Doing Sports that makes a real Difference
Community Health Education Sports Initiative Zambia (CHESIZ) is Health, Education, Sports and Good Governance oriented NGO. A Women and Young people driven participatory movement, based in Kabwe, Central Province of Zambia. We use the joy of sport, especially Football, to attract Young People and raise awareness on HIV prevention, SRHR and early marriage, Gender Equity and Equality, Child Safeguarding and Protection Policies and Substance Abuse. Our work to end early Marriage is strengthened through our membership of the Girls Not Brides global movement. We target young people aged 10-25years old and 75% are girls and 25% boys, particularly those from the most disadvantaged and neglected communities, including Young People with disabilities.
Attracted to the game of Football, Young people participate in training sessions, training camps, League matches and football festivals and Tournaments. We use the opportunity of youth coming together to discuss key HIV, SRHR and Child Safeguarding and Protection Policies throughout the Province. To date some 24000 young people have participated in the Football tournaments, with over 70% of the players undergoing through HIV counseling and testing. While all the young people who participated in the event accessed the information on Gender Based Violence, Substance Abuse. We also provide services to young people on SRHR and help 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 emphasized, and young people are organised into football clubs on a daily basis where they participate in trainings while interacting with counselors. We implement our programmes, particularly HIV awareness through our mentorship programme where promising youth are selected to mentor new recruits. Our 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 Zambia National Education Coalition (ZANEC) we 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 our work in gender empowerment. We are networked within the world of Sports for Development through our membership of the Sports for Social Change Network Africa (SSCNA), and the Zambian Street Football Network. We also hold membership with the Football Association of Zambia. Nationally we are strategically placed as members of the District and Provincial AIDS Task Force as well as the Zambia National Education Coalition. We have a strong relationship with local civic leaders and communities which are essential for decision making and programmes development.
Reflecting on the power of sport for youth health and development, CHESIZ Executive Director, Chanda Bupe M 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 the Young people are not shy to talk about HIV and AIDS, they are confident to walk into any counseling 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’