Africa Goal was first initiated during the 2006 World Cup and was replicated for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The project involves screenings of live soccer matches via satellite television which are combined with HIV awareness and prevention activities. For the 2010 World Cup, the organisers travelled with a fully equipped vehicle to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, and South Africa.
Every afternoon or evening throughout the duration of the 2010 World Cup, the organising team screened live 2010 World Cup games using a Digital Satellite Television and a projector, speakers, and a DC/AC inverter. Before every live game, the team screened HIV/AIDS awareness media supplied by UNAIDS and, when possible, by local non-governmental organisations. According to the organisers, the choice of videos screened take into account cultural sensitivities and therefore vary depending on the countries and the demographic structure of the audience.
While the educational videos were watched by all football fans, the largest sector of the football audience is people aged between 15 and 49, correlating with the age sector most severely affected by HIV/AIDS.
The Africa Goal project focuses mainly on HIV prevention including messages related to knowing one’s HIV status, safer sex practices, positive prevention, and anti-retroviral treatment as a component of prevention. With the majority of the audience not having seen live World Cup matches on a big screen before, organisers say that the occasion was a highly memorable one and that HIV information disseminated at the games will therefore more likely be remembered by the viewers.
Using a small portable satellite dish and a PVR decoder, every village and town from Kenya to South Africa was able to receive clear, live football coverage via the South African-based Multichoice Network's Digital Satellite Television (DSTV). Together with a laptop computer, audio speakers, a microphone, a specialized USB TV adapter, a digital projector, a retractable screen, and a DC/AC inverter, the car the team travelled with was transformed into a mobile football experience. The PVR decoder made it possible to rewind and record matches. If for some reason there was a technical hitch and the set-up took longer than expected, the team was able to use this feature so that they could still screen the full match. The inclusion of a microphone as part of the equipment was used for presentations and roadshows which were facilitated by local partners.
According to the organisers, a major development since the last tournament is the widespread availability of 3G/GPRS technology in Southern Africa. Together with the satellite phone, the team was able to update the web blog and upload short videos and photos from the field. Current Web 2.0 applications also allowed the public, including the local audiences watching the games, to participate in the online dialogue using text messages, voice, and video recordings.
The organisers state that a key component of the campaign was its documentation. The team travelled with two digital video recorders, several cameras, a laptop, a portable hard drive, and a satellite phone. Throughout the journey, the team documented, through still and moving images, the experience of each match day. In addition, portable media devices allowed for dynamic broadcasting from the audience of match reactions, HIV awareness messages, and anything else regarding the campaign that the viewers wanted to share with the world. The project’s website, using various Web 2.0 platforms, acted as the portal for this discussion and discourse. A travel-blog was updated and photos and video were uploaded to the site as the trip progressed. The team promoted the ideology of Africa Goal - using media to harness the popularity of a great sporting event as a means to addressing HIV - at two prominent African exhibitions. Prior to the World Cup 2010, the team exhibited at the Harare International Arts Festival and after the World Cup, a second exhibition was held in Grahamstown, South Africa. Both exhibitions were utilised to disseminate HIV information as well as to encourage artists to promote HIV awareness amongst their followers.
The Government of Canada and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), SAfAIDS, PSI Zimbabwe, Grassroots Soccer, UN-AIDS, Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), National Arts Festival (Grahamstown), staying-alive.org, Clinton Foundation, OneLove, Werder Bremen Football Club, and Family Health International.
Africa Goal website on March 24 2010.