• The Right to Purposeful Play in Malawi

    CAC Global Citizen Libbie Randolph writes about her final week with CAC in Lilongwe, Malawi.
    In Chichewa, the local language in Lilongwe, Malawi, Kusewera means ‘to play.’ I could not think of a more fitting name for the partner organization that we worked with in Malawi this week. Every afternoon around 2pm, the sounds of children laughing, swinging, running, and bouncing balls filled Kusewera Village. In addition to the visible joy that the facilities brought to these children, our on-field sessions and off-field discussions proved how dedicated the Kusewera team is to advocating for children’s right to play and learning through #EducationOutsideoftheClassroom. During our week-long program, we focused primarily on UNSDG 4, Quality Education, and UNSDG 5, Gender Equality, as well as child rights. On-field, many of the 35 games that we played sparked discussions about how we, as coaches and educators, can advocate for and protect children’s rights in our community, such as the right to play. We also played games that lead to conversations about how empowering women and girls in the community and the workplace benefits not only women, but the whole society. By the end of the week, the participants were all enthusiastic about using the CAC curriculum and games to implement #PurposefulPlay in Kusewera programming for the local community.
    I could not have asked for a better program to conclude my time as a Global Citizen with CAC. Although I wish I had more time, I’m leaving Malawi having learned so much from the Kusewera educators and the community. From teaching us songs and dances to sharing nsima with us during lunchtime, the Kuswera community has been more than welcoming from the moment we arrived. Despite it being the first time that CAC has partnered with Kusewera, the discussions that we had assured me that the educators prioritize the children in their community. The statement, “Change starts with us,” was repeated often throughout the week, and it is very apparent that the educators and coaches believe that. At the end of the week, the local program leader, Jordan, thanked us and said, “Before working with CAC, we would just provide the balls and equipment for the children to play. Now, we are more aware and prepared as educators to participate in the play and make it more meaningful.” To me, that statement captures the essence of what CAC strives for through the goals of #EducationOutsideoftheClassroom and #PurposefulPlay.”
  • A Programme That Packed SWAGA

    This week, we worked with Sports with a Goal Africa (SWAGA) in Mogotio, Kenya. Although we had an abbreviated program, we played a total of 22 games that reinforced #EducationOutsideoftheClassroom and #PurposefulPlay through on-field training sessions, game reviews, game creation, and off-field discussions. Most of the games focused on two UNSDGs, UNSDG 5 – Gender Equality and UNSDG 10 – Reduced Inequality. We also had an impactful discussion about Child Rights and debated local opinions about corporal punishment. This discussion concluded with a Child Rights Policy that each participant signed, which outlined how they, as teachers and coaches, can help to protect the rights of children in their communities.
    We spent a total of 3 days on-field with SWAGA participants, most of them were teachers in the girls’ boarding high school where the training was taking place, Kimng’orom Girls Secondary School. It was a positive opportunity for the pupils to see their teachers learning new games and wonderful to see the teachers engaging the students and coaching the games that they had learned. I feel that Kimng’orom is in a good position to impact the lives of the community around it through #PurposefulPlay since now we have worked with many of the teachers to share knowledge about sports for social impact.
  • A Week of Reflection and Growth for Green Kenya

    Most of the time when one hears about On-Field training, they picture running around the football pitch with a ball. However, during Green-Kenya’s week of On-Field training with Coaches Across Continents, our games focused less on the physical aspect of the sport and more on addressing different social issues, questioning harmful practices in the community, teaching Self-Directed Learning methodology, and encouraging critical thinking with the participants. With this in mind, we focused on child rights as well as the UNSDG#4: Quality Education during our week On-Field with CAC. At Green Kenya, we strongly believe in participatory education. By exposing children to open discussion and encouraging their input, we can teach them that their opinions are important.

    Our first on-field training with CAC provided us at Green-Kenya with a bird’s eye view of our program. We gained valuable learning experiences, from working with youth leaders, to networking with other coaches, to handling unforeseen situations.This year will mark the 5th year since Green-Kenya was founded specifically to implement CAC Curriculum in Nairobi (especially addressing UNSDG13: Climate Action) and the experience that we have gained from the training is very important in the next phase of the organization. Aside from the lessons learned in on-field training, the Green-Kenya team had valuable discussions with Jamie to reflect on the last 4 years since G-K was founded – what worked well, what did not work, and what can be done to improve the delivery of our sessions to meet the needs of our participants. I am confident that the on-field games and off-field reflection with CAC will enhance Green-Kenya’s ability to help youth discover and develop their potential by teaching them to set goals and make effective decisions.

  • Empowering Child Rights in Nairobi

    July 17, 2019.  CAC’s Jamie Tomkinson (and Michael Johnson Young Leader) is leading programs this month in East Africa.  Follow along as he implements Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom in Uganda and Kenya.

    Fun fact #1: Beyond Hoops are a Sport for Development organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya, however they started out in Vancouver, Canada!

    This was a great first year programme with there being many highlights – from the crazy dances we learned together to the thought-provoking conversations. We emphasised a focus on Child’s Rights and building self-esteem and confidence in children, particularly young women and girls. The group learned how to use Purposeful Play to discuss these topics and were very appreciative even after the first day. A real highlight for us was just how engaged and involved the participants wanted to be – they were open and honest that they were sceptical at first about how we could use play and physical activities, to address such important issues – but they kept an open mind and left upskilled and with a new sense of enthusiasm, proclaiming that they couldn’t wait to play the games in their own communities.

