• Mariah Lee Reflects on Trip to the DRC

    Step Up Athlete and professional soccer player, Mariah Lee, talks about her first on-field experience with CAC, advancing gender equality in the DRC. 

    I have just returned home after spending two weeks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While I have been a part of the Choice For Women team for more than a year now, this was my first on-field experience with CAC. For the majority of my time in the DRC, I led trainings on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention at the Malaika Community Center in Kalebuka as part of a global initiative with EngenderHealth to address UN SDG 5: Gender Equality. 

    In other words, I used Purposeful Play (i.e., sport/games/play) to teach community leaders about SRHR and GBV Prevention. They will go on to lead sessions in their communities, impacting hundreds of youth across the DRC. Elvis, head of the Malaika Community Center and long-time CAC accredited coach spearheaded the sessions, and together we graduated more than 40 leaders over the course of one week. 

    Reading and hearing about what CAC does is one thing, but experiencing it firsthand is entirely different. There is something really powerful about experiential learning and using play to spark dialogue and introduce concepts. This could look like a game of tag where taggers represent a sexually transmitted disease and the safe area represents a condom. This could also be a game of soccer or handball where scoring a goal symbolizes pregnancy and goalkeepers symbolize different types of contraception. Each game is designed to stimulate discussion and incorporate participants’ ideas and solutions. 

    You might think adults wouldn’t be that excited to get outside and play games all day, but the folks we worked with were incredibly enthusiastic! Our cohort had so much energy– we danced and chanted and laughed together every day. We had our share of serious moments, too. During the week we touched on topics such as reproduction, family planning, contraception, HIV/STI protection, reproductive rights, stereotyping, inclusion, opportunity, power dynamics, and safe choices. For many participants, this was their first time broaching some of these subjects. 

    Fortunately, we were able to create a safe environment where participants were able to ask questions about stereotypically taboo topics. I was able to correct misconceptions participants held about reproduction, contraception, and female athletes. Interestingly enough, the men in our cohort were more accepting of women in sport, and it was the women who were more apprehensive. Most of the women had played soccer when they were younger but eventually stopped because of pressure from their community. They were told playing soccer would make them become infertile, turn into a boy, lose their virginity, lose their breasts, etc. I gladly busted those myths!

    Outside of our SRHR and GBV Prevention trainings, I spent the majority of my time running soccer sessions with coaches and players– including girls from the Malaika School and boys from the surrounding community. In the DRC there is no public education. Parents either have to come up with the money for school fees or their children sit at home all day– or for many– at the local football pitch. I coached many boys who had little to no formal education, where football is one of the few pathways to a better life. Malaika is a tuition-free private school for girls founded by international supermodel Noella Coursaris Munsunka. Noella, who is Congolese and Cypriot was born in the DRC, but raised in the UK after her father died. Noella’s mother, like most Congolese women, had no education and could not support her. This reality fueled Noella’s desire to create opportunities for girls and women in her home country. 

    E-meeting Noella and being welcomed by the administrators at Malaika was incredibly inspiring and further cemented my passion for empowering Black girls. Being able to impact the girls and women of the Kalebuka community is something I will never forget! 

  • The 1st Ever HeadSAFE Project

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is delighted to be a 2022 FIFA Foundation Community Programme-supported organisation! Together with our partners training4changeS, Head for Change, Sport Session Planner, and Rezzil we will be delivering the 1st ever project promoting safe heading in football. The biggest threat to Child Safety in football programming is heading the ball. A recent study in the UK showed that footballers were 3.5 times more likely to suffer neurodegenerative disease than the general population. The English FA has banned heading for under 12’s in training and are piloting a ban in games. The professional game has just instructed that players do no more than 10 high impact headers per week. Last year Head for Change hosted the first football match which banned heading at Spennymoor FC. Now more than ever, it is vital that all participants in football are aware of the potential impact of heading on long-term neurology. 

    CAC and Head for Change is proud to be at the forefront of this work. We recently met with England football legend Kevin Keegan to talk about HeadSAFE and the solutions to this upsetting problem. A number of Kevin’s teammates have been diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease. In addition, it has been widely documented that many members of the England 1966 World Cup winning team, including Ray Wilson, Martin Peters, Jack Charlton, Bobby Charlton, and Nobby Stiles, have been affected by dementia in recent years.  

    In response to this critical issue CAC and our partners are piloting an educational project which will promote safe heading throughout the sport. CAC have designed a unique play-based curriculum, using the Sport Session Planner platform, which ensures youth leaders have the tools to discuss vital messages around heading, brain development and hydration with their participants. The curriculum is consistent while being adaptable for the specific challenges facing a diverse range of communities globally. CAC have trained training4changeS leaders in Stellenbosch, South Africa in the curriculum so they can effectively deliver HeadSAFE in their 2022 youth programming weekly. In addition, we have provided training4changeS with a virtual reality headset which utilise’s Rezzil’s Player 22 safe heading software so their participants can learn the technique behind head the ball without the constant head and brain impact. As part of this pilot we are designing guidelines for safe heading protection in youth programs and we are committing to reducing heading in the programming by at least 25%.

