LFC forward, Sadio Mane, was on hand to help officially launch the new programme at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, where he attended a training session with coaches from Malawi and the LFC Foundation.
As part of a week-long visit by the Malawi team, Foundation coaches delivered an intensive training session to provide them with the essential skills needed to deliver a range of high-quality sports sessions with youngsters back in Malawi.
The Senegalese star is lending his support to the new programme after visiting the LSTM back in December to find out more about it.
In Malawi, the number of people living with HIV is one of the highest in the world and young people account for 50% of new infections and incidences are highest among 15-17-year olds.
Knowledge around prevention and transmission of disease is essential amongst young people who often have low levels of awareness and are therefore more likely to contract it or be living with it unknowingly.
The new joint project will deliver sports-based public engagement activities in Malawi to provide more youth-friendly platforms for young people to access a range of available health services and education about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Using the medium of football and the power of the LFC badge the programme will aim to engage with youngsters and in particular the hard to reach group of young males aged 14-22 who are least likely to access health education and services such as self-testing and treatment plans.
Andrea Cooper, Head of the LFC Foundation, commented: “This is such an exciting, progressive project for the LFC Foundation and we are delighted to be working alongside the very talented team at LSTM to deliver it.
“Using our joint expertise, we can work together to start to make a real difference in this important area and help to improve the health and life chances of young people in Malawi.”
LSTM’s Director, Professor Janet Hemingway CBE, added: “We are excited to be working with the LFC Foundation on this important project, which will provide new, youth-friendly platforms for engagement with health services. Football’s appeal is universal with the power to break down barriers and reduce the stigma associated with HIV testing. LSTM has a long history of addressing important global health issues, and working with a global brand’s charity, such as the LFC Foundation, will enable us to further impact the lives of people in vulnerable populations.”