Retrak's Soccer-Based HIV-Prevention Program

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Retrak's Soccer-Based HIV-Prevention Program: Kick 4 Life 4 Uganda

Kampala, UgandaWashington, Estados Unidos
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Across Africa, there are hundreds of thousands of children living on the streets, disconnected from the protection of family. They live under constant threat of infection with HIV. Retrak reaches out to these children and, through game-based learning, empowers them to protect themselves.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Children living outside of the protection of a family were educated and empowered to protect their own health?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Uganda is home to one of the world’s harshest HIV/AIDS epidemics. Street children in Uganda are disconnected from the protection of their families and are at significant risk of exposure to HIV. Absent a cure, prevention is the mainstay in the fight against AIDS. Education and behavior change programs are among the most cost-effective health interventions, but street children do not have access to community- or school-based education programs.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Retrak will use soccer and other games as a vehicle to increase knowledge of HIV, reduce stigma and prevent new infections in street children. We will educate 420 children about the risks of HIV and how to prevent infection using soccer as the metaphor through which the lessons are communicated. The stigma associated with HIV will be lessened through facilitating open communication about HIV and establishing voluntary counseling and testing as a social norm. We will empower street children with the skills needed to adopt healthy behaviors. Most importantly, we will give children who feel worthless and completely isolated the motivation to plan their future away from the streets and to protect themselves from HIV.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

One of Kick 4 Life’s activities is the ‘Risk Field’. This is played with 4 cones along a line and signs reading ‘peer pressure’, ‘alcohol’, ‘many partners’ scattered between the cones. Each member of a team kicks the ball through the cones and if they hit a sign, they must do 2 push-ups as a consequence of that behavior. During the second round, it is not only the individual who has to pay for the risky behavior, but all the team (representing family and community) suffers the consequences. In the third round the whole group is penalized, representing the consequences of an individual’s behavior on the whole society. The message to protect oneself, and thereby protect the family, community and society, is powerfully reinforced.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We can reach 420 children with this project that will: 1.Build the capacity of Retrak to use games-based learning and the language and power of soccer as tools to educate youth about HIV; 2.Improve children’s health, education and development; 3.Provide children with a lesson that lasts a lifetime and saves lives, one that can be shared through peer learning with friends, family, and their future children; 4.Provide Voluntary Counseling and Testing to 420 children; 5.Help combat the HIV pandemic in Uganda by preventing new infections; 6.Provide children with a secure environment where they can forget the struggle of street life, play and learn, gain confidence, realize their potential, and begin building a future; 7.Allow Retrak to develop new ideas and working methods, via feedback from children, to better understand their needs and help other street children more effectively.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Retrak aims to spread the Kick 4 Life Program throughout its projects. In 2011 we replicated Kick 4 Life at Retrak Uganda, and in 2013 we trained three organizations in Ethiopia. We want to continue to offer Kick 4 Life to the children in these countries, as new children visit our centers and our programs on a regular basis. These children then carry this knowledge back with them to their homes and communities and the message is spread further. We aim to offer Kick 4 Life in all five of the countries that we work in (Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi and Kenya) in the next three years.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Retrak’s approach to ensuring financial sustainability is two-fold. First, we ensure that children move to sustainable independent family and community life with no ongoing reliance on Retrak, and second, we're building our capacity to raise support through sustainable long-term local and international partnerships. Since our founding in 1994 Retrak has built a solid base of on-going financial support in the US, Europe and Africa.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Retrak differentiates itself by supporting fulltime street children who live and work on the streets and are most at risk. They tend to be highly mobile and live in the shadows so as not to attract attention. This means that standard programs, such as feeding or learning programs, are unable to reach these highly marginalized children. We tailor our programs to meet the needs of those who may fall through the cracks of these larger mainstream programs. Our integrated approach and the emphasis we place on reintegration of children into family-based care and follow-up also make us unique.

