DREAMS In Nairobi
August 5th 2020. This last week CAC has been back On-fFeld, as we look to resume our programming after COVID-19 brought a halt to our Instruct schedule. Community Impact Coach David Mulo of Green-Kenya led the delivery, working in partnership with Beyond Hoops Africa and DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, AIDS-free, Mentored and SAFE).
Over the last several months, CAC has been in discussions with key partners and communities around the world, planning and waiting patiently to resume Education Outside the Classroom. One of those partners is Beyond Hoops Africa, a Nairobi based charity who use basketball to change peoples lives in and around the slums. Through these conversations we were introduced to DREAMS, and we learnt about 30 young mothers who have aspirations of being entrepreneurs. Thus, we created a programme that included COVID-19 education but also one with a large focus on financial literacy.
Through play, all 30 of the participants said they now felt more comfortable with the varying aspects of financial literacy and they now better understand COVID-19 and how to better protect themselves and others.
Our New Normal
23rd July 2020. After the COVID-19 global pandemic halted all On-Field education in 2020, Coaches Across Continents and our partners have been eagerly awaiting our return to Purposeful Play across the world – and on July 21st it was fitting that Nico Achimpota of Tanzania would lead the way.
This week was our return to On-Field programming, after a hiatus of 128 days due to the still on-going world pandemic. We have made some changes to our on-field delivery to comply with local and international guidelines, for example we are 1) seeking permission from local authorities in advance and making them aware we will be hosting training, 2) supporting our partners to provide washing stations and face masks to participants and 3) capping the number of participants at each programme to 30 to ensure we can safely distance whenever possible.
Whilst many countries are unfortunately still battling Covid-19, Tanzania has managed to return to their ‘new normal’ as of June 28th and have had no new reported cases since the 8th of May*. Tanzania is also a special place for CAC – we held our first programme there in 2008 and it is home to our first Community Impact Coach, Nico Achimpota.
In this case it was rather special then, that our first Purposeful Play programme in over four months was delivered by Nico in CAC’s home away from home. Nico delivered a three day Education Outside the Classroom training, which consisted of COVID-19 response, Child Rights and Environmental education, all using CAC’s curriculum and methodology.
CAC and our partners are in a unique situation, where the new normal will look different across all of the countries we partner in. It’s important we continue to work with our local leaders and experts, to deliver safe, fun and effective learning to the communities who need it most.
*accurate as of 10am 23/7/20
CAC’s COVID-19 Resource
July 30th Update. 96% of Coaches Across Continents (CAC) partners reported the mental well-being of youth they impact has been moderately or severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. CAC has adapted a specialized play-based educational resource from our existing Purposeful Play curriculum library which addresses issues such as anxiety, self-esteem, balancing emotions, stress, and loneliness.
The games are adaptable to varying numbers of participants and national restrictions (distancing, hygiene, one-person activity). As a result it can be used in contexts where isolation, social distancing and public hygiene measures are necessary. This resource is coming soon!
CAC is going to be #PartOfTheSolution as we fight this global COVID-19 pandemic. Education on COVID-19 is urgently needed by children globally. Many of the communities in which we work do not have access to running water and live in heavily congested communities making social distancing far more challenging. Donate to CAC’s work to support our play-based response to this crisis.
As the global leader in Purposeful Play, CAC have released a new Purposeful Play curriculum packet to educate communities, coaches, and children on best practices associated with the coronavirus and other communicable diseases. The COVID-19 resource has been distributed to all of our 75 impact partners in 45 countries addressing UNSDG3: Good Health and Well-being and UNSDG4: Quality Education.
The packet is divided into 2 general sections:
1. Resources that include
- Talking with Youth about Scary Diseases
- Myths & Facts
- Coaching Guidelines
- Research & Science Facts
2. Activities specially designed to focus on
- Best practices to avoid contracting the virus (hand washing, social distancing, and more)
- Best practices to avoid spreading the virus if you become infected (testing, isolation)
Unlike most CAC Purposeful Play curriculum all activities in this packet are designed to be played with as little physical contact as possible. For more information about our COVID-19 Curriculum contact us at
More on CAC’s COVID-19 Response
- CAC Founder Nick Gates presented our COVID-19 curriculum on Beyond Sport’s inaugural community chat on April 9th. Here is a link to the full recording of that chat.
- We are pleased to be a supporting signatory on Soccer Without Borders and America SCORES’ call to address youth isolation during the COVID-19 crisis.
- We are a supporter of the European Football for Development Network’s #SupporterofEachOther initiative.
Addressing UNSDG 4 in Sonora
Over the next three weeks the CAC team is back in Sonora, Mexico working with PE teachers from across the state to design and deliver Purposeful Play curriculum and Self-Directed Learning teaching methodology to address UNSDG 4: Quality Education.
In the past 4 years the partnership between Coaches Across Continents and Sonora Ministry of Education has provided opportunities for life-long learning and professional development to 500 PE teachers across Sonora state, Mexico, centered on equitable, quality education through sport. Now the Secretary has asked for us to continue consulting for the schools of Sonora, with the goal of reaching all school districts in the state (2,500+ schools and 600,000+ youth). Over 70% of teachers trained by CAC apply the curricula in their classes every week, and over 97% of respondents said they have learned useful tools to complement the objectives of their classes
How do we address UNSDG4: Quality Education in this partnership?
Global Goal Target 4.5: Eliminate gender disparities in education.
