Tell us about the community that you engage? eg. economic conditions, political structures, norms and values, demographic trends, history, and experience with engagement efforts.
Lesotho is one of the world's most underdeveloped countries, and the HIV/AIDS crisis is the key factor in preventing Lesotho from progressing economically. The HIV prevalence is 23.2 percent and more than 100,000 children have been orphaned. This has had a devastating impact on family and community structures, and the workforce has been severely depleted. As a result the economy is weak and many men of working age leave to work in South Africa, weakening further the social fabric.
While relatively politically stable the government has struggled to cope with this crisis and young people face many challenges. In Maseru, where the Kick4Life Football for Hope Centre is based, there are more than 24,500 children who are identified as orphans and vulnerable children, and many of these live on the streets or are engaged in child labor. These young people are at particular risk to HIV infection, malnutrition and a lack of future prospects. This is compounded by cultural issues such as multi-partner relationships, gender inequality, stigma and myths surrounding HIV.
Over the last 5 years Kick4Life has worked intensively with the target group and has worked hard to engage the local community in the delivery and shaping of our programs through a number of community consultations. As a result our focus is on supporting young people in remaining HIV and developing the behavior changes that will help them avoid becoming another lost generation. Indeed we are positive that through widespread health education and with a holistic approach, that Lesotho can pursue a brighter future.
Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project
In May 2005 Steve & Pete Fleming, two brothers from the UK with a passion for sport, undertook a challenge to dribble a football for 250 miles in 10 days across Malawi to raise funds for an AIDS orphanage. In completing the challenge they saw the incredible power of football and sport as a tool to engage young people in Africa, and its potential to contribute to development.
The experience inspired them to found Kick4Life from scratch and six years later the charity has worked with more than 25,000 young people in Lesotho. Lesotho had emerged as the most suitable location to set up Kick4Life, with a great need surrounding HIV/AIDS, no other programs utilizing sport, and a range of organizations keen to support the project, including the Lesotho Football Association. Kick4Life's programs have now won a number of awards and the charity has 14 full-time staff and more than 50 volunteers. The charity also runs the Lesotho Football for Hope Center, a sports, health and education facility that will enable Kick4Life to deliver its life-changing work in a dedicated setting for many years to come.
As founders of Kick4Life Pete and Steve are committed to making a long-term difference in Lesotho and to increasing the reach and impact of the organization.