Alive and Kicking (AK) is the world’s only not-for-profit ball manufacturer. Through their centres they:
Make – manufacture sports balls, creating hundreds of ethical jobs across sub-Saharan Africa for adults facing economic and social disadvantage.
Play – give young people access to sport and donate sports balls around the world.
Live – enable thousands of young people to live happy and healthy lives by delivering vital health education through sport.
Alive and Kicking has a rich history of delivering effective health education programmes through their local partner network. Historically they have focussed on HIV and Malaria based education. However, youth mental health is a growing concern in Kenya. When Alive and Kicking conducted its own community consultation with 857 young people they found that 87% of respondents believed that mental health was a priority area not currently being addressed. Young women are impacted significantly more than young men and 82% of female AK participants identified key areas of concern as: sexual and reproductive health and rights (including HIV and Female Genital Mutilation), gender based violence, childhood trauma and educational achievement. Those with poor mental health are often ostracised by family and neighbours and excluded from public services.
This project will use Alive and Kicking’s award-winning, play-based methodology to reduce stigma and misinformation about the causes of poor mental health and improve young people’s knowledge, attitude and behaviour about this issue. This will lead to increased help-seeking behaviour, increased physical activity, better pathways into support services and improved overall emotional well-being both in schools and in the wider community.
Working in the rural counties surrounding Mount Kenya, the project will empower 25 young teachers from schools to deliver mental health education as part of their weekly physical education lessons and directly boost the mental wellbeing of 3,700 young people aged 11-18. All schools will be provided with specialist training, sports equipment and footballs.
The AK Mental Health Counsellor will then provide additional support to the community throughout the year. Thanks to learning from previous programmes, the Mental Health Counsellor has become a core element of the programme, offering professional support to both teachers and young people. They signpost to services but also offer immediate support when needed, especially in addressing the mental health issues highlighted in session discussions such as sexual reproductive health, gender based violence and childhood trauma.