After an upsurge in pediatric enrollment at the clinic, the FACES Children’s Club was launched in August 2006 in Kisumu. The club examines and addresses the psychosocial effects of HIV infected and exposed children. The club also works toward identifying resources for other necessary support and services. The Children’s Club is managed by Community and Clinical Health Assistants (CCHA) and the Nursing department. Staff have been trained as child counselors to help facilitate the club, which meets one Saturday morning a month. Children are engaged in a variety of enriching activities to promote self expression and enhance well being. The activities are centered on fun and include poetry, singing, story-telling, games, art, discussions, dancing, and play time. Meanwhile, parents and guardians meet separately to discuss children’s issues.
FACES and Sunburst Projects have collaborated to offer therapeutic programming to children living with HIV. FACES recruited, interviewed and hired Peer Leaders — young people affected by HIV who are passionate about working with youth. A two-week training course run by Sunburst Projects prepared the Peer Leaders to run support groups and therapeutic recreation programming for young people living with HIV/AIDS. Their training included sessions on Non-Violent Communication, Public Speaking, Computer Skills, and HIV/AIDS Education including detailed workshops on risk behavior and medication adherence.
Peer Leaders work closely with trained adult supervisors to implement year-round youth programs at three clinic sites. The programs include weekly support groups for children, therapeutic recreational activities throughout the year, as well as a community outreach and an education component.
FACES is using football to involve youth and young adults in HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities in Kisumu. FACES has joined the Kicking AIDS Out! Network, a peer-driven program that engages thousands of youth across the African continent. The program allows young people to explore serious and sensitive issues in an environment where they feel comfortable.
A complement to education on the field and in support groups is Extra Time, a youth peer education workbook on HIV/AIDS prevention and care developed by Sports For Life (SFL). The workbook is designed to look and feel like a football magazine. Extra Time focuses on four key messages: abstain, protect, teach and care. The workbook features many of the world’s top soccer stars imparting empowering messages about healthy lifestyles. Along with the athletes’ photos, the workbook features activities related to HIV/AIDS prevention that young people do at home, in class, and with their peers.