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Game Enables People to Speak Openly

Located in Mbeya, Tanzania, HOPE provides services for orphans and people with HIV.  It has used Game for the World for almost two years!  Alan, Adam, Uswege and I met  with HOPE’s program coordinator, Moosa Sinwenga, and learned that HOPE has 225 people who are receiving home-based care and 167 orphans who live in foster homes and receive tuition assistance, uniforms and lunch at school.

Uswege, Anne & Moosa

Uswege, Anne & Moosa

Street kids come to the center and play Game for the World with the orphans. Moosa says that the Game has increased their level of awareness and given them confidence to talk about HIV/AIDS.

An HIV support group meets weekly and plays Game for the World before their meetings. Adam and Uswege introduced the Game to HOPE in August 2011 and were moved by how the Game enabled people to talk openly about their status and the impact it has on their lives.  Moosa says that the Game enables people to speak up and find solutions to their problems. “The Game helps them feel ‘normal’ and ‘at home’ with their status, rather than alone, isolated and stigmatized.” HOPE has requested that we supply them with 300 copies of the Game so that they can continue using it in their center , with Sunday school youth and in Sunday school staff workshops all over Tanzania.

Our work in Tanzania is supported by a grant from the Zuckerman Community Outreach Foundation in Tucson, Arizona and by the generosity of family and friends. If you want to help us give HOPE some hope, please consider a donation at our web site, www.gamefortheworld.com.

HOPE's door

HOPE’s door

May 23, 2013

Game for the World Develops Student Leaders in Tanzania

 

After a long drive to Mbeya, near the border of Zambia and Malawi, Alan, Adam,Uswege and I visited Itende secondary school. Game for the World has been played in the school since August 2011, when Adam and Uswege tested the Game’s efficacy in a study. The study proved that the Game increased students’ knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the results were verified by the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health.

 

Girl Power!

Girl Power!

Second Master, Mwalimu Mwasenga, says that the Game is making a difference in their community. “Our students’ confidence and debating skills have increased, as well as their ability to answer biology questions. The Game has given our school a good reputation because students from Itende visit other schools to teach them how to play the Game”, says Mwalimu. “The Game has made a difference in many ways, including improving our students’ skills in communication, comprehension, critical thinking and problem- solving. It’s helping to develop our future leaders!”

Second Master Mwalimu Mwasenga with Adam & Uswege

Second Master Mwalimu Mwasenga with Adam & Uswege

The peer educators we met were trained by students Adam and Uswege trained – it was great to see how students were empowered by other students!  They are proud of the calendar that was created for their school, with photos of students playing the Game and HIV/AIDS learning points.

Boy power!

Boy power!

Itende students are passionate about the Game and told us that they like it because they’ve learned how HIV is spread and are confident to teach others about it.  Their club plays the Game once a week and teaches others to play. Students take the Game home to play with their families and their community. Adrian Samson,  chair of Itende Game for the World Club says “The Game encourages us to know our HIV status, to wear condoms and to be faithful. We’ve learned how to care for people with HIV and not to isolate them.”

Uswege and Second Master Mwasenga with Itende students and Anne

Uswege and Second Master Mwasenga with Itende students and Anne

We had a great discussion about where the Game could be played – the students want to play it in public places such as markets and exhibitions. They see the Game as a tool that can impact their community; they want to play it with soldiers, policemen and prisoners.

The students have creative ideas about how to enhance the Game. We encouraged them to create some cartoons and pamphlets, as well as an ID card they could carry when they visit other schools, so that they are recognized as peer educators.

"Capture the day"!

“Capture the day”!

Our work in Tanzania is supported by a grant from the Zuckerman Community Outreach Foundation in Tucson, Arizona and by the generosity of family and friends. If you want to make a difference in the lives of young Tanzanians, please consider a donation at our web site: www.gamefortheworld.com.

 

 

May 9, 2013

1,000 Games Needed for Tanzanian Education Program

After spending the night in Morogoro, Alan, Uswege, Adam, and I drove south to Iringa through Mikumi National Park. What a treat to see giraffe, baboon, impala, and zebra on our journey.