    We also delivered a very worthwhile session using the Coaches Across Continents ‘Child Protection Guidelines’. Half of the room were split on should corporal punishment be illegal or not in schools? We therefore facilitated a 50/50 debate on the matter. The coaches mentioned four types of Child abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal abuse. After a lengthy discussion, some of the coaches who thought corporal punishment was the right way to discipline a child agreed that there are other ways to communicate to children without using force or methods that may harm them physically and mentally.

    Fun Fact #2:  CAC is a global leader in Child Protection working with UNICEF as a pioneering member of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, and publishing last month the Community Empowerment to Ensure Human Rights Guiding Principles.

    34 participants joined us throughout the week and will be using our curriculum to impact 1.3K children and young people in Nairobi.  #WhatsYourLegacy?

  • Bus-Bound for Busia

    July 15, 2019.  Long-time Community Impact Coach Salim Blanden from Mbrara leads a CAC training for the first time.

    I jump on a Kenya bound bus, but my final destination is Busia near the Uganda-Kenya borders. On the bus with me is Jamie Craig Tomkinson who I have ran a program with in Jinja with X-SUBA. Very tired from the last program we both slept off immediately once we entered the bus and within just two hours we had reached our destination (Busia).

    On the first day in Busia, we thought it was a local market day as we experienced a big crowd but we were told it’s a normal day because Busia is a very over populated area being a business area because of nearing the Uganda-Kenya border.

    Jamie and I are both ready to run our programs with YES Busia, one of the organizations that is partnering with CAC to implement Purposeful Play. We are supposed to run separate programs on two fields in Busia; one of the programs on the nearby local field at a primary school to be run by me and another in Masafu village to be run by Jamie. YES Busia is the only organization in Busia that is using sports to reach out to the local community to teach about the most pressing social issues which include on HIV (UNSDG3: Health & Wellness), education (UNSDG4: Quality Education), poverty (UNSDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth), and the environment (UNSDG13: Climate Action). Ongatai Amosias, the leader of YES Busia, is working with young leaders in his office to bring about the positive social change. On the program with me is Mary, Moureen, Flavia and Dorcas who are acting as co-facilitators and also helping on other logistics. Mary and Moureen are helping out in running some games because they have been teaching CAC games in primary schools that work with YES Busia.

    First day for me to run such a program on my own is an interesting day for me. There are so many women on the program compared to men, something that is not so common in most communities I have worked with. Most of these are teachers from nearby primary schools and others are locals from the nearby villages.

    Being the second year CAC is running programs in Busia, there are some returnees from the last program and they can quickly understand the games, and some teachers have knowledge about the games because Mary and Moureen, the YES facilitators, have been running these games in different primary schools. Dorcas is also one of the facilitators of YES Busia and works with Mary and Moureen to run games in schools. Dorcas is helping out with making sure we have balls, bibs and cones for use at the pitch and takes care of everything but also joins in to play with other participants after to participate. She asks questions and is very confident and in our afternoon meeting, Jamie thinks she can be a potential CIC from YES Busia.

    The participants loved the games and wants CAC to come back next year. My highlight was when we played a game about HIV Myths (Ballack Clears HIV Myths). We had a lengthy discussion about HIV after the game to learn about the myths and also teach about HIV and people requested we talk a lot about HIV. My wish to the organization to help mobilise and educate more people about HIV in the villages of Busia.

    Coaches Across Continents worked with 156 participants over 5 days, impacting 18,000 children in the Busia district of Uganda.

  • X-cellent X-SUBA (Jinja, Uganda)

    July 13, 2019.  CAC’s Jamie Tomkinson (and Michael Johnson Young Leader) is leading programs this month in East Africa.  Follow along as he implements Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom in Uganda and Kenya.

    X-SUBA is in their first year of partnership with CAC, and as such our first visit has everyone full of enthusiasm. During the programme we adapted many traditional CAC games to use hands rather than feet, as most of the coaches were from a netball or basketball background. They were thankful for this and it has helped them see how they can use CAC curriculum more in their day to day sessions.  From the start, we developed a coach personal development policy which brought up some really good discussions about self-reflection and improving our own practice.  Throughout the week we focused on coaching guidelines, feedback during practice coaching sessions, and learning how to use CAC’s Workplace platform to continue developing throughout the year. We also had a great session on creating and adapting games and it’s fantastic to hear that X-SUBA will be delivering these in their own communities in the near future!

    My personal highlight was during one of CAC’s environment games addressing UNSDG#13: Climate Action called “Pick up and Get Clean.”  Once all the cones etc had been picked up, they then stated running around the field collecting actual trash from all over. While this was no doubt down to competitiveness, we used this demonstrate the impact this game can have and provide and enthusiasm to kids to ‘pick up and get clean’. Everyone was running around collecting trash, we then referenced this back to our own lives and how often do we daily walk past rubbish and not pick it up because it ‘isn’t our job’, when in fact, it’s everyone’s job. We then collected all the trash and put it in a nearby rubbish bin!  #WhatsYourLegacy?

    A total of 30 participants had their first experience of Purposeful Play and will now go onto to deliver Education Outside of the Classroom to 1.5k in the beautiful town of Jinja, Uganda.