• CAC Partners with Pathfinder International to launch educational hub in Tanzania, Summer 2019

    Coaches Across Continents and Pathfinder International announce a unique partnership that uses Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. The first project has begun in Tanzania and includes the development of a Purposeful Play Curriculum that addresses four main components: Knowledge of sexual and reproductive rights; Household environment; Community responsibility; and Conservation; as well as an Educational Hub for 20 key leaders to be held in Zanzibar, and local programs in selected Tanzanian communities.

    Pathfinder is a global leader in the advancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and Coaches Across Continents is the 2018 Winner of the Beyond Sport Global Impact Award. The combined expertise of these two organizations will allow the program to provide resources and education specifically tailored towards teenage girls, boys, and young families. The Trotula Fund is a proud supporter of this collaboration and the first project in Tanzania.

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    “We are excited to be supporting the partnership of Coaches Across Continents and Pathfinder International, two organizations that have a long and rich history in working with adolescents and young people in Tanzania. Being able to couple sport, athletics, and sexual and reproductive health care to promote young people’s ability to choose their own future is a great opportunity. We view this as the first step of many in this partnership.”  

    – Judy Kahrl, The Trotula Fund

    “The Coaches Across Continents collaboration with Pathfinder International is a groundbreaking partnership that will advance the lives of children, women and entire communities in Tanzania. The innovative and effective methods of CAC coupled with Pathfinder International’s technical ability to enhance sexual and reproductive rights is an inspiring union. The collaboration exemplifies their authentic commitment to progressing human rights globally. I am honored to support this partnership in fighting what is with what ought to be.”

    – Margaret “Midge” Purce, Professional Soccer Player for the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League, former All-Star for Harvard Women’s Soccer, and proud Coaches Across Continents Supporter.

    “This is an exciting moment for Coaches Across Continents. Working with Pathfinder on this new project will enrich communities throughout Tanzania and around the world in ways we’ve yet to see through other partnerships. The collective impact of our resources and experience in the fields of education, global health, sport and gender equity will see unique strategies in play to advance several UN Sustainable Development Goals such as 3: Health and Wellbeing, 4: Quality Education and 5: Gender Equality. We are thrilled to be at the center of this transformative program.”

    – Nora Dooley, ASK for Choice and Community and Government Partnerships Manager, Coaches Across Continents

    For more information about this groundbreaking collaboration please contact

     

  • Some Much Needed ‘Girl Determined’ Time

    February 11th, 2019. CAC Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur of YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India joined CAC ASK for Choice Strategist Nora Dooley in Myanmar last December to work with CAC’s ASK for Choice Partner, Girl Determined. Nora and Jaspreet both share more about their experiences here.
    I have been working with CAC for over 5 years. For the majority of that time my focus has been on our ASK – Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge – for Choice program for women’s rights and gender equality. At the end of 2018 I spent an intense month traveling through Asia working with different partners. For 2 weeks I was the only woman present at some of our trainings – for reasons we know very well, and work every day to change. After these 2 weeks I have never been more aware of my identity as a Woman. I then spent one week with Girl Determined and – to put it simply – felt a welcome sense of ‘home’ in a place I had never been before.
    The Girl Determined team of incredible women from all over Myanmar came together for an intense week of training in the northern Kachin State. We integrated CAC on-field activities with Girl Determined strategies for designing new games, developing volleyball skills and learning more about leadership. This was our first year partnering with Girl Determined and we are excited to have them as part of the CAC network. We know from experience in similar contexts how difficult it can be to create spaces for women and girls to safely and confidently play and express themselves. From what I can see, Girl Determined not only achieves this each day but also have grown over the years to engage more girls and women from diverse backgrounds as leaders. It was also – personally and professionally – an immense privilege to experience and support my co-facilitator, Jaspreet, as she shared her knowledge, skills and Punjabi culture with the participants and staff. I’ll let her say more!
    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have been working with YFC as a Senior Training and Monitoring officer and Manager of Sports for Development Field since September 2013. I have attended 4 trainings of CAC on different domains and now I am working with CAC as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) from 2017.

    I would like to express my gratitude to Coaches Across Continents organization who gave me an amazing chance to attend the training program in Myanmar. This is the first International exposure for me as a CIC. This journey was one I will always remember. I got the chance to work with expert facilitator Nora Dooley. Everything was new for me, the language was totally different and the participants enjoyed the activities. I enjoyed the training field because the training area is situated between the hills.
    In this training me and Nora delivered the activities. Through this training I feel more confident than before. I have learned many coaching tips from this training such as how we can manage a large group of participants and different ways to use your voice as a coach. With Girl Determined we focused on topics such as Leadership, communication, healthy choices, women’s rights and adaptation of activities.
    This was the first time I visited Myanmar country. I got a chance to learn about Myanmar’s culture, food, clothing and things which are famous of the Kachin state. This was great exposure for me for new learning experiences, most beneficial for my coaching field. This trip will be unforgettable for me. I would like the express thank you of Aleta, Brooke and other staff from Girl Determined organization who gave us amazing gift from Kachin.
  • CAC Launches Organizational Accreditation Program

    WATERTOWN, MA, USA  Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce the first-ever global Organizational Accreditation Program in Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom.

