Farewell to WhizzKids United
posted by Paul Kelly on 16 September 2011
Team photo
Team photo

There are not many organisations where your last day on the job can be spent watching talented students present their creative marketing and branding ideas for your organisation. 

Luckily, for the last three years, I have worked at WhizzKids United (WKU), an organisation where these experiences are made possible all the time.  Today, I saw glimpses of the creativity that has taken us this far, and will continue to drive us forward.  It made me very proud and happy.

Over the last two weeks I have had the chance to come to terms with leaving WKU, an organisation I have grown to love and through which I have grown personally and professionally.  It has not been easy, but I have so much to be thankful for.

I feel proud to have been part of a small and committed team that has grown from less than five people three years ago to over 20 today.   I have been given opportunities and responsibilities that I could not have received anywhere else. Most importantly, I have been given the chance to positively impact the lives of young children.  For all of this, I am truly grateful.

To everyone who has contributed to WKU; from volunteers, office and field staff to partners and supporters all over the world, I want to say thank you.  Many of you have become close friends and I hope to stay in touch. 

I know that WKU will continue to change, adapt and grow; and provide the best possible services to young people in South Africa.   WKU will always be in my heart, and I hope to remain closely involved in the future.

Leaving the office today, I leave you with feedback that I just read from a 12-year-old boy who recently completed the Life Skills Programme, "No-one is better than WhizzKids. I love WhizzKids."

 

SA AIDS Conference and Programming Updates
posted by Paul Kelly on 30 June 2011
Tom presenting Mixed Gender League poster at SA AIDS Conference
Tom presenting Mixed Gender League poster at SA AIDS Conference

Marcus, Tom, Gugu and I were privileged to receive scholarships to attend the South African AIDS Conference held earlier in the month.  Tom also presented a poster about the Mixed Gender Football League, a project in which 62 out of 64 participants accessed HIV Counselling and Testing and sexual health risk assessment services at the WhizzKids United Health Academy.

At the conference it was interesting to see adolescent-focused centres of sexual health services and psychosocial support, like our WKU Health Academy, are becoming an increasing priority at the national level. In other areas where there is not a Health Academy, WhizzKids United is building capacity at local clinics by training health care professionals to provide adolescent friendly services.

Going forward we hope to integrate our school-based Life Skills and Peer Education programmes more and more with local clinics. In addition, we are planning next year to roll our successful Mixed Gender Football League model at all the schools where we work. Each new programme which we run is now focused on providing that very crucial link between school-based Life Skills and Football Programmes and access to adoescent-friendly health and counselling services.

IOC Conference of Sport, Education and Culture and feedback from children in Jozini
posted by Paul Kelly on 8 December 2010
Life Skills Programme in Jozini
Life Skills Programme in Jozini

On Monday and Tuesday this week, all the office staff attended the 7th World Conference on Youth, Culture and Sport at the International Convention Centre.  It was interesting to meet and hear from delegates from different member states all over the world talking about sport for development.  One of the speakers talked about the power of storytelling and getting feedback directly from programme beneficiaries.

Our programme has just finished the first year of operations in Jozini and here is some of the qualitative feedback that we have received from the children that took part in the programme.

"I would like to say that thank you to WhizzKids United they do a wonderful things thanks a lot, God be with you" "I think that the WhizzKids it good for my life." "I would like to say we are very happy cause we learnt more about HIV/AIDS and we enjoyed football drills,I am so proud for you WhizzKids United." "What I have improving in the WhizzKids United is to know how to play a football and to stand in positions,in HIV/AIDS I have learned about how to protect yourself when you having sex and to wer condom." "WhizzKids is the rock" "You helped me to set up my goal." "I think the WhizzKids United improved things that happen in my life." "Whizzkids United you changed our lives not to be involved in crime." "I wish to be the part of the WKU  with all my heart" "I like the WKU because they protected my education" "I hope you are doing a great job WKU staff" "I thank you for your experienced that you gave us was more compare to our teachers" "I would like to say thank you to WKU we loved you"

Team South Africa shines in Alexandra
posted by Paul Kelly on 9 July 2010
The opening ceremony of the tournament
The opening ceremony of the tournament
The second week of the Football for Hope Festival is the Football Tournament where 32 delegations from all over the world compete against each other and promote FIFA Fair Play Principles. After losing their first game against a very strong Diambars Team from Senegal, Team South Africa won four of the next six games and have qualified to compete for the Football for Hope Cup. Congratulations !!!

The tournament is played in a way that promotes FIFA′s Fair Play Principles. Each game is divided into three halves. The first half is a pre game mediation session where teams meet and agree on the rules for the game. In the second half, the teams compete in a 12-minute game which is self-refereed. When a foul is committed, the players raise their hands, and jointly agree on a fair decision. In the third half, the teams meet again to discuss if the rules that were agreed to before the game were adhered to. Each team has the opportunity to award the opposition an extra point for fair play if they they believe the game was played fairly. So far, Team South Africa has received a fair play point in each of their games -- well done boys and girls.

The team has two more group stage games today before the knockout stages tomorrow. Good luck and continue to play in the spirit of fair play.
WKU Site visit in Eastern Cape
posted by Paul Kelly on 7 March 2010
Football Field in Canzibe
Football Field in Canzibe
Tom and I went on a whistlestop tour of the Eastern Cape last week to visit different sites for a potential roll out of the WhizzKids United programme in two new areas, Port Elizabeth and Canzibe.

We flew into East London on Wednesday, March 3, to meet with Dr. Paul Cromhout at the Small Projects Foundation. They would like to offer their local knowledge and expertise to help us get the programme started. SPF already partner with our programme funders in Rustenburg, One to One Childrens Fund (O2O).

The following day we drove to Dora Nginza Hospital in Port Elizabeth to discuss the programme with Nonkosi Dlalasi and Cheeky Zonto, who are both based at Dora Nginza Hospital, and work for O2O.

On Friday, we drove five hours to Canzibe, a rural area in the Transkei, and met with Alice Klaarveld, a who also works for SPF and is based at Canzibe Hospital.

We then took a treacherous and bumpy two hour drive down to the coast and spent the night in Coffee Bay. In the morning, I went for a surf while Tom took a relaxing hike along the cliffs, before we drove back to Durban arriving in time for Marcus′ birthday party that night. Happy Birthday Marcus !!!

All in all, we are very excited about the outcomes of the site visit and met some truly exceptional people that could make the programme a success in the targeted areas. We would like to thank One to One Childrens Fund, who funded the trip, and everyone who we met along the way.
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