• Stop OSAEC in the Philippines

    Makati City, Philippines. Football for Humanity and sports education partner Coaches Across Continents kick-off a series of online training sessions for thirty coaches participating in the community football mobilization program under the #StopOSAEC (Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children) advocacy headed by Football for Humanity (FFH) and Advocacy Partners Asia Inc (APAI). The course promotes a structured curriculum to enhance FFH coaches’ knowledge and skills necessary for coaching vulnerable children. These coaches will be offering free and fun football sessions to communities where children are at risk of OSAEC, which is a violation under Article 5 of Republic Act No. 7610 (An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination, And for Other Purposes)

    Coaches Across Continents is an international NGO and the global leader in using purposeful play and education outside the classroom to address the UN SDG’s and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. CAC Founder Nick Gates said, “I am delighted to share my support of the fantastic group of leaders from the Philippines, coming together with CAC and Football for Humanity to challenge OSAEC in their communities and around the world. I believe if we can bring fun back to play and sport, then we can heal from our traumas and rebuild communities, families, teams and cultures with children’s imagination at the center.”

    Sport and play have been endorsed by UNICEF in its Sport for Development Programs (S4D) as a proven platform for children’s “empowerment, leadership and self-esteem, and which contributes to overall well-being and future prospects”. In addition, FFH and its partners recognize children’s right to leisure, play, and participation in cultural and artistic activities as enacted in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    As COVID-19 surged and the entire country was practically halted in lockdown, OSAEC incidences also grew exponentially, thus putting more children at risk in a world that has become more digital, seemingly overnight.  As of May 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had reported an annual increase in OSAEC cases of 264%.

    “OSAEC has created hundreds of thousands of traumatised children who suffer in silence. If we educate and empower children through play, we will help prevent, heal and reverse the crippling effects of this monstrous crime,” according to FFH founder and president Chris Thomas.

    Football for Humanity and Advocacy Partners Asia formalized their partnership for the project in May, 2021, when APA Executive Director Louie P. Sebastian declared that, “No child should ever experience abuse in any form most especially online sexual abuse which leaves long-term physical, social, mental and emotional trauma.  Increasing awareness of the ills and dangers of OSAEC is crucial. Hence, Advocacy Partners Asia, Inc. and PAGEONE, as leading organizations in development communication and social mobilization, are one with FFH in creating a strong movement against OSAEC.”

    The #StopOSAEC advocacy is funded by the Australian Government through the Direct Aid Program (DAP) of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines and is supported by the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ/IACAT), PLDT/Smart, and other partners and sponsors affiliated under FFH, which runs on a strong child protection platform in all of its initiatives.

    Mr Thanh Le, Development Counsellor at the Australian Embassy said, “The FFH project presents a valuable strategy to raise awareness on and counter OSAEC in communities through purposive play. It has a strong potential to empower vulnerable children and their families against OSAEC. This initiative complements Australia’s SaferKidsPH program, which aims to strengthen the child protection system in the Philippines with a particular focus on OSAEC.”

    Social media platforms and online technology are at the center of the OSAEC problem, and constitute the “bridge” where alleged perpetrators and potential victims converge. FFH and APA reached out to PLDT and Smart, the Philippines’ leading telecommunications and digital services providers, as both had already launched an aggressive campaign in April 2021 to stamp out OSAEC through its technology solutions and affiliated organizations.  “PLDT and Smart recognize the critical role that technology plays in combatting OSAEC. Further to that, we’re also pursuing shared value partnerships with like-minded organizations such as the FFH to strengthen our commitment to champion children’s rights and create safer spaces for them, both online and offline. With technology and sports as our shared anchors, we aim to bring opportunities for vulnerable children to find hope, safety and support to continue moving forward,” said PLDT First Vice President and Group Head for Corporate Communications, Cathy Yap-Yang.

    Law enforcement efforts regarding this online crime are led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Philippines, which also created the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in charge of coordinating and monitoring the implementation of Republic Act No. 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. The IACAT is multi-agency, composed of government agencies and non-government sectoral representatives who employ various approaches to combatting OSAEC. Officer in Charge, Executive Director Wendell Bendoval, welcomed the involvement of FFH and its partners in the multi-agency alliance: “Human trafficking is a pervasive crisis throughout the world, especially here in the Philippines where we are considered a trafficking hotspot. Through international cooperation, the anti-trafficking movement continues to adapt to shifting circumstances and new challenges to remain one step ahead of traffickers and protect our children from it. Partnerships are crucial to the movement because it takes not one person but rather a whole government approach to completely end modern-day slavery. FFH’s involvement in the advocacy allowed us to be reminded once again of this collective commitment as we take on another year and look forward to the work that lies ahead.”