Iringa is a busy town in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Nearby, tea, tobacco, maize, vegetables, and fruit are grown. The town also has the highest rate of HIV infection in Tanzania.

In Iringa, we met with the staff of Restless Development, a U.K.-based agency using Game for the World to help young Tanzanians make responsible choices about their sexual and reproductive health. Frank Harle, Senior Manager Programmes, called the Game “a good fit for Restless Development” and said he’s impressed with how engaging it is, especially for young girls.

 Restless Dev wheel cover

Program Coordinator Meshack Mulokozi referred to it as a “fantastic tool” for their work with 48 schools. Meshack told us Restless Development plans to use the Game in information resource centers, staff workshops, and volunteer training sessions. On the wish list is 1,000 Games. That’s how many are needed for Restless Development’s community work!

Rachel Kabwe, a John Hopkins intern, added her enthusiasm. Rachel manages Restless Development’s behavior change programs in local schools where students play the Game. She told us, “Game for World helps us attract many youth to participate in our programs. The Game makes it easy for young people to share their experiences in a friendly way and changes their attitude and behavior toward HIV/AIDS. Game for the World is the easiest way to teach young people about HIV/AIDS.”

Anne, Uswege and Adam with Restless Development staff

Uswege, Adam, Anne, Rachel and Meshack with Restless Development staff

That evening, we met with two university students—Innocent Felix, a Restless Development volunteer, and Elias Charles, a volunteer with Dance 4 Life, a Restless Development partner. Innocent and Elias attend the University of Dar Es Salaam where they formed a club to play the Game with fellow students. How inspiring to see their commitment to making a difference in the lives of Tanzanian youth! In fact, Elias is so passionate about the Game, he created a version of it on a piece of wood.

Ignus, Charles, Anne, Alan and Innocent

Adam, Ignus, Charles, Anne, Alan, Innocent and Uswege

We also met with Ignus Kalongola, former Dance4 Life coordinator and RD program coordinator. Ignus also called the Game a great tool to educate and activate students to push back the spread of HIV in the community. Ignus believes it could be integrated into the Tanzanian school curriculum. Its value to schools? It enables young people to feel comfortable talking about HIV/AIDS and make informed decisions. It would be amazing to have the Game be part of the curriculum!

Our work in Tanzania is supported by a grant from the Zuckerman Community Outreach Foundation in Tucson, Arizona, and by the generosity of family and friends. If you want to make a difference in the lives of young Tanzanians, please consider making a donation at our web site www.gamefortheworld.com.

What can your donation do? Help us provide the 1,000 games needed by Restless Development for its community work in Tanzania.

April 10, 2013

African Medical Research Foundation Uses Game for the World to Support Its Program in Tanzania

Alan and I flew from Johannesburg to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where we were met at the airport by two of of our Game for the World ambassadors, Uswege Mwakapango and Adam Rubin. Uswege has been tireless in introducing the Game to organizations and schools, training staff and student peer educators throughout Tanzania. Adam had just flown in from the U.S. to help us expand the use of Game for the World.

We were met at the hotel by a Masai who took my bag and gave me his walking stick, a great honor. Barefoot and in traditional dress, he flew up the stairs with our heavy suitcases, containing 100 copies of the Game. There was no way we could even trudge up the stairs with them, let alone run!

Uswege, Anne, Alan & Masai

Uswege, Anne, Alan & Masai

We arranged for a car and driver for the week to drive us to organizations and schools which are using Game for the World throughout Tanzania. The morning after we arrived, we left at 5:30 a.m. to drive 500 km to Kikunde Secondary School, in the Tanga Region. Kikunde is one of 41 schools using the Game in a program which AMREF, the African Medical and Research Foundation is administering. AMREF’s Sexual and Reproductive Health  Education Officer, George Saiteu, drove with us to Kikunde.

