• Rohingya: From Genocide Victims to Safeguarding Children

    October 26, 2019. The Asian Football Confederation and CAC initiative to benefit Rohingya refugees located in the Kutapalong refugee camp is nearly one year old. Supported greatly by the English FA, the BFF, and the UNHCR, we have conducted three separate trainings to Rohingya refugees from 25 different areas of the camp to empower them to become football coaches who will look after the nearly 10,000 children that are directly in their care. It’s a concept called Community-Based Protection, the idea that community members are best able to look after one another.

    “As a victim of genocide, we the Rohingya want to improve our nation through football. This program helps us to ensure the protection of children.  ” – Mohammed Amin

    This latest training, conducted by CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz, FA Coach Taff Rahman, and West Ham United Academy coach Liton Zaman reached a key new milestone. Because of the consistent work with the same group of Rohingya coaches and their willingness to embrace our coaching methodology, the coaches are now more freely opening up regarding their experiences and their future goals. We were able to conduct a full day of Child Safeguarding education, using CAC curriculum games to illustrate children’s rights while they made key promises to protect the children in their care.

    “We can show the whole world we are a civil nation and can educate and protect children with fun football.” – Mohammed Ismael

    Please watch this world premier explaining our initiative and Community Based Protection.

    Initiatives such as this one take a sustained effort over many months and years in order to create long-lasting impact. It is an honor to have a multi-stakeholder partnership with five organizations who are committed to creating this impact. We will continue to mentor these Rohingya refugees through 2020 through coaching education to create Community Based Protection as well as ongoing support through equipment donations

    27 Photos from Kutapalong refugee camp

    For more information or to support this initiative please email:

    Mohammed Amin and Mohammed Ismael

  • An Eye-Opener in Bangladesh

    Liton A. Zaman, West Ham United Academy Coach/ The FA, provides his thoughts delivering coaching education in Bangladesh.  This initiative between the Asian Football Confederation, Coaches Across Continents, and the FA is using football to create sustainable social development in communities by educating Bangladeshi Football Federation coaches and impacting Bangladeshi children.  This past week we were in the northern city of Sylhet.

    What an experience it has been in Sylhet.  They said it was an honour for them to have us, but I think it was an honour for us to be there and work with great people that have a love and passion in helping young people, the environment they live in, and for the love of the game.  Over the past three days, three coaches (myself, Taff Rahman from the FA, and Brian Suskiewicz from Coaches Across Continents) have been educating Bangladesh Football Federation coaches on best practices in working with children, and how to use football to address social issues.   Many of these coaches came from rural areas and this was their first-ever coaching course.

    What an excellent project this is. Coming from an elite environment at West Ham United where our focus is to develop the individuals to become the next Premier League player, to a whole new challenge working with young people and coaches where the aim is to develop community leaders. The number one goal is to help coaches and young people to address social issues through sports and engagement. It has been an honour for me personally to be able to contribute towards this amazing program thanks to the AFC, along with the BFF and the English FA.

    ~Liton A. Zaman

    27 Photos from Sylhet

  • Rohingya Refugees and UN SDGs

    Over 900,000 Rohingya refugees are now living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This is 3x bigger than any other refugee camp in the world.  Starting last year, renewed violence including reports of rape, murder, and arson forced nearly all the Rohingya people living in the Rakhine state of Myanmar to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, and instantly fracturing their society.

    Imagine all the people living in Austin, Texas fleeing en masse with no possessions, money, or communication – with family & friends permanently separated… or worse.

    The UNHCR has taken the monumental task to lead the care for this population, including feeding, housing, and other basic needs. But these services only address so much. Refugees are coming from an instantly fractured society and arriving at a place where they might not know anyone.  Many have been permanently separated from families, neighbors, and friends.  Individuals, especially children, single women, the elderly, and the disabled are at increased vulnerability to suffer additional harm. It is here that other organizations, oftentimes NGOs, look to work with the UNHCR to provide vital services including Community Based Protection.

    Coaches Across Continents, supported by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF), have started a 6-month pilot program to use football to create Community Based Protection.  Our program is using football to rebuild that fabric of society, and those networks, so that people are able to care for their families, their new neighbors, and each other – so that everyone is better supported and better protected, and therefore at reduced risk for experiencing additional harm.

    Our On-Field interview with Adam Nord (UNHCR Community Based Protection) explains this concept further in this 3+ minute video.

    “I see that this program… is a very important part of this as well.  It’s about using a very strong community-based approach to train new young refugee coaches who are then going to go back into their community to work with and to support other youth / other individuals in a way that engages and strengthens those society ties.  That’s complimented within CAC’s trainings on child protection, violence, and other issues, allows them then to engage through sports… in discussing those issues that are affecting their communities”

    “It’s an excellent example of a community based approach”     – Adam Nord, UNHCR Child Protection

    Over the course of the 6-month pilot supported by the AFC, Coaches Across Continents has trained 75 local Rohingya refugees to become soccer coaches across 25 different camps/districts within Cox’s Bazar. Equipment has been provided by the AFC and BFF so that they can engage boys and girls in their community on a weekly basis, and begin to impact some of the 500,000 children under the age of 17 living in the camps.  Throughout the year the newly minted coaches will receive communication, mentoring, and support from the BFF and CAC.  The 6-month pilot will culminate with a Football Fun Festival in May, 2019, with an eye towards continuing and expanding this program as funding allows.

    To support or learn more about this initiative, please contact CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz at

  • Beginning in Bangladesh

    December 10, 2018.  Dhaka, Bangladesh.  This past week we implemented programming through our partnership with the Asian Football Confederation.  We are in Dhaka, the capital of the 8thmost populous country in the world.  In addition to the AFC, we are also working with the Bangladesh Football Federation and the Jaago Foundation (UNSDG17: Partnerships for the Goals).   Our work will benefit thousands of underprivileged children throughout Bangladesh by empowering Jaago volunteers to use CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom methodology and curriculum.

    We believe, football (sports) is the one of the most powerful tools to bring a positive impact for any nation. This is something, which represents youth, energy & friendship all together. – Jaago Foundation

    With a strong background in classroom education and extracurricular activities for disadvantaged children, the Jaago Foundation is a natural partner.  42 volunteers came to Dhaka from across the country, and we implemented a curriculum that will address UNSDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being and UNSDG #4: Quality Education; while also implementing a strong program to address Safeguarding Children in Sport.  This is especially relevant, especially after our global work last month for Universal Children’s Day.

    “I am a passionate traveler, I often go to rural areas in Bangladesh to teach tribal children. They don’t speak Bengali but through football I connect. Now, I can teach them health and lifestyle through CAC games as football is a global language.” – Rafat (Kazi): Jaago, Dhaka.

    Stay tuned next week as our AFC/BFF partnership will bring us into the world’s largest refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, home of over 900,000 refugees including half a million children under the age of 17.