STI and HIV education through movement games

Twelve experienced and aspiring coaches from the sports of fast pitch softball, basketball, volleyball and after school games are the latest crop of STOP HIV Community Coaches trained in the region.  The workshop delivered at the College of the Marshall Islands introduced these young Marshallese leaders to the basic principles of coaching.  With this grounding, the participants were motivated to utilise their creative flair to develop movement games for purposes of delivering STI and HIV education or age appropriate education to their athletes. 

The novelty of using games to learn was enthusiastically embraced by the 12, who spent Day 2 of the workshop developing their own games.  The inspiration to do this was drawn from their previous experiences of playing STOP HIV movement games on the first two days.  The movement games are based on the 3 pillars of FUN!, the promotion of sport skills and the identification of life skills which are linked to sexual health education.  Where the age group of the athletes is considered too young to engage in such education, other social and health topics are introduced - those that are age appropriate.  For example, this could mean delivering the games but forming the link to personal hygiene, such as taking showers, brushing teeth and self-grooming for those under 6 years of age.

According to the participants, they never realized how much fun could be had in learning.  They also added that the use of sports for creating awareness on such a sensitive topic was a very smart way to discuss serious health issues, such as increased rates of sexually transmitted infections.  The participants themselves were de-sensitized as they worked together to compile a list of local and slang words used for the different parts of the anatomy, including sexual activities.  It was discovered that like other parts of the globe, these terms are normally used in a derogatory manner, which added to the cultural, generational and religious gaps.

On the final day, the participants were assessed by co-facilitators, Amy Sasser and Cassidy Shoniber together with Margaret Eastgate.  A 3-month Action Plan is in the process of completion, where each trainee coach will plan, deliver and conduct self-reviews of their coaching sessions.  Depending on the readiness of the group, assessments for accreditation should be held before year end.

PHOTO 1: The 'snake'

PHOTO 2: Solving the 'knotty problem'

PHOTO 3: The 'egg relay'

PHOTO 4: The group of experienced and aspiring coaches with MINOC President and Secretary General and the Facilitation Team 


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