    Becoming an accredited organization will improve that organizations ability to create sustainable change based on the UNSDGs, to find and secure funding and award opportunities, to enhance brand reputation, and more.

    Once accredited, partners will receive additional support from Coaches Across Continents including substantial joint-funding opportunities, educational travel and leadership development, global recognition, and high-level networking.

    There are two distinct levels:  Accreditation and Advanced Accreditation. Coaches Across Continents is committed to working with their partners to design a pathway towards accreditation status.

    To read the full press release, please click here:

    CAC-Organizational-Accreditation-Program

  • Gender Equality – Youth for Change

    December 21st, 2018. Global Citizen and Sky Blue FC Women’s Professional Soccer Player, McKenzie Meehan, writes about her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Punjab, India with Community Partner YFC Rurka Kalan! 

    During my last week in India, we worked with YFC Rurka Kulan, a youth football club that also stands for “Youth for Change”. Rurka Kulan is a small village that relies heavily on its farming, but unfortunately has had many issues with substance abuse in the past. After my time here, it was very evident that YFC has become an oasis from this drug-ridden village and has granted many children the opportunity to make positive choices.

    Despite our short stay, I was very impressed by YFC’s huge influence within this community. We stayed right in the village within a family’s home so on our walk to and from the YFC facilities, we would often see many kids from the YFC programs walking home or to school. Other locals in the village were very welcoming and kind, and we were told it was because they truly appreciate those who come to help support YFC.

    In terms of our training, we focused a lot of gender equity, which is a large issue in remote villages like Rurka Kulan. Unfortunately, girls and women are not given the same access to education, employment and sport as boys and men, and few women are granted leadership positions. We had many important conversations with the participants about how these social norms can be challenged and ultimately changed within their community.

    Back in November, YFC Rurka Kulan hosted a 10-day event with Generation Amazing called “Girls Play, Girls Lead”, a huge event with teams from all over the world that focused on developing leadership qualities in young girls through football. We saw a video of the incredible event and we recognized several of the girls from programs that we worked with earlier in the trip!

    Throughout my four weeks in India, it has been promising to see how supportive and collaborative these Sport for Development programs are with one another. As another example, three of the organizations (Naz Foundation, Slum Soccer, and YFC Rurka Kulan) encouraged their girls to participate in “Goals For Girls”, a program that provides girls the opportunity to travel to Utah as part of a leadership summit. When my teammates and I at Sky Blue FC played against Utah Royals FC back in May, the Goals for Girls Summit was occurring, and I remember seeing all the girls up in the stands at the game. It’s crazy that it’s such a small world, but reflecting back on this moment really made this work feel even more meaningful with a very visible and real impact!

  • Rohingya Refugees and UN SDGs

    Over 900,000 Rohingya refugees are now living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This is 3x bigger than any other refugee camp in the world.  Starting last year, renewed violence including reports of rape, murder, and arson forced nearly all the Rohingya people living in the Rakhine state of Myanmar to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, and instantly fracturing their society.

    Imagine all the people living in Austin, Texas fleeing en masse with no possessions, money, or communication – with family & friends permanently separated… or worse.

    The UNHCR has taken the monumental task to lead the care for this population, including feeding, housing, and other basic needs. But these services only address so much. Refugees are coming from an instantly fractured society and arriving at a place where they might not know anyone.  Many have been permanently separated from families, neighbors, and friends.  Individuals, especially children, single women, the elderly, and the disabled are at increased vulnerability to suffer additional harm. It is here that other organizations, oftentimes NGOs, look to work with the UNHCR to provide vital services including Community Based Protection.

    Coaches Across Continents, supported by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), have started a 6-month pilot program to use football to create Community Based Protection.  Our program is using football to rebuild that fabric of society, and those networks, so that people are able to care for their families, their new neighbors, and each other – so that everyone is better supported and better protected, and therefore at reduced risk for experiencing additional harm.

    Our On-Field interview with Adam Nord (UNHCR Community Based Protection) explains this concept further in this 3+ minute video.

    “I see that this program… is a very important part of this as well.  It’s about using a very strong community-based approach to train new young refugee coaches who are then going to go back into their community to work with and to support other youth / other individuals in a way that engages and strengthens those society ties.  That’s complimented within CAC’s trainings on child protection, violence, and other issues, allows them then to engage through sports… in discussing those issues that are affecting their communities”

    “It’s an excellent example of a community based approach”     – Adam Nord, UNHCR Child Protection

    Over the course of the 6-month pilot supported by the AFC, Coaches Across Continents has trained 75 local Rohingya refugees to become soccer coaches across 25 different camps/districts within Cox’s Bazar. Equipment has been provided by the AFC and BFF so that they can engage boys and girls in their community on a weekly basis, and begin to impact some of the 500,000 children under the age of 17 living in the camps.  Throughout the year the newly minted coaches will receive communication, mentoring, and support from the BFF and CAC.  The 6-month pilot will culminate with a Football Fun Festival in May, 2019, with an eye towards continuing and expanding this program as funding allows.