    Football for Humanity is a charity registered in the Philippines and the UK. The charity uses the power of play to educate, empower and protect children facing the threat of violence, exploitation and extreme poverty.

  • ESPN & Local Organizations Build and Open Multifunctional Sports Space in San Juan, Puerto Rico

    • YMCA of San Juan celebrates the opening of courts that will be home to sustainable programs
      teaching young people life-skills through sports
    • Puerto Rican Olympic Gold Medalist Monica Puig helps opens the space during special event.

    San Juan, Puerto Rico: At a special virtual event on Tuesday, August 17, ESPN and partners officially opened a newly transformed multifunctional sports space dedicated to the local community and its residents The site is the tenth in the global Built to Play project series, led by ESPN. Partners on the project include the local community, award-winning sport for development organizations love.fútbol and Coaches Across Continents, the YMCA of San Juan, the Puerto Rico Tennis Association (PRTA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA).

    Encompassing a revitalization and beautification of courts located at the YMCA San Juan, the space is
    designed to provide a safe place to play for the surrounding community and to offer ongoing programming using the power of sports to educate young people on key local and personal development issues.

    Hosted by Marly Rivera, ESPN’s Major League Baseball National Reporter, the virtual media event and ribbon-cutting was attended by special guest speaker, professional tennis player and 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, Monica Puig; Freddy Rolón, Vice President, ESPN Programming and Acquisitions; Rosa María Martínez, Executive Director, USTA Caribbean and PRTA; Mabel Román Padró, Executive Director, YMCA of San Juan; and, Mano Silva, Chief Operating Officer, love.fútbol.

    “I have always believed that we do our best work when we can use the power of the ESPN brand to serve as an agent of change and bring positive impact to communities,” said Freddy Rolón. “We were pleased to bring ESPN Built to Play to the YMCA of San Juan and to collaborate with love.fútbol, Coaches Across Continents, the local community, the YMCA and the PRTA to provide a space in a community where there is a need and where it can truly make a difference. I know that it will continue to be a focal point for this community for many years to come; a place where kids can play sports, have fun, learn, and thrive.

    The virtual event celebrated the site and featured remarks from the project partners on its social impact on the G8 community. It also included a special Q&A between Olympic champion Monica Puig and two children from the USTA Foundation’s local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) chapter

    Monica Puig said, “It is an honor to be part of this great initiative. I want to thank ESPN Built to Play, the YMCA of San Juan, the PRTA, and everyone involved for making a difference not only through the sport of tennis but through sports overall to help improve the health and wellness of our youth. It’s been very special for me to see the growth of interest in tennis in Puerto Rico ever since I won the gold medal, especially among kids. Sports, in general, are a great resource for kids to learn life skills, stay active and also deal with mental health issues, which are especially timely with the pandemic. Thanks to this project, the kids in the community will have this as a safe haven to go outside, stay active, explore their passions and talents, and simply be kids.”

    By fostering a more inclusive community and ensuring quality programming, this space will serve as a hub for local youth to play, participate in skills-development programs, and grow. The project engages the G8 community and YMCA members through a variety of sports – including new opportunities to play and learn through tennis and football – and activities for different ages, but mainly targeting boys and girls aged 6 to 15-years-old. Parents will also be part of the process. Project manager love.fútbol led the transformation of the space and programming partner Coaches Across Continents virtually trained local expert coaches – including Fundación Golitos, which runs adapted sports program for children with disabilities – on its customized Purposeful Play curriculum. The programming will be used to facilitate powerful discussions with youth around leadership, mental well-being, healthy living, and social inclusion. From August 2021– August 2022, the coaches will deliver weekly sessions reaching at least 600 young people monthly in full compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

    Read the full press release here.

  • Indochina Starfish Foundation of Cambodia Accredited by Coaches Across Continents

    Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) is a Cambodian charity with over 13 years of experience using education and sport to change lives.  In Cambodia, less than 5% of youth will finish high school. The poverty many children live in not only strips them of their childhood but it also means that they miss out on an education and vital life skills that are taught through peer interaction and play. Through their Education Programme, Football Programme and Community Development Projects ISF is supporting those most in need to build a brighter future.

