Chikwawa Community ground will this Saturday be the centre of attraction as the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust (MLW) Kafukufuku Research Festival climaxes with football finals between Hot Stars and Belomjigo.
During a press briefing in Blantyre yesterday, MLW senior research scientist Kondwani Jambo said the aim of the festival, organised in partnership with Liverpool Football Club (LFC) Foundation and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), is to disseminate health research messages.
“Football is a powerful tool in the dissemination of messages to the public and we took advantage of this power to get health messages to the youth,” he said.
As a trust, we conduct excellent research to benefit the health of Malawians and sub-Saharan Africa focusing on preventing death from severe infection and on reducing transmission from infectious disease. As such, we value the importance of engaging the public through sports.”
MLW science communication manager Rodric Sambakunsi said this is the first year that the Kafukufu Festival has used football as a tool for disseminating the health messages as last year they used music through the performance of the Black Missionaries Band.
“This year, we have teamed up with LSTM and LFC to use the medium of football and the power of the LFC badge to engage with youngsters, especially, the hard-to-reach group of males aged 14 and 22, who are least likely to access health education and services such as self-testing and family planning,” he said.
According to Chikwawa district sports officer Sophie Mzunga, the football finalists were identified after a month-long knock-out tournament that involved 32 teams.
LFC Foundation community engagement lead Karl Carney said they are excited to be in Malawi delivering this project and share their coaching skills with local coaches.