Football team lifting trophy

Webinar: Transforming HIV and SRHR in prison populations in Africa through the power of football and volunteering

Tuesday 6 June, 11:00 (BST), 12:00 (CAT).

VSO and Tackle are using the power and popularity of football to deliver HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) information and services to prison populations throughout southern Africa. Watch the webinar recording to find out how this innovative project is transforming the lives of prisoners.

Football pitch

Prison populations have high rates of HIV, poorer mental health and complex vulnerabilities, which may impact their attitudes and behaviours related to sexual health, HIV, gender-based violence and gender equality.

For decades the global health community have strived to find cost effective social behaviour change interventions that can instil positive values on gender and health, especially amongst amongst men and boys and marginalised groups. In this project, we harnessed the power of football, together with VSO’s Volunteering for Development (VfD) methodology, to explore issues of HIV, sexual health, mental wellbeing and gender-based violence.

Football provides a platform for regular sexual health education with a respected and informed coach and creates a safe space for young people to discuss sensitive issues, whilst building life skills and getting fit.

A recent evaluation showed remarkable impacts on inmates’ attitudes and practices related to health and gender equality, but also improved wellbeing and reduced recidivism. Being part of the VfD programme has led to sustainable impacts, and former inmates and prison officers have continued the approach in their communities.  

Watch the recording to find out more about how this innovative project has transformed the lives of prisoners through volunteering and the power of football. 

Watch the recording

Download the Tackle webinar slide deck

Hear first hand from inmates in Zimbabwe how the programme has impacted their lives

Tackle logo

About Tackle

Tackle (formally Tackle Africa) was founded in May 2002 by a group of young people from the UK who had all lived or worked in Africa at some point in their lives. They recognised the potential of football as a means of bringing people together and providing a platform from which to convey hugely important messages about HIV and AIDS.

Learn more on the Tackle website

So far we have achieved...


98% of inmates participated with 22% reporting an improved knowledge of attitudes towards HIV and how to access services.


94% acquired positive beliefs about SGBV, with 54.4% accessing SRHR services as a result.


76.5% took an HIV test with participants also experiencing better mental and reduced re-offending.


In this webinar, project partners and participants came together to share the results, and direct experience of the potential to use football to transform social attitudes around sexual health and HIV. We heard from the programme staff, prison officers, football coaches and inmates on how the project has impacted their lives. The panel of speakers included: 

  • Charlie Gamble, CEO of Tackle 

  • Polly Walker, Global Technical lead, Health, VSO 

  • Jed Haney, Regional Programme Manager, Tackle    

  • Simba Guzha, VSO Project Manager 

  • Tafadzwa Sekesu, SANOP Project Manager 

  • Teclah Ponde, VSO Projects Implementation Lead

  • Zimbabwe Prison Correction Services Director 

We also heard directly from football coaches via pitch-side live stream in Zambia and listened to the testimonies of current and former inmates from Zimbabwe.

This programme was supported by: UKAID, BT Sports Supporters Club and Comic Relief and implemented by VSO and Tackle.