NAIROBI, September 11 – Forty eight schools in Machakos district stand to benefit from a Sh3 million HIV/AIDS awareness programme that will be carried out by Alive and Kicking campaign and Safaricom Foundation.,
Speaking at the project’s launch on Thursday, Alive and Kicking chairman Charles Appleton said his organization is keen to grow the project’s footprint so as to widen to the initiative’s reach.
“So far we have covered Suba in Nyanza and we were also present in Central province last year and now we are going to Machakos. So as you can see we are trying to widen the geographical scope as possible,” said Appleton.
“We are aiming to target 15,000 students in 48 schools over the next four weeks,” he added.
Super middleweight boxer Conjestina Ochieng who is an ambassador of the programme told Capital Sport that she was delighted to be associated with the initiative adding that she hopes her partnership together with that of other sports personalities will help get the HIV/AIDS awareness message across to the youth.
“Being a role model and excelling in what I do, they decided to pick me and I’m very happy with the project because that is the way we can help our young ones,” said Achieng.
Achieng, who started out as a footballer added that she would like to see the initiative being replicated in other sports.
Other famous sports stars who are associated with the campaign include World marathon champion and Olympic silver medallist Catherine Ndereba and Harambee Stars ace Dennis Oliech.
Safaricom Foundation chairman Les Baillie endorsed the project saying that young people are the bedrock of its involvement in sports.
“Safaricom Foundation is committed to promoting greater involvement of the youth in sports. Youth empowerment remains a central feature of our sports programmes,” said Baillie.
“We will consistently invest our initiatives at the grassroots level, so as to lay a solid foundation for the development of skills, the identification of talents and their progression into the high performance programmes of various sports codes,” he added.
Alive and Kicking Kenya is part of Alive and Kicking which is a charity registered in the United Kingdom that makes cheap, tough, repairable footballs, netballs and volleyballs using African skills and African leather.
Each carries a message about HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis.
The charity employs over 150 stitchers across three countries and has produced over 200,000 balls which have been donated to children across Africa.
By 2007, Alive and Kicking had produced over 65,000 balls and has also received orders from Europe’s football governing body UEFA for synthetic leather balls which are appropriate for use in wet weather conditions.