– 100% of these Sonoran educators agree that they are better prepared to create equal opportunities for girls and boys.
Global Goal Target 4A: Education facilities are child, disability and gender sensitive; learning
environments are safe, nonviolent, inclusive.
– Over 95% of teacher respondents now find ways to include students with physical and intellectual disabilities in their class.
Global Goal Target 4.7: Learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable
– Over 87% of respondents feel that because of CAC they can support their students in gaining skills
needed to promote sustainable development. The top reasons cited are: we can create consciousness
easily, the tools are extremely versatile, and the content is relevant.
Quotes from Sonora teachers
“ Following the CAC training I do not push troubled students aside if they are acting out. We do not always know their story and it is our role as educators to make them feel welcomed and safe in the environment we create.” – Raúl Arvizu Ríos
“Thanks to CAC I have created a game about a real issue for my students, the changes in US border laws under President Trump, in order to teach them their rights but also to discuss what it means to respect people who are different from you.” – Javier Salas Fierro
“I have seen the children change, for they have the highest self-esteem. Now they look for me if they
have any problems like violence within the family. They trust me and we are solving problems.” – Laura
Elena Olivia Gaxiola
“CAC’s curriculum allows me to address difficult issues in my class because the students can play a role
on the field that they cannot play in real life. It allows them to put themselves in each other’s shoes and
be respectful with each other.”- Veronica Rodríguez
Fun: is it fun-damental to ‘Education Outside the Classroom’?
Guest Blog- Sarah Huxley, PhD research student with the Open University.
‘Fun’ is a tricky, illusive and bouncy concept. Is it a sensation? Is it something you can create, or something that creates you? What places enable ‘having fun’? Is writing about fun, fun? Welcome to my world.
I am a PhD research student with the interdisciplinary research centre of RUMPUS at the Open University, and these are the types of thoughts that fill my head. We have recently started a collaboration with Coaches Across Continents (CAC) to explore, experience and understand what ‘fun’ means and does (its roles) in the context of CAC’s educational initiatives. I’ll be researching fun as a partially embedded researcher: this means participating in their staff skype meetings, running around ‘on field’ (probably out of breath) during their educational sessions; in order to experience if and how opportunities for fun arise. The research endeavour will by its very nature be a process of co-creation.
In particular, I’ll be looking and reflecting upon fun in the context of CAC’s active ‘Self Directed Learning’ approach – an approach embedded in ‘education outside the classroom’ and ‘purposeful play’. ‘Self-Directed learning’ was described to me by one staff member as “honouring that the individual – who is developing – who is learning in this world, is the expert of their experience.” According to interviews and organisational documents, Self-Directed Learning is a question-based methodology that offers an alternative to didactic classroom-based practices of learning. But more than this, it also confronts what ‘knowledge’ and ‘development’ (personal or social) intrinsically can be. CAC continually ask participants/players to think of these concepts in terms of diversity; challenging the assumptions and biases they bring to their communities and vice versa; and that we are all learners in motion, constantly being re shaped by the world around us, as well as if we choose, doing the reshaping.
Play and fun in CAC’s world are often used interchangeably and integral to its educational enterprise. At this stage in the research process, all I can say is that CAC’s view of ‘Purposeful Play’ is provocative and builds on values of choice. For example, one staff member in seeking to explain what Purposeful Play means, used the analogy of a Scandinavian playground he had heard of, whereby all the objects can be freely moved by players. In doing so, the “freedom of movement in that type of playground [provides] a world that pushes back at your learning, and you are not being confined by this pre-determined idea of this is how the slide is going to be…you get to play around. I don’t have to do any of the things that someone else has already done. From that the idea that play becomes more purpose driven: the play is more expressive of you as an individual, whereas it may be in a more traditional playground that you are not expressing yourself. You are just going up the slide, going across the monkey bars and repeat. Play with that bit of purpose is what points in a more positive direction.” This analogy suggests that CAC’s ‘on-field’ sessions are in a way a playground for all ages. There is a lot more teasing out to be done of the relationship and attributes that are ascribed to play and fun, but for now, there is plenty to slip and slide through.
For CAC, fun and play are a fundamental aspect of a progressive learning experience. This research will examine this claim. Firstly, by exploring the meanings of fun for different coaches (educators, mentors, youth leaders) in different cultures and contexts, and then secondly by turning to look at purposes (what does fun do/enable?) and why.
By the way, did I mention I have never played football?
CAC Launches Coach Accreditation Program
January 14th 2020. Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce the first-ever global Accredited Coaches initiative. Accredited Coaches are the only coaches in the world equipped with Education Outside the Classroom training to impact the UNSDGs and Safe-Guarding Child Rights through Purposeful Play curriculum and methodology.
After 10 years working and learning how to best deliver sport and education around the world, Coaches Across Continents is now offering the next step in facilitator training by providing standards and processes to become an official, Accredited Coach.
Accredited Coaches have the skills and resources to design, develop and implement locally-driven and sustainable Education Outside the Classroom programs for youth of all ages and to train other leaders to do the same. They are able to develop their players athletically, with an emphasis of success put on their intentional actions towards addressing specific UNSDG’s.
Becoming an Accredited Coach will improve that leader’s ability to create sustainable change based on the UNSDGs, to find and secure funding and award opportunities, to enhance their brand reputation, and to deliver expert consultancy in Purposeful Play.