• Educating 100,000+ on World AIDS Day

    November 24, 2014.  World AIDS Day is only one week away! What are you going to do to help stop the spread of HIV?

    Coaches Across Continents continues our practice of providing a free football resource packet for important global days. In one week, on December 1, 2014, we are helping to educate hundreds of thousands of people through our network of partners and through groups who have reached out to us for assistance.  Our five HIV/AIDS games are designed to educate coaches and players on the facts about HIV, as well as dispelling harmful myths about the virus.  In addition, we are looking to trigger behavior change in communities regarding sexual education and HIV/AIDS awareness in terms of knowing your status, using protection, and promoting healthy sexual activity.

    Our games center on the ideal that we should all be aware of our options when it comes to sex and once we have that knowledge, we can make the right choices for our own bodies, and for our lives. The more good choices we make, the better protected we are from viruses and infections including HIV, as well as unwanted/teenage pregnancy. These messages are crucial for all of us, and at the appropriate age – which varies according to the individual – children have a right to this information. Our games bring these lessons to life with a ball, and more importantly, a coach who creates the safe space for those who want to learn, those who are willing to ask questions, and those who are open to challenging cultural and societal norms surrounding sexual education.

    Approximately seven weeks ago we provided a free resource packet for leaders to use in their schools, with their teams, and in their communities. This packet went out to over 500 communities worldwide, which will impact over 100,000 individuals.  These games have been played in the build-up to World AIDS Day on December 1st.  Many of our implementing partner programs are already familiar with these games as they have been a staple in the CAC curriculum for the past several years to promote positive behavior change in individuals and communities.

    Want to get in on the worldwide sport for social impact movement? Contact  for a free resource packet.

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  • Football for Health & Wellness

    We can all agree that being active and playing sports is an incredibly healthy decision for our physical well-being. More and more people are beginning to understand how important a role sports can also play in improving our emotional well-being. CAC uses football to teach both of these messages. We also use football games to educate our participants, who then educate the youth they work with, on how to stay healthy, to practice good hygiene, to think about the food and fluids they put into their bodies, and to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.

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    At the most fundamental level we teach Health & Wellness games in order to get the heart pounding, the lungs gasping for air, the muscles aching, the sweat pouring forth. One such game is Marta for Health & Wellness. In this game there are cones scattered about in a space with about 3-4 yards between each one. We will have two groups in this game – one group will work, the other will rest. Each will go for 30 seconds and in that time they have to get to as many cones as possible doing different movements at each one. For example, the first round they might touch the cone with their hand igniting more of a speed and changing direction challenge. Then they might jump over the cone with two feet – over and back – before they move on to another cone. Then maybe one foot, then the other. There are all sorts of variations to this game, but they all have the same purpose – get to work!

    Either after we finish, or between each exercise, we ask the participants how they feel. We see what information we can pull out of them, not as a test, but to help them understand why it is important to think about exercising in ways that extend beyond becoming better footballers. We ask pointed questions, as we do not want to lecture but, rather, to encourage the participants to think for themselves. In this manner our discussions about health and wellness become locally relevant and we learn about the various cultural factors that influence our ability to stay healthy, in body and in mind.

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    These Health & Wellness games lay a strong foundation for us to build from when going more in-depth with topics such as nutrition and sexual health. One of our long-time partners, Whizzkids United, has the most comprehensive HIV education program that we have encountered in our work. Their new Football for Hope Center is at their office next to the hospital they partner with in Edendale, a community outside of Durban, South Africa. This relationship allows them to not only educate about HIV/AIDS but to also incorporate HIV testing and counseling, and thorough, long-term follow-up care into their programs. It is small-scale, but it is big impact. Our role in this partnership is helping Whizzkids capitalize on their charge of the Football for Hope Center. Their coaches learn all of our games with particular attention paid to our HIV module. These games embody the messages about sexual health meaning whatever happens during the game is what shapes the discussion.

    Our Monitoring & Evaluation shows that before our program only 29% of our participants could teach young people how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS using a football game, whereas after a CAC training, that number jumps to 93%.

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