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Davidson College

Publication Date

Fall 2007

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health

Abstract

South Africa currently suffers greatly from disease and poverty. In particular, the country has a remarkably high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. This study looks at how the popularity of sport is being used to combat these social and health concerns. Many believe the power of sport is one means by which educational messages can be communicated to the public. Over a period of one month, three different sports related non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were examined. Two of the organizations, PeacePlayers International, which uses basketball to teach HIV/AIDS education and personal development, and loveLife Games, which uses sport to attract youth to their health education programs, were observed in Durban. The third organization, Grassroot Soccer, which integrates soccer and HIV/AIDS education into a game-oriented curriculum for youth, was observed in Port Elizabeth. On an international level, this study examines how sport is being used for the achievement of national development goals. The effectiveness of the NGOs at communicating educational messages was examined using interviews, observations, and focus group discussions. Formal interviews were used to discuss the programs with trainers, coaches, and administrators. Participation in programming events added to observations. Two focus group discussions were organized to receive feedback from Grassroot Soccer youth participants. Media publications were used to learn of international and national efforts for development through sport. In all of the NGOs, it was found that sports create an excitement that facilitates learning. Therefore, the NGOs are able to reach youth otherwise uninterested in the educational programs. On a larger scale, there have been recent international and national efforts to promote health education through sport. In a similar manner, South Africa is hoping to direct the enthusiasm for hosting the FIFA World Cup 2010 toward health development and advancement.

Disciplines

Public Health Education and Promotion

 

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