In South Africa, the AIDS pandemic touches people of all ages, especially young people. But it’s not always easy to reach people at risk of infection with information they should now. Not everyone responds to formal lectures or information sessions lead by ‘outsiders’.
A joint Oxfam program lead by Oxfam Australia is supporting peer education programs through several community-based partner organizations.
Young people from the community are trained to use music, sport and leisure activities to capture the attention and interest of other young people to explore sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS transmission, safer sex and discrimination against people living with the disease.
Targeted AIDS Intervention (TAI) peer educators held soccer tournaments which they used as a forum for young men (aged 12 to 22 years) to discuss issues related to HIV and AIDS and about taking responsibility for their sexual behaviour.
As Oxfam HIV and AIDS Educator Thabisile Khoza notes “this gives them the opportunity to talk about safe sex, to talk about sexuality issues and also what they can do in their areas, but in an entertaining way through the use of soccer. It’s done in a very neutral way that is not discriminatory, using their own language and metaphors. You can see the enthusiasm they have.”