up new programmes can differ greatly depending on the specific project. In Kamanga, we looked at capacity levels of coaches and beneficiaries for football education, new coach identification, sexual health topic selection, beneficiary identification, and course planning and scheduling.

We would hope for many outcomes from our projects. Most importantly we want to increase the knowledge levels of our beneficiaries and attitudes towards their sexual and reproductive health. Beyond that we hope to increase the footballing skill level of our players and improve our coaches skills and knowledge of football. Finally, we want the experience to be a fun one for all involved, the great strength of teaching through sport is that it is fun and thus retains children's interest levels and helps increase knowledge retention levels. Beyond this project we would like to extend the programme to more coaches and beneficiaries in Kamanga and solidify community links with Kamanga Health Centre.”

Cedar Tanzania are proud to partner with TackleAfrica. We look forward to seeing the impact that Ashley and his team of new coaches will bring to the lives of the youth in Kamanga.