    CAC Board Member and Head for Change Co-Founder Judith Gates says:

    ‘It is seeing at first hand the effects of CTE, an unremitting progressive disease only caused by concussive and sub concussive head injuries, that motivated me to be a co-founder of Head for Change. I will do all in my power to protect others from the devastating consequences of sports related neurodegenerative disease. Let’s work together to bring about the changes we know are needed, let’s work together to create a safer sporting future.’

    ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS:

    About FIFA Foundation Community Programme

    The Foundation Community Programme supports organisations that use football as a tool for social change and to improve the lives of underprivileged people around the world. Once a year, the FIFA Foundation invites established non-profit entities to apply for project funding in order to use football as a tool to address social issues affecting young people such as education, health, peacebuilding, refugees, leadership and gender equality.

    Coaches Across Continents

    Coaches Across Continents is an award-winning non-profit focused on education and community development. Its Purposeful Play curriculum and Education Outside the Classroom (EOC) methodology supports communities to design pathways towards social change based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. EOC empowers communities, organizations, leaders and young people to analyze their needs and implement strategies to choose their futures. CAC has trained and certified 25,000+ community coaches and leaders, and annually, provides quality education for over 16 million youth.

    CONTACTS:

    Coaches Across Continents – Adam Burgess,

  • Goals, Voices, Choices

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is excited to be collaborating with fellow experts in leadership through youth sports- The Sports Creative (TSC). We both believe in the importance of giving young people the confidence to use their voices and tell their unique stories. Together we have co-designed a play-based curriculum guidebook which The Sports Creative coaches will be able to use in their 6 community programs worldwide in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Villa Hermosa, Dominican Republic; Valle de Chalco, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; Doha, Qatar; and Philadelphia, USA.

    Called ‘Goals, Voices, Choices’ the curriculum aligns with core Sports Creative model themes such as Our Community, Our Voices, and Our Culture, and will allow educational topics, typically delivered in a classroom setting, to be facilitated on the sports field. The Sports Creative have an existing activity pathway for all program participants which includes individual storytelling, personal development exploration, and creative art opportunities. This curriculum will link those activities to play-based games which empowers youth with confidence, and supports them to identify viable goals in well-being, education, and their lives. Balancing play-based activities with discussion-based activities will ensure youth with varying interests will engage with the program and benefit from the opportunities it provides.

    We will use the curriculum as a starting point for the collaboration between CAC and TSC. Our partnership goal is for more communities worldwide to benefit from collaborative support from TSC’s sport and storytelling partnership model alongside CAC’s sustainable consultancy.

    The Sports Creative and Coaches Across Continents are proud to both be program partners of the Rexona Breaking Limits Programme, developed in partnership with Beyond Sport. Following our work on the Rexona BLP The Sports Creative and Coaches Across Continents recognized the potential value of a collaborative capacity-building model leading to this partneship.

    Psychologist and Board member of The Sports Creative, Dr Renée Pirkl said:

    “This new curriculum offers a powerful positive development path for youth, based on their goals, voices, and choices. To play safely and inclusively, be heard and valued, and have choices and agency through opportunities. These core experiences increase self-awareness, self-esteem, and social skills; learning problem-solving and collaboration; experiencing community and connection; and building compassion, purpose, and resilience.”

    Coaches Across Continents Board Member and Educator, Dr. Judith Gates said:

    “We are honored to be given the opportunity to work closely with The Sports Creative. Having known about their unique process for the past 2 years it is clear they offer a level of youth empowerment that has not been seen before in the sport for social change sector. The importance of highlighting the voices and choices of young people can not be underestimated in a world where youth increasingly feel powerless. We are excited to collaborate to enhance each others work.”

    About The Sports Creative

    The Sports Creative believe every young person should have access to the power of play in their community. They create community-led sports & arts programs for youth, supporting their physical, social, and emotional well-being. They believe in the power of sport, the importance of creativity, and the voices of young people. A key starting block is accepting that young people understand their own context and needs. This empowers youth with confidence, and supports them to identify viable goals in well-being, education, and their lives. Their programs contribute to multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

    About Coaches Across Continents

    Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in using Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to address the UN SDGs and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our two brands work at all levels, from advising governments and creating corporate social purpose to advancing community organizations, developing coaches, and educating young people. CAC Instruct develops coaches and educators to deliver Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom by providing On-Field training, child safeguarding, and curriculum.

  • Positive Climate Action for the Entire S4D Sector

    Feb 10, 2022. Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce our partnership with the UEFA Foundation for Children on an initiative that will provide positive climate action for the entire Sport for Development sector.

    Coaches Across Continents, with UEFA’s support, will develop, pilot, and then deliver an animated curriculum in seven languages that will educate children, coaches, and organization. CAC Instruct will develop a ten-game curriculum that educates about each of UN ACT Now’s ten actionable items individuals may utilize to reduce their carbon footprint. This curriculum will be piloted in Nairobi through our long-term partner, Green Kenya, impacting over 1,000 children.