AMREF has worked in Tanzania since 1957 when the Flying Doctors provided specialist medical services in remote hospitals.  We’re excited to be working with this foundation. It uses the Game to support its work reducing the stigma surrounding HIV, encouraging people to have HIV tests and decreasing the rate of infection.

AMREF's Land Cruiser took us over the last leg of rough roads to Kikunde School.

AMREF’s Land Cruiser took us over the last leg of rough roads to Kikunde School.

We drove on bumpy, corrugated roads through beautiful countryside and villages.  Eleven hours later, we arrived at Kikunde School and met the headmaster, Mbaraka Bwembwe and Rahalis Francis, a teacher, who introduced us to her students. It was the first time I had watched  the new Swahili translation of the Game being played. How great to see it working well! The students were clearly  confident in using the Game and proud to know the answers to the factual questions. I was especially moved to hear a student say she became a peer educator because she could see how she could help people dying of AIDS in her community.

Kikunde peer educators with teacher Rahalis Francis.

Kikunde peer educators with teacher Rahalis Francis.

Rahalis told us  the Game  makes a difference in how effectively she can teach. Her students’ awareness about HIV/AIDS has increased and they’re looking forward to teaching their fellow students how to play. In fact, the Game’s  effectiveness has been proven by testing 82 primary and secondary students’ knowledge about HIV/AIDS before and after they play: average scores have been 51% before playing the Game and 79% after!

At the end of our week, we met again with George Saiteu and with Henerico Ernest, AMREF’s area manager to discuss AMREF’s education programs and its need for Game for the World. Henerico said AMREF  regards the Game as an effective tool to teach young people about HIV/AIDS. In fact, he told us AMREF  need 93 more Games to use in their school program.

We’re excited to know how much AMREF values the Game. Our next step? We’re researching how it can be produced in Tanzania and  how we can raise funds to accomplish this.

Our work in Tanzania is supported by a grant from the Zuckerman Community Outreach Foundation in Tucson,  Arizona and by the generosity of family and friends. If you want to make a difference in the lives of young Tanzanians, please consider a donation at our web site, www.gamefortheworld.com.

Back row: Adam Rubin, George Saiteu, Rahalis Francis, 3 peer educators, Anne, Mbaraka Bwembwe, Uswege Mwakapango. Front row: 4 peer educators

Back row: Adam Rubin, George Saiteu, Rahalis Francis, 3 peer educators, Anne, Mbaraka Bwembwe, Uswege Mwakapango.
Front row: 4 peer educators

March 11, 2013

Game for the World Meeting at Emseni Methodist Retreat Center

The drive from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein and Bethlehem is long.  Alan and I were relieved and grateful to learn that we could meet the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s HIV/AIDS coordinators from those areas at Emseni, a beautiful Methodist retreat center outside of Johannesburg in Benoni.  We met with Rev. Sethulego Mosiako, the HIV/AIDS coordinator for the Kimberley, Namibia and Bloemfontein District and with Judy Makhubu, the HIV/AIDS coordinator for the Northern Free State and Lesotho. The Northern Free State and Lesotho are mainly rural. Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa. About 40% of Lesotho’s population of 2,067,000 live below the international poverty line of $1.25/day. Poverty and HIV/AIDS are often partners. Lesotho is severely afflicted by HIV/AIDS; in urban areas, about 50% of women under 40 have HIV.

It was a beautiful Friday evening when we met Sethulego and Judy. We initially started playing Game for the World outside on a table, then moved inside to have better light.  Sethulego and Judy had been in meetings since 6:30 am, and we were grateful that they still had the energy and attention needed to learn about the game and to play it. One of the gifts of the game is that it enables strangers to get to know one another quickly. We were laughing with and enjoying one another soon after we met.

When we told them that the game is being translated by the Church’s coordinators into a number of different Southern African languages, Sethulego told us he would like the games in Tswana, Sotho and Zulu and Judy said she wanted them in Sotho. Judy is the head of a childcare center and started a non-profit training center for pre-school teachers. She wants to use Game for the World with her teachers, HIV/AIDS coordinators and youth. Sethulego plans to use the game at a ministers’ retreat and with his congregation and youth groups. I’m looking forward to their feedback!

