SDP and health


Authored by: Pete Beeley , Ben Sanders , Chris Barkley

Routledge Handbook of Sport for Development and Peace

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138210486
eBook ISBN: 9781315455174
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the evolution of a sport-based approach to tackling the HIV and AIDS epidemic, in the context of various social complexities and shifting priorities within the wider adolescent health field. The focus is on the work of Grassroot Soccer, an NGO working mainly in southern Africa, and explores the organization’s shift from sport-based HIV prevention to a broader concern with adolescent health promotion. This shift reflects the changing dynamics in adolescent health, driven by changing donor priorities, a greater understanding of what works, and an acknowledgement that HIV is one of many interconnected health challenges faced by adolescents. Grassroot Soccer has responded by providing more holistic programming to meet the broader care needs of young people. This has included a greater emphasis on facilitating access and adherence to services, along with pursuing behaviour change and improving knowledge and attitudes. The organization’s core principles and approaches, such as the use of peer mentors and play-based learning, have remained consistently effective. This illustrates the potential for such approaches to be replicated in different contexts to address a range of developmental issues facing young people. The insights generated prove useful for the sport for development sector, and can inform efforts to promote adolescent health and positive youth development.

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