Local photographer helps effort to combat HIV/AIDS in Kenya | VailDaily.com

Local photographer helps effort to combat HIV/AIDS in Kenya

Dan Davis
Special to the Daily
An inmate at the Kodiaga Prison in Kisumu, Keny,a participates in a program run by Tackle Africa that spreads HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through soccer.
Dan Davis | Special to the Daily |

EAGLE COUNTY — If there’s one thing that’s very apparent about the Vail Valley, it’s that it’s full of good people doing good things, both locally and internationally. I was glad to join that altruistic movement last fall by volunteering my time through Photographers Without Borders (www.photographerswithout borders.org) to provide photo and video assets to a Kenyan organization called Tackle Africa.

Tackle Africa (www.tackleafrica.org) uses the power and popularity of football (soccer here in the States) to provide HIV and AIDS education to young people. These media assets will be used to promote the organization’s goals of educating young people about the best practices to prevent the contraction of the virus.

After 24 hours of flights, layovers and delays, I reached Kisumu, Kenya, and was greeted by Tackle Africa coach Anton Sensky, a football enthusiast from London on hiatus from his job as a television sports producer. Sensky is channeling his passion for sports and using it to spread the message of HIV prevention to Kenya’s at-risk youth through football.

I hung on his coattails for the next 14 days as we bounced around Kisumu on the backs of boda bikes (moto taxis) to visit young adults on dirt pitches, premiere players in Kisumu’s top stadium and inmates inside Kodiaga Prison. The message was the same no matter the level of play: Coach the coaches to provide HIV and AIDS education to their players.

The highlight of the two weeks was when we attended a Tackle Africa football tournament in Mumias, Kenya. The tourney hosted eight teams of boys and eight teams of girls coached by Tackle Africa. During the tournament, free HIV and AIDS counseling and testing was offered to players and spectators. By the end of the day, 346 people had been tested.

After spending two weeks with coach Anton, I was once again reminded how a sport like football can transcend culture and language, and that a football pitch can be both a place where kids learn teamwork and discipline and a place to spread HIV and AIDS education through sport.

I would recommend Photographers Without Borders to any local photographer who is looking to use their skill to help bring awareness and understanding to the many medical, social and economical problems faced around the world.

Dan Davis lives in Edwards.

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