The Love Shouldn’t Hurt campaign crusades into Manicaland this weekend, where it is partnering an annual sports tournament to bring both entertainment and the serious business of sexual and reproductive health services to the doorsteps of people in the eastern border city.
By Staff Reporter
Population Solutions for Health (PSH), which is behind the campaign, has this year partnered with organizers of the annual Mai Hondo youth memorial junior soccer tournament as part of its quest to use sports as a vehicle to promote anti-Gender Based Violence (GBV) messages.
The annual Mai Hondo youth memorial junior soccer tournament is in its seventh edition and draws boys’ and girls’ soccer teams from Mutare and other areas such Chhipinge, Rusape and Mutasa in Manicaland province, as well as participants from provinces such as Harare, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Mashonaland Central.
However, the tournament was rebranded to “Love Shouldn’t Hurt Mai Hondo Sports Tournament” after securing a partnership with PSH, one of the country’s most renowned service providers of sexual and reproductive health service providers.
The rebranding is also meant to cater for the broadening of the tournament, which sees the introduction of a netball competition for girls for the first time following the intervention of PSH.
Apart from adding the musical component that is set to draw multitudes, PSH will provide free cervical cancer screening, male circumcision and HIV testing and counselling during the two day extravaganza to be held at venues in Sakubva and Dangamvura suburbs.
We view the partnership with PSH as a match made in heaven,” said Blessing Mutsaka, an executive of the Mai Hondo Soccer Associates, a group of volunteers behind the tournament.
“People from low-income areas such as Sakubva and Dangamvura often lack ready access to life-saving services being brought to them by PSH through the tournament,” Mutsaka told The Health Times.
Working with artists such as Winky D, Freeman, Amara Brown, Sandra Ndebele and Holy Ten as well as a host of influencers, the Love Shouldn’t Hurt Campaign, funded by the Embassy of Sweden, has become a nationwide movement due to its wide reach through various media platforms.
Freman and high riding gospel musician Mambo Dhuterere are set to rock Mutare during this weekend’s tournament.
The campaign also uses sport to reach grassroots people and GBV hot-spots in both urban and rural areas, while face to face dialogues known as “Guy Talks” have empowered boys and men to speak out and call out GBV.
Other organisations participating at the event include SAYWHAT, a membership-based public health social movement.