Founding Story

Retrak began in response to the large numbers of street children that were playing in an informal weekly game of soccer in Kampala, Uganda. The “aha” moment came when the founders realized that sport provided the ideal, non-threatening, vehicle by which the children could rebuild their trust in adults and, with professional help, be given a chance to move away from the streets. Today Retrak works with street children in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. We also provide support to the families of the children in order to tackle the root causes of the problems that led them onto the streets in the first place.


The staff are part of Retrak Uganda’s professional staff team, including highly skilled teachers and social workers, that provide a broad range of services for street children in Kampala, including catch-up education, psycho-social counseling, reuniting them with their families and follow-up care. The staff that will engage with the children are trained social workers who use sport on a daily basis to engage with street children.
About You
About You
About Your Project
Organization Name


How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, DC, Washington

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Kampala

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, National government.

Primary Target Age Group

13 - 17.

Your role in Education


Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)


Intervention Focus


Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

One size fits all fits none: Students are disengaged and not being prepared for "real life."

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

Personal and Social Responsibility

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

Retrak will provide soccer-based HIV-prevention education to 420 highly vulnerable children and youth in the Kampala area, enabling them to change risky behaviors and make healthy decisions. Our soccer coaches will deliver four game-based activities per year at the two Retrak drop-in centers and at another local organization that works with vulnerable children. Additionally, we will take our program into the slums of Kampala on a quarterly basis to reach the children who are not yet part of Retrak’s programs. The games and activities will be for four hours a day for five days in the drop-in centers and for seven hours a day for five days in the slums. Movement games are paired with learning opportunities, enabling a child to have fun and get exercise while at the same time learning how to minimize his or her risk of exposure to HIV.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

Since its inception, Retrak has incorporated sports and play in its programs for highly vulnerable children. In December 2011, the effectiveness of these practices was confirmed at the US Global Health Initiative’s Evidence Summit on Protecting Children Outside of Family Care. One of the take-aways from this event was the large body of empirical evidence on the effectiveness of learning through play. Retrak remains committed to the belief that children, in particular those living outside of family care, have a right and a need to play, and it will remain a vital component of our work.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has a right to play. Street children are deprived of this right as they struggle just to survive. They're often highly traumatized and tend to have shorter attention spans than most children. We’ve found that by engaging in play, the children learn more and have greater levels of retention. Also, many children who have been on the streets for a long time lack the necessary literacy and numeracy skills to learn in a regular classroom setting, and using game-based learning tools is extremely effective.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

Retrak is supported by foundations, government entities, other NGOs and through public donations. The breakdown is as follows: Foundations 23%, NGOs 22%, Governments (including USAID's PEPFAR program and the UK Dept. for International Development) 8% and Pubic/Individual Donations 47%.

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

Retrak is a nonprofit organization whose vision is “a world where no child is forced to live on the streets”. We put children at the very heart of everything we do and are fearless and tenacious in defending and promoting their rights. Although we work to help families overcome poverty, we're not ourselves in the business of making money. Rather, for 20 years our model has successfully relied on sustainable support from diverse sources.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

There are an estimated 10,000 street children in Kampala. Last year Retrak reached 1,128 of them. We would use the $20,000 to leverage our impact by offering training of Kick4Life’s game-based learning methodology to other NGOs in Uganda and in the other African countries where we work.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

We create synergy by partnering with local NGOs in Uganda (e.g. Child Restoration Outreach in western Uganda, Dwelling Places for younger children) as well as with the Ugandan government's Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development. Ongoing partnerships with local health facilities like the Mildmay Center, an outpatient clinic for AIDS treatment, allow children under Retrak’s care to access medical care and Voluntary Counseling and Testing.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

Retrak’s previous entry in the Nutrients for All competition has enabled us to exchange information and ideas with other changeshop participants, including a Dutch organization that works in Africa and has advised us on engaging companies and scaling up our technical knowledge.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

1.Provide services that offer highly vulnerable children a viable alternative to life on the street across the globe.
2.Grow as a development organization, working with families and communities to prevent children coming to the street and support those returning home.
3.Through research and advocacy, change policy and practice in favor of highly vulnerable children.
4.Work through partners in both normal and emergency or disaster situations.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

Retrak employ a full-time Monitoring and Research Advisor who follows-up with all children in the program to measure longterm wellbeing. Our Evaluating Outcomes report (attached) shows that children who have gone through our program have increased access to education and overall wellbeing. However, re-entry to school remains a struggle for many as the education system is not well adapted to vulnerable street children's needs.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

1,001 to 10,000

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?


Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:


Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Games with Rules, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.

LEGO's Chief Financial Officer, John Goodwin, is a founding member of Retrak's Board of Trustees


Great idea - I particularly like the fact you have shared an example that enables us to visualise how the project works and how children interact with the topics you're focusing on.

Estou feliz em compartilhar com o mundo, porque há um monte de dúvidas sobre os cuidados de HIV-AIDS, mas agora eu tenho que acreditar que o milagre que eu receber pode ser útil para o mundo e vítimas de HIV AIDS. Meu nome é Angela Mane meu endereço de e-mail está [email protected] o herbalista que me curou é [email protected] Eu vivi com esta doença mortal por mais de um ano, o meu marido descobrimos que estávamos ambos HIV-positivo quando ele era resultado positivo. Tentamos de todas as maneiras de viver nossas vidas com drogas virais retro, apesar de esta coisa em nosso corpo que estávamos sempre infeliz, até que me deparei com este poderoso herbalista que jogou cura. No primeiro, ficamos céticos, mas meu marido insistiu em dar-lhe uma tentativa e pedir algumas das ervas enviados para nós, e algumas semanas após a conclusão do processo por causa deste herbalist ajuda, fomos para o check depois de tomar as ervas para algumas semanas, temos sido inundados com alegria que recebemos os resultados no hospital do nosso médico de família. A taxa de vírus no organismo dentro de algumas semanas havia caído, que foram completamente curados. O fitoterapeuta explicou que ele não publicou para o mundo, porque ele tinha sido rejeitado em 2011 pelo grupo de pesquisa internacional, pois utiliza um meio tradicional para tratar os pacientes. A coisa mais importante é para você ser curado, se você quer saber sobre este fitoterapeuta e-mail dele: [email protected] deseja.

Eu ainda sou chocar e surpreender este grande milagre que aconteceu na minha família, meu marido e eu tenho sido de diferentes doenças i foi testado HIV positivo no ano passado, outubro e meu marido era HIV negativo Fiquei tão surpreso porque ele estava mesmo doente naquele momento e que nos levam para o hospital, mas o médico confirmou que ele tinha problema renal. desde então temos vindo a gastar dinheiro em todo recebendo medicamentos do hospital diferente, eu estava procurando através da internet para ajudar quando eu vi um comentário de pessoas falando sobre como o Dr. Paul Emen ajudou a curar sua doença HIV e outras doenças, eu didn 't acreditar, mas eu só escolher dar tentar as ervas e entrei em contato com ele através deste e-mail ([email protected]) e foi-me dito o que fazer, embora o meu foi mais estressante do que a de meu marido diferentes ervas foi enviado para o tanto de nós. Para minha maior surpresa depois de mim e meu marido ir pacientemente através do tratamento como a instrução dada a nós por este homem chamado Emen e fomos para um exame médico e o resultado foi negativo e confirmou mais uma vez que o meu marido estamos perfeitamente bem, até mesmo a nossa médico estava confuso, ele disse que nunca tinha visto este tipo de milagre antes. Dr Paul Emen nós verdadeira aprecio um bom trabalho em nossa vida de e Deus irá abençoá-lo para o bom trabalho que está fazendo. você também entrar em contato com este grande e poderoso homem, se você tiver qualquer problema através de seu e-mail: [email protected]. você pode muito bem chamar-lhe 2348153930869.