Kenyan youth uses football to teach family planning

Wednesday January 27 2016

Evans Odenyo, 24, second in white shirt, shortly after the plenary session where he spoke about how he uses football to teach family planning to his peers. PHOTO | EUNICE KILONZO | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

Evans Odenyo, 24, second in white shirt, shortly after the plenary session where he spoke about how he uses football to teach family planning to his peers. PHOTO | EUNICE KILONZO | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

By EUNICE KILONZO
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NUSA DUA, INDONESIA

A Kenyan youth has on Wednesday shared how he uses sports to teach his peers about reproductive health in Mathare Slums, Nairobi.

Evans Odenyo, 24, a football coach was one of the youth panellist in the Fourth International Conference on Family Planning in Nusa Dua, Indonesia.

Mr Odenyo said to the youthful audience: “If we find happiness in sports, imagine how better it will be if we included information, on reproductive health, specifically for the youth. It’s working in Mathare.”

Adding: “this is our unique strategy to create a safe space for youth to discuss family planning.”

The Bentoz United FC coach and a peer educator told the Nation in an earlier interview that youth are always seeking information on issues that affect them, from varied sources.

“Youth do not always have accurate information on reproductive health. They use the internet but it’s not always accurate. However, we ensure that they get it when they come for football training,” said Mr Odenyo.

He continued: “We have a game where participants dribble a football away from a cone labelled “sex without a condom” then we discuss why this is so.”

On Wednesday, he told the panel at the Nusa Dua Convention Centre that youth have a myriad of inquiries and once they give them information, they refer them to health facilities for follow up.

He said it was imperative that hospitals make their reproductive health services more youth friendly for his peers.

“They should be in such a way that you can get them whenever we need them, that they are friendly, they are interactive and not discriminatory,” he said.

“Health and sports can be integrated for social change, it is done in Kenya, it can be done elsewhere,” he concluded.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE

  • The fourth International Conference on Family Planning in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, began January 25 and ends on 28, 2016. The conference is held biannually.
  • It is co-hosted by the Gates Institute and the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia.
  • The conference will draw several researchers, program implementers, policymakers, advocates, youth leaders, media, and representatives of local and international organisations
  • The inaugural ICFP was held in 2009 in Kampala, Uganda. The next in 2011 was held in Dakar, Senegal, and the last one was in 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The fourth conference was slated for November 2015 in Indonesia but was postponed following volcano eruptions.