UEFA Foundation for Children Award
We are delighted to have been awarded a UEFA Foundation for Children Award 2020 as a result of our partnership with the English Football Association safeguarding the rights of vulnerable children in Bangladesh.
Coaches Across Continents, supported by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the English Football Association (FA), the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) and UNHCR, will use the award to create Community Based Protection to safeguard the rights of vulnerable children in the Kutapalong Rohingya Refugee camp in Bangladesh. This project educates local Rohingya refugees to become football coaches across 25 different camps/districts within Cox’s Bazar 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.
For more information on this work please check out these blogs:
Every year the UEFA Foundation for Children Board of Trustees ask the 55 UEFA member associations to nominate charities in their countries. In 2020 the Board of Trustees decided to divide the total funding – €1m – equally between 20 nominees, with the 20 organisations each receiving a €50,000 grant.
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
All-Star team impacts Bangladeshi and Rohingya
This past month CAC headlined phase two of our Bangladesh initiative as the Official Social Responsibility Partner of the Asian Football Confederation. Along with professional coaches from the English FA, Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz delivered coaching education and Football Fun Festivals in three locations in Bangladesh, including the Kutapalong Rohingya Refugee camp, home to nearly 1,000,000 individuals including 500,000 children.
“We are using football to ensure and protect the rights of some of the most vulnerable individuals, children in refugee camps and underserved Bangladeshi children throughout the country.” – Brian Suskiewicz, CAC CEO
This initiative provides grassroots coaching expertise to both Bangladeshi and Rohingya coaches, aligning with CAC’s new Community Empowerment to Ensure Human Rights Guiding Principles, which were released on World Refugee Day. In addition to the aforementioned refugee camp, training sites included the town of Cox’s Bazar and the Bangladesh Football Federation House in the capital, Dhaka.
Along with Alena Moulton, Kevin Coleman, Taff Rahman, and Anwar Uddin, the CAC/English FA team educated 174 coaches who will impact 21,390 children, while also hosting three Football Fun Festivals around the country. This is the second phase, concluding the first year of the initiative. Further plans will continue the partnership well into 2020. Other partners include the Jaago Foundation and the UNHCR in Bangladesh. Of special note, the Jaago Foundation had 50+% female participation during this initiative, which was the first time over 90% of them had played football!
For further information, please read the project overview from December, 2018 or contact CAC at .
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.
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.