Founded in 1987, Mathare Youth Sports Association is Laureus Sport for Good’s as well as SOL’s longest-standing partner and also one of the largest, working with over 30’000 young people each week through a variety of football-centred programming activities focused on sexual reproduction rights, HIV/AIDS education and prevention and employability.
Problem to be tackled
The Mathare Valley Slum, home of Mathare Youth Sports Association, is the second largest slum in Nairobi with over 600’000 residents. Youth comprise over 80% of the entire valley’s population and recent data published by the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey indicate that half of all new HIV infections occur among young people aged 15-24 years, girls are twice as likely to be infected as boys the same age, and there are significant barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services.
Mathare Youth Sports Association operates in the Mathare Valley, the second largest slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mathare Youth Sports Association targets boys and girls ages 15-24 in this project. Based on the research, this age group is the most at-risk for contracting HIV and there are significant barriers – both physical and psychological – to accessing proper sexual and reproductive health services.
Mathare Youth Sports Association takes a wide-scale approach to its recruitment of youth participants. Through an intensive community outreach process, they train and empower peer educators from the local neighbourhoods who in turn train fellow youth and other members of their respective communities. Using football as the hook to get involved, once youth are engaged in programming Mathare Youth Sports Association then utilises partnerships with organisations like the Ministry of Health of Kenya, Medicines Sans Frontiers and the AIDS Health Care Foundation to get proper care and services to the participants as well as creating a robust referral system.
Mathare Youth Sports Association works directly with over 30’000 participants through its football and HIV prevention programming. The majority of these participants are youth who have registered as either a football player or coach; some beneficiaries have been trained on and are leading trainings on sexual and reproductive health rights while others are community members accessing HIV counselling and testing services.
With the support from The SOL Foundation, Laureus Sport for Good will be able to continue to tackle the likes of violence, discrimination and disadvantage around the world; both partners believe that Mathare Youth Sports Association, a long standing and well respected grantee, would represent impactful investments over the next years.
Laureus Sport for Good uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage for children and young people all around the world. It supports actually more than 200 programmes in over 40 countries with funding and capacity building, helping to change the lives of over 200’000 marginalised and disadvantaged children and young people – from increasing access to education, to tackling gang violence, to supporting the mental health of youth in post-trauma situations.
Laureus Sport for Good was founded under the Patronage of Nelson Mandela, in line with his belief that “sport has the power to change the world” after seeing it play a crucial role in rebuilding post-apartheid South African society.