    CAC has worked alongside ISF staff, coaches and young leaders since 2013. We have seen first-hand their growth when it comes to integrating play-based activities with key social and educational learning methodologies. Many ISF coaches have joined the CAC team over the years to facilitate Purposeful Play trainings for other leaders in communities beyond the ISF home in Phnom Penh. And after several years of learning and evolving together in partnership we are delighted to present ISF as a CAC accredited organization in using Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    Thank you ISF for your partnership and we look forward to many more years of playing and learning with you!
  • CAC SAFE Initiative to Impact Organisations Globally

    CAC SAFE is our Child Safeguarding Education Program, the only global child protection program that works on five levels: Child, Coach, Organization, Community and Social Media SAFE.

    CAC’s Impact Team delivered our SAFE resource to 96 partners; That is 4,253 youth leaders, educators and coaches across the world working with over 1.4 million children.

    Our CAC Impact and Instruct Team delivered two aspects of CAC SAFE in February: Coach SAFE and Organization SAFE.  Our team of experts worked with 96 of our partner organizations to create, review, or revise their organizational child protection policies as well as developing and training their coaches in best SAFE practices.  Coaches Across Continents wants to ensure a culture of child protection in all of our partner organizations in order to protect the 2.7+ million children that engage in Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom programming.

    Throughout 2021 our partner organizations will have the opportunity to go through the other three levels of SAFE including Child, Community, and Social Media SAFE.

    Effective Safeguarding empowers children to know their rights, educates coaches to create ‘safe spaces’, influences all levels of the organization, and engages communities.

    To learn more about our SAFE program please click here.

  • Niñas Sin Miedo: the first CAC Accredited Organization of 2021

    Based in Soacha and Bogotá, Colombia, Niñas Sin Miedo (NSM) is a female-led organization serving girls and young women from underserved communities. Using the bicycle as their central tool, they provide opportunities for girls to learn and express their voices, their ideas and their power. They focus on supporting the girls to address specific challenges and issues like sexual and reproductive health and rights, and they provide endless opportunities for the girls to play and take ownership of their learning and development.

    We have partnered with NSM since 2017 and it has been a privilege to witness and support their evolution. They are one of the most socially-conscious organizations in the world and our global network has the honor of learning and sharing with these incredible women. One of the NSM coordinators was a Michael Johnson Young Leader in 2018 and then later traveled alongside CAC to deliver on-field Education Outside the Classroom trainings all over Colombia.

    On this International Women’s Day 2021, there are few groups who embody the #ChooseToChallenge theme like Niñas Sin Miedo. We are thrilled to announce Niñas Sin Miedo as an accredited organization in using Purposeful Play to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • CAC Partners With Coerver

    Two global leaders in sport- Coerver and Coaches Across Continents- are partnering to bring the world’s best football development app to the poorest communities. The Coerver Players Club app is set to revolutionize the way football is delivered to children. Thanks to Coaches Across Continents network of organisations and the generosity of Coerver together we will make sure that this amazing app is made available to children from all walks of life. 

    Launching in November 2020, the program will pilot in South Africa and Cambodia before spreading across the rest of Asia. The goal of the project is to allow children to continue their football development, have regular access to exercise and improve their mental health whilst the world battles the global COVID-19 pandemic. Together we are creating a global legacy program that will benefit the youth of today. 

    About Coerver

    Inspired by the revolutionary football development philosophy of legendary Dutch coach Wiel Coerver, Coerver® Coaching was founded in 1984 by Alf Galustian and former Chelsea great, Charlie Cooke. Since 1984, Coerver® Coaching has been at the center of the evolution of skilful, modern football, and is now a recognised leader in youth football education worldwide. 

    The Coerver® methodology is currently delivered to players, coaches and clubs in excess of 50 countries across the globe at all levels of the game. Throughout our 36 year history, Coerver® Coaching has worked with some of the world’s leading federations, clubs, coaches and players.

    About Coaches Across Continents

    Coaches Across Continents is an award-winning non-profit that works with education and community development. We design, develop, and implement partnerships with governments, foundations, corporations, and community-based organizations to create legacies based on the United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsIn the last decade Coaches Across Continents have won 29 global awards for our work delivering Purposeful Play in 133 countries which impacts over 16 million people.