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Embassy partners Zim footballers to fight HIV/AIDS in sports and
May 19, 2011
The United States
Embassy, through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief (PEPFAR), today announced it will give a $60,000 grant to
support a new partnership between the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe
(FUZ) and Population
Services International - Zimbabwe (PSI-Zim) to prevent the spread
of HIV/AIDS targeted at the union's membership, football fans
and young people.
pleased to support this partnership whose focus is the young people
of Zimbabwe. They are the future - both the future of our
societies and the future of the disease," said Charles Ray,
U.S. Ambassador at program launch ceremony held at Motor Action
Sports Club in Harare.
The PEPFAR grant
will enable FUZ, with technical support from PSI-Zim, to conduct
HIV/AIDS education programs for its 600 members, who include professional
players and coaches from 16 soccer teams in Zimbabwe's top
football leagues. Through the program, the footballers will learn
how to take care of themselves and their families as well as share
this knowledge with their fans, many of whom are boys and young
of the pitch can become lifestyle heroes as well. We are all able
to make some contribution, big or small, to improve lives and to
prevent the spread of this deadly disease. Your contributions have
the potential to be critical and to save lives," said Ambassador
FUZ is composed
of more than 1,000 retired and current professional Zimbabwean football
players, youth players and coaches. Desmond Maringwa of Dynamos
Football Club is the current president of the Footballers Union
of Zimbabwe. Maringwa, together with several Zimbabwean celebrities,
joined the U.S. Ambassador on December 1, 2010 (World AIDS Day)
at a PSI testing centre to encourage Zimbabwean youth to get tested
for HIV. This new initiative is a result of that successful collaboration
and seeks to spread HIV prevention messages to the 65% of Zimbabwe's
population under the age of 30.
PEPFAR was launched
in 2003 as a five- year global pledge to fight HIV/AIDS. In 2008,
PEPFAR was renewed for another 5 years. This year, the U.S. government,
through PEPFAR, is providing more than $57 million in the fight
against HIV in Zimbabwe.
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