Community Health Education Sports Initiative Zambia (CHESIZ), based in Kabwe, Central Province, is a women and young people driven participatory Health, Education, Sports and Good Governance oriented NGO. CHESIZ uses the joy of sport, especially football, to attract youth and raise awareness on HIV prevention, SRHR and early marriage. Their work to end early marriage is strengthened through their membership of the Girls Not Brides global movement. CHESIZ targets young people ages 10-25years—75% are girls and 25% boys, particularly those from the most disadvantaged and neglected communities, including youth with disabilities.
Attracted to the game of football, young people participate in training
`Girls choose to be active’, April 2019 sessions, training camps, matches
CHESIZ hosts Central Province Girls Soccer and football festivals, where Tournament CHESIZ uses the opportunity of
youth coming together to discuss
Ten Girls Soccer teams with more than 300 girls from key HIV, SRHR and child protection throughout the province participated in the two-day issues. To date some 24000 young tournament, with over half of the players undergoing people have been reached through HIV counselling and testing. While the Kabwe Celtics sport. Football is a crowd puller for were the soccer champions , all benefited from young people with many who come sessions on Gender Based Violence, Substance Abuse to watch and cheer. It is in this Risks, Ending child marriage and the importance of recreational space that education, Child safeguarding and protection policies. HIV counselling and testing are
brought to youth for free, making
these services both youth friendly
and accessible. The CHESIZ services therefore help to overcome the lack of youth friendly health services which are a key barrier to health service access for young people. The importance of sport for a healthy mind and body is emphasised, and young people are organised into football clubs on a daily basis where they participate in trainings while interacting with counsellors. CHESIZ implements its programmes, particularly HIV awareness through its mentorship programme where promising youth are selected to mentor new recruits. Female sports coaches and peer educators are trained in a combination of football coaching, basic first aid and HIV/AIDS awareness skills.
While CHESIZ has a major focus on sport, a key priority is to ensure that youth are in school. On enrolment onto the programme, their first action is to assess if the young person is going to school, and in partnership with PACT Zambia, provide educational support to those who require it.
In early December 2020 , CHESIZ was nominated for the international Football for Friendship award in recognition of their work in gender empowerment. CHESIZ is well networked within the world of Sports for Development through their membership of the Sports for Social Change Network Africa
(SSCNA), and the Zambian Street Football Network . They also hold membership with the Football
Association of Zambia. Nationally they are strategically placed as members of the District and Provincial AIDS Task Force as well as the Zambia National Education Coalition. Locally, strong relationships with local civic leaders and communities are essential for decision making and programmes development.
Reflecting on the power of sport for youth health and development, CHESIZ Executive Director, Maxmillian Chanda Bupe had this to say:
`I’ve been thinking through the use of football and sport in particular, it has brought a lot of teamwork and confidence. And then people are not shy to talk about HIV and AIDS, they are confident to walk into any counselling and testing centre and access services and really feel proud to encourage the fellow peers to access the same services. So it has been through the use of sports, they should be no longer shy, they are very free, they are confident, and they have been kept healthy. It has also acted as a preventive measure in that the kids when they’re having those sports activities, they are kept busy. By the time they’re going back to their various homes, they are already tired and their mind just focused on other things, which prevents them from indulging in illicit activities such as sex, drug abuse, and those sorts of things’