• Next Stop: South Africa – CAC and Chevrolet Take 3

    September 25th, 2014. Fresh off the plane from Cambodia, CAC Founder Nick Gates and Senior Staff member Nora Dooley returned to South Africa for our third program in partnership with Chevrolet. The first two took place earlier this year in Bandung, Indonesia, and Chicago, USA, whereas this one was run in a community called Hammanskraal, north of the capital city, Pretoria.

    For the first four days of this Chevrolet FC training our team worked in tandem with the South African Football Association (SAFA) who led a D-License course for the 37 ESSP (Extra Support Sport Program) leaders from 17 schools around the Hammanskraal area. This was an introductory level course into coaching football and had a particular focus on life skills. Naturally CAC took the reigns when it came to the On-Field instruction, training these leaders in how to use sport to educate children on important social issues and to develop crucial life skills.

    For the following five days our staff went deeper with the ESSP teachers and taught them a total of 47 games that they can use with their students. We worked through many different modules of our social impact curriculum including games from our standard Skills for Life, Conflict Resolution, Health & Wellness, and Gender Equity themes as well as those about Financial Literacy, Female Empowerment, and HIV behavior change.

    One game that had a particularly positive impact was renamed Hammanskraal Social Squares to best suit the needs of the group. In this game we divided the group into four teams and had them each stand in one square marked out at each corner of a larger square. We asked each group to think of the most challenging problem facing their community and they came up with poverty, unemployment, corruption, and teenage pregnancy. Then we played the game. When we shouted two of those words, the two teams representing those words had to switch places as fast as possible. Once they got the hang of the rules, we added more challenges such as a ball that every player had to touch before the team arrived at the new square. Then we asked the groups to come up with a new word. This time they had to think of one word that could be a solution to the problem they already thought of. The groups came up with job creation, education, new leadership, and good choices. To make the game more challenging we adjusted the rules so that the squares represented the solutions and the teams had to remember what each square signified. This was a great game for us to play early on in the training in order to start the important conversations about social issues in the community and beyond. The game led to some great discussions on topics such as education and how to beat corruption.

    On the final day of the training the coaches organized a festival for local students in order to complete their SAFA D-License. Without any instruction from our team on what games to play with the children, the coaches chose all CAC games and absolutely blew us away with the success of the day. After the festival players were telling us what they learned from the ESSP coaches and brought up lessons like how to avoid peer pressure, the importance of education, gender equality, and solving problems without violence. We were beyond impressed. The transformation that these 37 coaches – 22 women and 15 men – went through over the course of the 10 days was phenomenal.

    The final day of the program was the big event where everyone came together at one of the local schools for the big Chevrolet tournament. Manchester United legend Gary Bailey, a native of South Africa, joined the team as well as an all-star crew from our partners at One World Futbol Project (OWFP). The OWFP Founders revealed the donation of the 1,000,000th football in a very special ceremony. The day was a huge success with 17 girls teams from all the schools where our newly trained ESSP Social Impact coaches teach. They competed in small-sided games and the players who demonstrated the most positive attitudes and best sportsmanship were awarded with the opportunity to play in a final match with 2 players from every team.

    As the theme for the training was centered on Female Empowerment, this was an incredible way to end the program with so many girls enjoying the beautiful game and their 37 coaches (22 being women) supporting them through it all. We were also honored by the presence of a team of grandmothers called Rekone Gogos FC who train 6 days a week at a nearby field, coached by 2 of the male ESSP coaches. They were the best fans of all and added an extra layer of excitement to an already empowered program.

    Stay tuned to see what’s next for our partnership with Chevrolet and Manchester United.

    SA Field