• FIRST BLOG OF 2018: CONAN IN HAITI

    February 3rd, 2018. First-Time  on-field as new CAC staff, Pedro, writes about his experience working with GOALS Haiti during the ASK for Choice program in Leogane. 

     Before starting my first trip as staff member of CAC i didn’t know anything about my destination: Haiti. It’s hard to hear from Haiti being in Spain -after visit MUPANAH one can imagine the reason-so i didn’t know what I was going to find.

    After a quick pass through Port au Prince we arrived in Leogane for work during the week with our partner in the city, GOALS Haiti.

    Once in Haiti, and Leogane in particular, this place stopped being a stranger to me. I learned, in only five days and a half, about the importance of this city in the history of the country.

    Some examples, it was in Leogane where the taino queen Anacaona raised up against the abuses of the Spanish invaders. Since then she represents the courage of the Haitian woman and her story has been immortalized in books, songs and is represented in a large statue that presides over the main square of Leogane.

    Leogane is one of the sport’s capitols in the country. It is home to five major league sports teams -remember that it’s a city with 90.000 population-. And it’s also important because music festivals and vodou religion too (did you know vodou is a religion? I didn’t either!).

    At the same time, I had the opportunity to visit the communities where GOALS Haiti is working. It was really impressive to see the large number of children participating in the sessions and how the community respected these moments. I have seen different trainings like this in many other countries and believe me, it’s not easy to get this picture.

    Why am I telling all this? Because as the TV show “Conan in Haiti” -he’s in the country on the same days that we are – we want people to know that Haiti of course it’s not always the country it is portrayed to be – and you will know from the first moment you set foot there.

  • Reducing Teen Pregnancy through Soccer

    On December 22nd, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Nicholaus Achimpota, from Tanzania writes about running a CAC program in Kigoma, alone. Nico is pictured above from another training he helped run in Pemba, Zanzibar. 

    My name is Nicholaus Achimpota. I have a Bachelor of Sports Science and Management at Ndejje University in Uganda. I have worked with CAC since 2008. In the last 10 years I have worked with the government as a sports officer in Kigoma, and for 3 years as the Chamwino district update.

    My job is training and monitoring the sports teachers, conducting workshops and seminars to club leaders, acting as the assistant registrar of the sports association and clubs planning yearly sports programs in my district. I work with 120 primary schools and 28 secondary schools.

    This week it was my first time to run the CAC program alone. It was not easy to believe that CAC would trust me to run the program in country, completely alone, without the leader from CAC staff – but they did!

    I was very happy to have this opportunity and I want to say thank you to all of the CAC staff for giving me this work. This means that I opened the door for other CAC members to work in their communities without the direct on-field overseeing of CAC.

    In the first day the participants didn’t believe what happened. During the introduction for the Sports Officer, Mr. Abdul, everyone was surprised that the program was being ran by me (Nicholaus) because the last year was ran by CAC’s Emily from America.

    At the end of the first day one of the coaches, Anastasia Busumabi, came to me and she said “Coach Nico, we understood the way you taught and how to use soccer to teach social issues. Because of the language barriers, we have feared to ask questions in previous years.” Another teacher Singo said “By bringing you here, it means even us we can do the same as you”. Which is the purpose of the Community Impact Coach program – to empower coaches to be leaders and role models for other coaches in their communities.

    The five-day program was based on how to use CAC games to prevent social issues specifically teenage pregnancy. So, we emphasized the games for conflict prevention, skills for life, HIV and gender equality.

    The participants impressed me, and motivated me to do all the best to make sure they understood how to use soccer to teach social issues to the community.

    It was very fun after four years to be back again to Kigoma and enjoy the nice food that they had to offer. Migebuka is the type of fish available at Lake Tanganyika and was my favorite during my stay. On Thursday afternoon I helped the teachers learn how to play Woodball.

    To be honest it was a great experience for me to learn and share skills with teachers in my country. Moreover, I never forgot to sing with them the song “Amatosa” and different concentration games. Nothing is impossible under the sun. It is important that all communities benefit with the CAC saying “Smile and solve your problem”.

    I am the first Community Impact Coach to run a program alone in Kigoma.

    Many more will follow the way. Goodbye Kigoma.

  • Chala Bagundi! Tales from Hyderabad with Magic Bus

    November 29th 2017. Global Citizen, Heather “Action” Jackson reflects on her week in Hyderabad, India with Magic Bus for the Coaches Across Continents program with SDL Charlie Crawford.

    My journal is full of new words, phrases and slang I’ve learned here in India. A couple of my favorites come from our week with Magic Bus outside of Hyderabad. “Chala Bagundi” loosely translates to “Awesome!” Magic Bus, whose name derives from the “magic” that happens through the program and its use of sport as a catalyst for education, is Chala Bagundi, as was our time together.

    In a retreat setting at the University of Forest Biodiversity in Dulapally village, we spent time on the (homemade) field, in the classroom and in the dorms in the evening. Once again, these youth mentors and coaches were so inspiring and impressive; many had traveled overnight by bus to be a part of this program, showed no signs of weariness and were ready from the start to laugh, sing, play and develop as leaders with CAC.

    Highlights included:

    32 games over 3 days, including a focus on female empowerment and child rights. A favorite was a version of Scary Soccer the MB youth mentors developed using moves from Cricket, Kabaddi, and Handball. Creativity + Local Flavor = Chala Bagundi.

