The other day we went to the first session of a GRS intervention. GRS was starting a new 10-week curriculum at a school in Enkhamwini. It marked the first school to receive the new Generation SKILLZ curriculum in Zimbabwe and the GRS coaches were so pumped up. They had just finished a week-long training session and couldn’t wait to start working with the kids. I’ll post some pictures when I have a better internet connection (hopefully soon, but good connections are pretty hard to come by here). The Monitoring and Evaluation team came along to administer the standard GRS pre- and post-intervention surveys. The questionnaires gauge kids’ HIV/AIDS knowledge before and after the 10-week intervention to track learning outcomes and try to capture some information on behavior change. Ale and I had no idea what to expect when we arrived in the dusty school yard, but the teachers had gathered the entire school into two large classrooms.
In the first room, tons of kids were assembled and the energy in the room was incredible. The kids were so excited to start working with Grassroot Soccer and get outside for some energizers and other games. They were even more excited to see a few kiwhas. I introduced myself in (poorly pronounced) Ndebele and the first room full of 80 primary school kids FREAKED OUT. The kids were screaming. They thought it was hilarious and exciting to see a kiwha trying to speak Ndebele. (As a side note, I have spelled kiwha about 5 different ways in my blogs but we finally got the correct spelling from someone at work, so there it is. It’s an important word; we’ve even learned to answer to it, which is kind of sad.) After the intros we followed a huge caravan of coaches and kids from the school buildings out to the soccer field and the coaches split the kids into groups of less than 20 to begin their first week of the GRS Generation SKILLZ curriculum. Gen SKILLZ teaches these kids how to protect themselves and their loved ones from HIV and also sparks critical discussions about HIV and its drivers. This is what it’s all about!