Anne, Judy Makhubu & Rev Sethulego Mosiako

Anne, Judy Makhubu & Rev Sethulego Mosiako

 

March 4, 2013

Game for the World in Namibia

Alan and I flew from Johannesburg to Windhoek, Namibia and met with Rudolph Rittman,  the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s Namibian representative. We had never been to Namibia and were looking forward to meeting Rudolph, as well as Alan’s daughter, Tish Hanekom, a Church of England missionary in northern Namibia.

Namibia is west of South Africa and shares borders with it, Angola, Zambia and Botswana. Approximately half of  its population of 2.1 million people live below the international poverty line. Namibia has suffered heavily from the effects of HIV/AIDS, close to 17 per cent of children under the age of 18 are orphaned by at least one parent, mostly due to HIV. Tish and Rudolph have experienced the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS in their communities, with the loss of friends and colleagues.

Tish picked us up at the airport and drove us to meet Rudolph at the Central Methodist Church in  Windhoek. Though we didn’t have  much time, we were able to play Game for the World outside in the shade. Rudolph emailed me later to say that he gave a report on the game to his leaders meeting, where the Bishop was present. He planned to give a presentation on it to the quarterly meeting that weekend and to use it with the confirmation class, youth groups, society stewards, preachers and women’s groups.

We’re excited about the possibility of Game for the World making a difference in the lives of Namibians!

CIMG3429

March 2, 2013

Game for the World Played at Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s Youth Conference

It was an honor to be invited by Rev Luxolo Mantini to present a workshop on Game for the World at the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s Youth Ministries Connexional Conference, held in Magalies Retreat, 100km from Johannesburg. As we drove up a dirt road to the conference, we saw a graceful giraffe – our first sign of wildlife in South Africa!  The Retreat is set in a game reserve, right against the Magliesburg mountains.

It was great to reconnect with some of the people we had met on our road trip from Cape Town to Johannesburg: Rev Kamogelo Monoametsi from the Grahamstown District, Msimelo Qumntu and Annelisa Jaji from the Queenstown District and Rev Mbuso Kubone from Natal West. A lovely surprise was seeing Moagi Sekejewane, the former Connexional youth coordinator.  Everyone made us feel immediately welcome, with lots of laughs and photographs.

We had a lively session with the youth ministry team; 42 of them played the game at 7 tables. It was an effective way for the group to talk deeply about HIV/AIDS in a safe environment, within minutes of starting to play the game. We donated 8 copies of the game to each district youth coordinator, and wish we had copies for each participant, as everyone wanted to know how they could have one.

We told the group that it isn’t sustainable to bring the games over from the U.S., and that ideally, they should be made in South Africa, if the church can find a sponsor or some funding to produce them locally.

We are very grateful to the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund which provided a grant for us to supply Game for the World to Youth Coordinators and HIV/AIDS Coordinators with the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. The Fund supports education, prevention and care programs for people living with HIV and AIDS around the world. It currently supports over 200 HIV/AIDS church oriented and Christ- centered ministries in 37 countries, including the United States.

February 17, 2013

Game for the World in South Africa’s Central District

We met Rev Vuyelwa Legwale at her church, Bryanston Methodist in Johannesburg. Vuyelwa is the HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Central District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Her district is located in 3 provinces: Gauteng, Northwest and the Northern Cape. It serves the affluent and the poor in the cities, suburbia, rural and informal settlements. Its ministry ranges from pre-schools, feeding schemes, prison programs, assistance to refugees and unaccompanied minors, literacy and skills development programs.

Vuyelwa’s church initiated counseling courses and support groups in Diepsloot, an informal settlement north of Johannesburg, where unemployment and poverty are rife.  Many people in Diepsloot live in shacks assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard. Some families lack access to basic services such as running water, sewage and rubbish removal. Bryanston Methodist is making a difference in the lives of Diepsloot residents impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing food parcels, home-based care and assistance with medical referrals and transport.