    Once finalized, the curriculum will be open source and available in early 2023 through Sport Session Planner, the Premier 3D Sport Session Planning Tool for Clubs and Coaches. Each activity will be animated and have a video example and available through smartphones in at least seven major languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Swahili & Spanish). We anticipate this curriculum to be utilized by thousands of organizations on all six continents, educating millions of children and creating the first large-scale effort by the sport for development sector to collectively reduce our impact on the planet.

  • CAC Launches Women Led Choice For Women

    Choice For Women, a specialized women-led organization working within Coaches Across Continents, was unveiled today. Choice For Women aims to equip girls and women with the tools to become global Active Citizens, achieve UN SDG 5.1, and create a more gender-equal world. By utilizing CAC’s extensive resources, Choice For Women will amplify the voices of girls and women, and empower women-centered organizations, corporations, and initiatives across the globe. 

    While Choice For Women is new, CAC’s work in this area is not. UN SDG 5.1 (to end discrimination against women and girls) has served as a target for CAC since its inception, and has inspired many initiatives over the years. CAC’s ASK for Choice Curriculum: Attitudes Skills and Knowledge for Choice, was designed in 2014 and has since been used by over 100 of our community-based partners. Our Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) curriculum was created in 2019 as part of a nationwide initiative in Tanzania and is now used internationally. Additionally, the Step Up program, which focuses on career development for female professional athletes, is the first of its kind. Step Up provides athletes with the opportunity to gain vital work experience while developing their social voice with global impact! 

    In addition to the aforementioned initiatives, CAC serves many female educators and coaches, women-led organizations, and girl-focused groups. Choice For Women grew out of a need to consolidate all of CAC’s existing women’s-centered programming under one umbrella, and have a space solely dedicated to advancing the lives of women and girls that operates with the full thrust of CAC. 

    Thus, Choice For Women’s structure mirrors that of CAC, and is divided into four divisions: Influence, Innovate, Impact, and Instruct. Choice for Women Influence advises governments, confederations, global NGOs, policy makers, and key donors. Choice for Women Innovate creates Corporate Social Purpose and Cause Marketing legacies for corporations and foundations. Choice for Women Impact advances local organizations by delivering year-round sustainable, strategic resources. Choice for Women Instruct uses Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to develop women as leaders and educate young people through on-field activities and gender-sensitive curriculum. 

    If you would like to support Choice For Women, one opportunity is to participate in our live Auction and Raffle. Our esteemed auction item is a 1999 Women’s World Cup Ball signed by the championship-winning US Women’s National Team (including signatures from Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Brianna Scurry, Michelle Akers and Tracy Noonan). We are also raffling a mini-ball signed by the 2021 NWSL Champions: The Washington Spirit, led by Kelley O’Hara, Andi Sullivan, and Trinity Rodman. Bidding and raffle ticket sales close on December 13, 2021 at 11:59pm EST. 

     

    For all inquiries, please contact us at

  • Back On-Field With Green Kenya

    Our longtime partners Green Kenya have been back on field impacting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) using CAC’s Purposeful Play! Check out the blog below written by David Mulo, Founder of Green Kenya, and part of the CAC Instruct team! 

    60 hours, this is the amount of time we have spent on field running Kenya programs. We have played at least 21 games with Green-Kenya, Far East Basketball and Futaball Mas addressing 7 different UNSDGs, that is, SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being SDG 4 Quality Education, SDG  5 Gender Equality, SDG  8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, SDG  10 Reduced Inequalities, and SDG 13 Climate Action. The programs took place in some of the most challenging environments, like Kibare, which is one of the largest Slums in Africa and Mathare where majority of residents live below 2 dollars a day.

    The on field training took 3 days per organization unlike previously where we conducted training for 5 days, this was due to strict Covid-19 protocols. We facilitated education around the UNSDGs on-field by engaging coaches through discussions and having vital conversation through different games.

    During the 3 programs, we had a huge number of youth leaders attending the program, out of 128 coaches who attended that training, 90 of them were youth leaders, the high number of Youth leaders was steady in all the programs.

    We also had an emerging Community Impact coach during the on-field training by the name Titus Musyoka, who is a community Coach at Green-Kenya, Titus has been committed to impacting many Children in Mukuru Slums since 2019 and he has been part of CAC training in Kenya since then. The emerging young leader was part of the implementing team in Nairobi and we believe he learned new skills that he will use to impact many young people not only in Nairobi but in different parts of the world.  

    We believe that our partners, through the youth leaders, learned that they would have to apply what they learned during the training because they hold the key to the future of teaching through play in there communities, they would have to stand in the gap to be counted as change agents through the power of play.

     The on-field in Kenya impacted 4512 Children directly, out of these 2915 were boys and 1597 were girls 128 Community Coaches, that involved Physical education teachers.