“I was the goal keeper - says Mukasa – for the two penalties my team conceded – I remembered what counsellor Paul told us… because a penalty is awarded when there has been negligence- a mistake, and I could see how young girls get pregnant”.
Sports is an excellent avenue to break the ice in discussions about sensitive topics and issues related to sexual reproductive health. Young people easily open up using jargon. They use sports words like penalty, goal, or defender as jargon referring to sexual activity, pregnancy or contraception among others. Therefore, sports makes an easy entry into discussions on such sensitive issues. Sports programs have unique opportunities to start non-threatening dialogues with young people especially boys that could lead to elaborations on issues such as risk of unplanned pregnancy, STI and HIV, contraception and personal hygiene.
InPACT partnered with three football clubs in Kyankwanzi District as an avenue to reach young men who are part of the football teams and their cheer groups/fans. The three teams have adopted names of specific contraceptives including Team Implant, Team Depo- Provera and Team Sayana. Players were first orientated on each contraceptive method, how they work, the likely side effects if any, and benefits of FP. They also agreed to work with the program as advocates for the method their respective teams represent. Additional FP education is given during half time and after the game.
Paul Bukenya, the InPACT program manager notes that while girls seem to be aware of some contraceptive methods and how they work, with a few misconceptions; - the boys’ knowledge was extremely low. “
"The need to catch them young with information about their sexuality including contraception was clearly evident. This is why we chose to use this approach,” says Paul.
The young men also acknowledged that using football jargon made it easy for them to understand the complexities in contraception.
With support from USAID funded Uganda Family Planning Activity (UFPA), InPACT will continue to reach young people with innovative approaches including through sports to scale up awareness and demand generation for FP services.