Tyler Spencer


Exploring the Impact of Social Context on a South African Sport-Based Life Skills Education Program

Southern Africa is one of the world’s hotspots for both HIV transmission and AIDS mortality. Both HIV prevalence and incidence rates in South Africa are highest among youth, and these rates are especially alarming in diamond mining communities and at towns located near border posts. In 2006, the DeBeers Diamond Corporation piloted an AIDS prevention partnership with Grassroot Soccer, a non-governmental organization whose mission is to use the power of sports as a vehicle to disseminate HIV awareness and education. As part of the partnership, a community-based peer education intervention was planned for Musina, South Africa, a town located 80 km from the DeBeers Venetia Mine and 14 km from the Zimbabwe Beit Bridge border post. This exploratory case study, which was conducted simultaneously with program planning and implementation in Musina, consisted of 26 interviews with community stakeholders, 4 focus group discussions, field notes, and a series of pre- and post-intervention knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs surveys administered to the stakeholders. The goal was not simply to evaluate Grassroot Soccer’s peer education activities but also to focus on the context in which this work was being conducted, in light of the organization’s ongoing debates about how to best promote social environments most likely to support their HIV prevention efforts

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