Evaluation of the grassroots soccer club HIV/AIDS programme in Musina, South Africa
Background and Study Question: Adolescents are a high-risk group for HIV/AIDS infection and illness in South Africa. Despite substantial prevention efforts, high risk behaviour among adolescents continues. Several organisations have engaged in sports activities to reach out to adolescents and educate them in life-skills and HIV prevention. There is, however, very little published research on the effectiveness of such interventions. Grassroots Soccer (GRS) is one of the emerging organisations in the field of using sports for HIV prevention. Financed by De Beers’ corporate social responsibility initiative it operates in several South African mining communities. This study evaluates the HIV prevention programme in Musina, Limpopo Province run by GRS. The research focuses on the processes and the outcomes of the organisation’s activities to determine barriers and facilitators to implementation of the GRS activities and to measure changes in HIV-related knowledge, self efficacy, and attitude of the beneficiaries. Methods: A mixed-methods study design was used incorporating qualitative and quantitative approaches. The qualitative component of the study was based on key informant interviews and a document review. Qualitative interviews were analysed using a four-step systematic approach; documents were analysed by iterative reading. Quantitative data was collected by GRS through selfadministered pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Secondary data analysis was carried out using statistical software SPSS (Version 17.0). Results: The GRS programme managed to improve beneficiaries’ knowledge, attitude, and self-efficacy concerning HIV prevention. In doing that, GRS achieved its core objective. The increases, however, are modest and only significant for knowledge gain. Many beneficiaries did not increase their overall scores in the pre- and post-test questionnaire; the recognition of alcohol and drugs as risk factors for HIV/AIDS is relatively low. Furthermore, the programme operates in a difficult context with insufficient community involvement, constraint resources, and inadequate monitoring and evaluation. Volunteer retention is a major challenge, and there is a disjuncture between the GRS’ theoretical approach and the practical implementation in Musina. Although the programme is considered a success by key informants, these factors combined with a lack of support from GRS and De Beers pose challenges to the programme’s approach, its operations, and ultimately its sustainability. Conclusion and Recommendations: The GRS provides a promising approach to HIV prevention. The programme in Musina however falls behind the potential of the organisation and the needs of the community. It needs to be more locally integrated, receive additional resources, and have better monitoring and evaluation. Programme activities ought to move beyond knowledge transfer and be closer to the actual GRS approach based on Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory, focusing on 12 to 14 year-olds, and include income generating activities. Further research should focus on actual programme implementation, longer term follow-up of beneficiaries, and assess the impact of the programme.
Research report in partial fulfillment of the degree of MPH, Faculty of Health, University of the Witwatersrand
HIV/AIDS, Grassroots Soccer (GRS)