    To support or learn more about this initiative, please contact CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz at

  • More Than a Football Pitch

    December 20th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Jesse DiLuzio blogs from Nagpur, India about our On-Field week with longtime partner and inaugural FIFA Diversity Award winner Slum Soccer. 

    Upon leaving the airport in Nagpur, India you encounter what I, based on my limited experience in India, call “classic India”. Unfinished roads overpopulated with honking vehicles, massive cows snacking on mounds of trash, and a musty air that fills your nose with an undesirable stench. While this “classic India” of mine is certainly not a fair representation, after a week in the overcrowded chaos of New Delhi, these are the things you become accustomed to. Therefore, I was quite relieved when we drove past the industrial madness of Nagpur into the rural are of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is a small town that, upon first glance, lacks any distinctive features. There is one long, bumpy road that runs through the village flanked by a combination of small food stalls, large cows, underdeveloped homes, and small tents which sit on a ground of dust and rocks. So, you can only imagine our surprise when we first encountered the turf field that sits in the middle of this underdeveloped region. This field, surrounded on all sides by a large chain linked fence, belonged to Slum Soccer, the partner that Coaches Across Continents was set to work with that week. While I didn’t know this at the moment, this 30 x 60 piece of turf is way more than just a football pitch. 

    Slum Soccer was started around ten years ago by a university professor named Vijay Barse, who we were fortunate enough to meet. After watching kids play soccer with a broken bucket in the slums, he was inspired to set up a tournament for them so they could enjoy competition in a more formal setting. As time went on, this tournament turned into weekend sessions for the local community. Today, Slum Soccer provides educational/healthcare workshops, societal developmental programs, coaching camps, and the pure joy of a place to play football to nearly 70,000 men, women, and children across 63 districts in India. This meteoric rise from a fun football tournament for a few to an empowering resource for thousands can best be summarized in the stories of the people who work for Slum Soccer. 

    One such person is a young man named Homkant from Northern India. As a child, he grew up during the heat of the ongoing tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups in India and Pakistam. Amidst the tensions and dangers of the violence that plagued the region, Homkant was pressured to join the Hindu side. Caught between attacks on Islamic holy sites and the defense of his own sacred temples, he called this period of his life the “darkest chapter”. In the face of problems in his own home and with the local police, he left everything behind to start a new life in Nagpur. However, this “new life” was far from lucrative. He spent one year living on the streets before picking up a job at a local tea stall. This is when Slum Soccer stepped in. Without passing any judgment, the individuals in Slum Soccer found Homkant and provided with a home, three meals a day, and an opportunity to learn and build within the beautiful game. The pinnacle of this experience was being selected to represent India in the Homeless World Cup. Following these life changing moments, he has now dedicated himself full time to the organization. He is constantly running trainings and educational programs, recruits players for the Homeless World Cup and is looked up to like a big brother by the others in Slum Soccer who have also been helped off the streets. 

    Across Slum Soccer, you can find many stories similar to that of Homkant. Stories of struggle, strife, and a rebirth supported by the strong arms of Slum Soccer. However, the members of the organization are far from content. The minute we arrived they were proposing new challenges in order to take sport for development to a new level. Early on we decided that over the course of the week, we would take a step forward and teach games that would cover very intense issues such as menstruation. In many parts of rural India, there is little to no knowledge about the process of menstruation. In extreme cases, this means that women on their period are barred from entering the household because of fears that their menstrual blood will contaminate the food, water, plants, and other items in the home. Generally isolated in a shelter without food, water, and access to proper hygienic materials, thousands of young women die per year because of these myths. Additionally, 23 million women per year are forced drop out of school because of their period. Many of the women that we worked with in our time at Slum Soccer shared stories about how the lack of educational materials regarding menstruation has resulted in terrible consequences for themselves, loved ones, and other women. United under the leadership of full time CAC Coach Ashlyn, we worked to develop a number of games that teach women about the truths of menstruation through sport. Given Slum Soccer’s wide reach, we are hopeful that this will have a positive impact on many women’s lives. 

    In my four months with CAC, I’ve found that in many cases, despite all of the hard work put in on-field, you don’t quite know if sport for development will ever fully “catch-on” and have the positive impacts that you are hoping for. However, upon the completion of the week with Slum Soccer, I felt supremely confident that our partnership would have a positive impact on many lives. This confidence was fueled by the fruitful discussions, ambitious leaders, and inspirational stories that I was fortunate to come across throughout the week. While at first, the little turf field in Maharashtra just seemed like a nice place to play, I now know that the field itself is only a smart part of Slum Soccer’s commitment to forgiveness, education, opportunity and creating a home to those like Homkant who were forced to leave everything behind. I can’t wait to see the results of CAC and Slum Soccer’s partnership in the coming years.