BY CAMI EZENWA
Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI), a non-profit organisation is collaborating with ExxonMobil and ACT Foundation for a free Medical Outreach and football tournament in the Agege area of Lagos, later today,
The outreach which is utilising the convening power of football to mobilise communities towards malaria prevention and treatment practices, is to commemorate the 2019 World Malaria Day.
The event is scheduled for the Youth Sports Centre, Ile-Pako, Amoo, Agege, Lagos from 10am.
A release from Yedi indicates that the event which is in line with this year’s global theme – #ZeroMalariaStartsWithMe – through advocacy and community mobilisation, aims to reach up to 1,000 residents of Agege with free medical and health education services amidst a ‘Kick-Against-Malaria’ football tournament.
The event will feature services like malaria, blood pressure, blood sugar and Hepatitis B tests, HIV/AIDS tests and counselling, medical consults, pharmacy service, distribution of Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) with usage demonstrations.
There would also be distribution of information on global best practices on Malaria.
Aside global energy giant – ExxonMobil, another backer of this year’s event is Access-Bank-supported Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, with media support from Eko FM and Radio Lagos.
YEDI, as a youth-focused grassroots organisation, believes that adolescents and community members can take a leading role in preventing malaria at the home and community level.
The organisation’s malaria work uses football-based themes and activities to improve knowledge about malaria prevention methods.
It also helps in tackling gaps in knowledge and common myths and misconceptions, while exploring the avenue of outreach to distribute bed nets, and increase uptake of treatment and adherence to medication to prevent drug resistance.
Established in 2011, YEDI says its programmes have benefitted over 180,000 young people across four project locations in the FCT, Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Ogun.
“The YEDI model trains young adult mentors as community change agents to implement age-appropriate and gender-sensitive curricula that combine football metaphors and activities with high impact health information that engage youth and break down cultural barriers”, a release from the organisation says.
It added: “YEDI runs these programmes through fixed and outreach sites, which operate as safe spaces for young people 10-24 years old to access engaging sport-based activities as well as health and social services across the adolescent continuum of care”.
It says that to deliver on this strategy, YEDI harnesses a multi-sectoral ecosystem of government and social services, layering health, education, sport, youth development, economic empowerment, and child protection.
“Recognising the need for YEDI programmes to reach the most vulnerable Nigerian youth at risk of HIV, violence, and other adverse health outcomes, since 2017 YEDI has intentionally targeted the most vulnerable youth in the communities it works – including out-of-school youth (2,035 reached in 2018 alone) and street children.
“YEDI brings deep experience in adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH), orphans and vulnerable children & youth (OVCY) programming, combination HIV prevention, gender-based violence (GBV) prevention, malaria prevention, positive youth development, and community mobilisation”, the release added.