The Methodist Church is active in community outreach in many areas, including Pimville, Soweto and in Meadowlands, where youth groups are involved in care-giving and orphan support.

Vuyelwa played Game for the World with Alan and me and answered the question “What animal do you think HIV/AIDS would be if it were an animal?” with an unforgettable reply. She said it would be a dog, “because it can either scare and bite you, or it can be your friend. We can be scared by it and run away, not wanting to know our status and not taking medication, or we can make it our friend and live a long life by knowing our status and taking care of our health.”

Vuyelwa believes young people remember what they learn through games and sees the Game being used with youth groups in her district.

Vuyelwa Legwale and Anne

 

February 17, 2013

Game for the World in Alberton, South Africa

Alan and I drove to the city of Alberton, a short drive south of Johannesburg to meet Dr. Vernon Van Wyk, HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Highveld and Swaziland District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.  It’s a diverse district, rich in perspectives and approaches. Education is high on its agenda, with 47 schools, mostly in Swaziland. AMCARE is one of its flagship programs. There are four other registered HIV/AIDS projects in the District.

We met Vernon and his staff on the AMCARE premises. AMCARE was established by the Alberton Methodist Church as a community outreach program, with 8 social workers and 30 home-based care-givers.   AMCARE feeds approximately 3,000 people a week.  It feeds and nurses over 350 HIV & AIDS patients, and cares for some 350 orphans and child-headed families.  The HIV Voluntary Counseling, Testing and Wellness Clinic has 2 registered nurses and 3 full-time counselors and locum doctors. Twice a week, AMCARE supplies about 400 litres of soup and 800 loaves of bread to 5 clinics and 240 children at 2 schools. Facilities also include a fully equipped training center, which accommodates up to 60 people and 3 large vegetable gardens to provide patients with fresh vegetables in food parcels. AMCARE also has a Victim Empowerment Shelter in Alberton which houses up to 20 abused women and children, and provides social work and early childhood development services.

We had the privilege of meeting and playing Game for the World with four of AMCARE’s Social Work staff, who said that they could see the Game being used by their Victim Empowerment program, their adult support groups, youth, care- givers and staff.

Vernon is also the Warden of the Methodist Order of Deacons and oversees the training of deacons throughout the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. He says that deacons are service-oriented and build bridges between churches and communities. Vernon plans to use the Game in a week-long training program for deacons in April.

Vernon and his staff are shown below, along with AMCARE’s facilities.

February 16, 2013

Game for the World in the Limpopo District, South Africa

Alan and I had an adventure driving to eMalahleni to meet with Lerato Nombula, HIV/AIDS Coordinator for the Limpopo District of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. It took us 40 minutes just to get on the right highway and then we depended on the kindness of strangers and Lerato’s patience to guide us to the church where we met her. We’re constantly impressed with the courtesy and helpfulness of South Africans!

Emalaheni is 150 km east of Johannesburg in a coal mining district. The Limpopo District is a network of 40 circuits, including five in Botswana. Pretoria is the southern urban hub, with the town of Maun in Botswana on its northern side. It’s the only district that includes communities that represent all  11 official languages in South Africa.

With an honors degree in Psychology, Lerato is passionate about making a difference in her community. She’s a minister’s wife and is experienced in counseling and motivational speaking. She’s worked with children from broken homes and has given HIV/AIDS talks to children who are awaiting trial for serious crimes. Lerato believes ministers’ wives are key people for promoting HIV/AIDS education.

Lerato is also the provincial coordinator for the Global Fund projects in Mpumalanga province. These projects provide care and support to families which are affected by AIDS, TB and Malaria.  She has been an HIV/AIDS coordinator with the MCSA for a year and has organized workshops on HIV and HIV testing at churches.  Lerato says “Even those who have knowledge of HIV need a safe environment to talk about it.”   She believes the game could provide a safe vehicle for youth to talk about HIV.

February 15, 2013

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