Insights from 3 Community Impact Coaches
September 3rd 2015. “Monday, all 38 coaches met us at the field, many with no shoes. They were very shy and didn’t know what to expect.” These are the words of Song Sarim, a coach from Phnom Penh’s Indochina Starfish Foundation. “We have many new coaches here for the first time.”
Similarly, Sarim is working in Siem Reap as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) for the first time. As the week comes to a close, Sarim feels extremely satisfied with the growth he has witnessed on the field. That shyness he saw on the first day in each of the coaches quickly melted away, and he could feel their energy on the field. He especially noticed this in the female coaches from Globalteer – the group Coaches Across Continents is partnered with this week. Over half of this week’s coaches were female, as Globalteer strives to empower women in the community. “Everyone seemed to be happy all week and I saw many strong, good players.”
The other two CIC’s who joined us this week seemed to agree. For Yim Sovath, this came to life in a game focused on gender equity. Players are instructed to “run like a girl.” What often happens – and surely enough what happened this week – is that all players, boys and girls, start running with their arms up and begin prancing around. It is always funny to see female coaches do this, women who normally run just as fast as the men.
Sovath comments that this game is very important for everyone – not just women. The conversation at the end of the game helps us to realize where these stereotypes of men and women come from and what we can do to change them as coaches. “I also enjoy the game because it is fun; everyone is laughing, and we also learn a lot,” Sovath smiles.
Srey Mau, the third CIC working with us this week, was able to witness female empowerment beyond our daily training. As a returning CIC in Siem Reap, Srey Mau knows how important it is to encourage girls every day, both on and off the field. She loves games focused on gender equity because they remind her and the other coaches that girls can do the same things as boys, even on the football field.
Srey Mau was able to witness this first-hand as she attended the training of one of our coaches at Stepping Stones Cambodia. At a U14 girls’ practice, she watched girls use their voice, share their dreams for the future, and make their own decisions. Srey Mau believes that successful trainings like this remind women in Cambodia that they are strong and they can do whatever they set their minds to.
Most importantly, all three of these coaches had a blast, as did the many coaches from Globalteer. “From laughter, conversations, everything – you could tell the coaches were having fun…a very fun week!”