• Conversations. Policies. Community.

    August 22nd, 2018. Read about our On-Field program in Unguja, Zanzibar where Coaches Across Continents Founder, Nick Gates, works with an incredible team of our CAC Network with local community leaders on major relevant social issues. 

    Zanzibar – a name which conjures up diverse images; traditional, historic, poetic, evolutionary. The white sails of dhows by moonlight, the ancient wooden doors of Stone Town, the historical evidence everywhere of cultures merged in the creation of a vibrant community. The traditions of the past predominate but, as was proven, there is willingness to consider locally identified alternatives for the future.

    Unguja, the largest of the islands of Zanzibar, was the venue of CAC’s recent programme. Hosted in the national stadium, CAC’s founder Nick Gates was joined by Community Impact Coaches Nico and Fatma, Michael Johnson Young Leader, Khalid, and supported by board members, Bill Gates and Dr. Judith Gates for a five day programme which became noted for candour in openly address challenging social issues.

    This was CAC’s seventh visit to Unguja. Mutual trust has clearly been established over the preceding years. Following a warm welcome from local dignitaries, CAC suggested topics for consideration, topics which had previously emerged as being most relevant for the community. The planned focus was on Child Rights and Child Protection, Women’s Rights, Health and Skills for Life, with time set aside for reflection and consideration of a National Curriculum. On field curriculum activities, designed to raise awareness, were followed by classroom activities in which local policies for change were created.

    Child Protection was hotly discussed. Sexual abuse emerged as a country wide problem. Possible solutions each presented challenges. Fear of reprisal for those who reported abuse, plus concern about being the focus of community disapproval, compounded the situation. Following extensive discussion, coaches and teachers signed to indicate their commitment to being part of the solution. They agreed to play CAC Child Rights games, to ask questions and listen to children, to create safe spaces, to be a good role model and to NEVER abuse a child. Several group members plan to take what they had learned to create a Child Protection Policy in their local workplace. The message is spreading.

    Women’s Rights was another hotly discussed topic. Male dominance was readily acknowledged as being embedded within the culture, based upon religious and historical norms. Some progress is underway in  changing the traditional roles of women. The need for women to develop a ‘confident voice’ was seen as paramount. What was obvious was that women were less outspoken when men were present, both on the field and in the classroom. Their newly created Womens’ Rights Policy highlighted the need for changing attitudes towards girls’ education, accompanied by increasing educational knowledge. Women’s health was highlighted as being of paramount importance, with reproductive health factors, including contraception and family planning, seen as key.

    Throughout the week CAC met with and offered support to local organisations working on the same social issues. For example, the CAC curriculum on HIV/AIDS awareness was shared with a local programme coordinator. In the face of such a productive, although provocative, week’s programme, it was gratifying that CAC was asked to come back for a further three years.

    Let the conversation continue. Let the policies be implemented. Let the community benefit!