    Routine sing alongs in the classroom, including songs about child rights, Magic Bus, India and of course, love. While we focused on having a voice on the field and taking that into life, these voices underscored the leaders’ sense of, and commitment to, community. Thank heavens they didn’t ask for a repeat solo from Charlie and I.

    Playing Dam Sharats, also known as action movie charades in Hindi, with the whole crew. Sometimes it can be hard not to understand a word people are saying, but we can all understand the universal language of laughter. Suffice to say, you can only hope to get Titanic as your challenge.

    Rock on Magic Bus. Stay Chala Bagundi!

  • Changing Lives Through Sports

    November 24th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Shamsher, writes about his experience working alongside Coaches Across Continents as a partner with ChildReach Nepal and a new member of the Community Impact Coach Initiative on-field with Go Sports Nepal

    There are many organization that works with CAC in partnership, among them Childreach Nepal is one of them who uses sports as a tool to educate children outside of classroom. In 2016 I attended CAC training as a participant with Mark Gabriel the Self-Directed Learning Coach on-field. I was an intern during that time and later on I was selected for the Training and Monitoring Officer position at ChildReach Nepal. Fortunately this year also I got a chance to work with Mark Gabriel again and learn from his coaching skills because I was inspired by them. In the two week program with Childreach Nepal at two different districts Dolakha and Sindhupalchowk Mark Gabriel and Ashlyn Hardie saw my coaching abilities and improvements. They offered me to join CAC team as Community Impact Coach to deliver training to the Go Sports Nepal program in Kathmandu. I was extremely happy when I heard that and I am also really grateful for the offer that was provided to me. Go Sports Nepal is also a partner of Coaches Across Continents who uses the sport for development methodology.

    Most of the participants were from different fields like NGO’s, local schools, football coaches, the Women’s National Team Rugby Coach, and local male and female football players. As the youngest participant, everyone was asking me how I became a coach at the age of just 23. I was little bit nervous on the first day but I tried to hide my nervousness and showed my confidence. When I was leading the game “Say No to Child Labor”, which I adapted from “Say No to Trafficking”, in the last round of the game I introduced a policeman to catch the broker and a player who represented a policeman came to me and he wanted to take picture with me in the middle of game. I told him to go and catch a tagger who represented a broker in the community….but he was said “No no please, one photo with you”. I was laughing at him, still he was ignoring me and wants to take a photo. That was one of the most unique parts for me.

    Since, I am from local organization there are lots of possibility to work together in the upcoming future thanks to the networking that CAC initiated. I also networked with some other local organizations and schools that will be fruitful in the coming days. For example, mid-week after the training I went to Football stadium ANFA with Mark and Ashlyn to watch live game between NEPAL and Philippines for the Asian Cup Qualifier game which was also one of the highlighted part of the week! On the next day after the training we visited Vajra Academy, a Green School in Kathmandu, which took 1.5 hours bus ride from field. The school is little bit far from the main city and it has been doing great work such as aware people on different issues that they are facing in the community and also provided opportunities for students and villagers to maintain quality of life in the future. We then also discussed the possibilities of collaborating and working together in the coming days. At the end of program I sang a song “Che Che Cooley” and dance with all participants which was superb ending!

    This was an amazing week for me. I got a chance to lead many sessions and give feedback to other coaches through coach-backs, which has made me a role-model for them. I am very thankful to Mark Gabriel, Ashlyn Hardie, Ian and JK for giving me a chance to become CIC and helping me to become better coach. Personally, I would like to thank especially Mark Gabriel for starting the opportunity and networking with Vajra Academy. I look forward to working with CAC again in the future.

     

     

     

  • Knowledge and Gratitude

    August 10th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Elvis Nshimba, writes about the experience Coaches Across Continents gave him to work on-field with CAC partner training4changeS

    Our two weeks in northern South Africa, in a village called Bennde Mutale which bordered Zimbabwe and Mozambique, were spent working with and creating impacts alongside community members and leaders. From there, we spent two wonderful weeks in Cape Town. The first week we played games with coaches, teachers and community members and through those games educated them on how to use sport for social impact. At the end of this week, the participants were able to coach and adapt games on their own!

    My last week was the most beautiful! We worked with students in different schools, which allowed me as a teacher, to acquire another experience learning from others. We worked with the local coaches of training4changeS to strengthen their capacities to educate and create social change for their pupils through sport.

    Because of this trip with Coaches Across Continents, I was able to see the ocean for the first time! It was a great pleasure! I enjoyed my stay in this part of the country, although it was extremely cold. Because of this opportunity to travel with CAC I was able to learn a lot, including realizing the differences between people. I would like to express my gratitude to Coaches Across Continents (CAC) for aligning me on this trip, and to my organization the Malaika Foundation (MALAIKA) for supporting me during my time working away.

  • Clouds and Humans

    August 3rd, 2017. Self-Directed Learning Educator, Ashlyn Hardie, reflects on week in Vancouver, B.C. working with partners Hope and Health

    In my mind, the best thing about humans is that they are all different. Unfortunately, in my mind, the worst thing about the world is that it makes being different something to be punishable by ridicule, physical abuse, public shaming, inequality, ect. But why? If everything were beautiful, nothing would be. If everyone were smart, no one would be. If everything and everyone were the exact same, none of the qualities we love about ourselves and our loved ones (the qualities that make them/us unique or special in our minds) would mean anything. If everyone is everything then we are all just the same. Does that make us all nothing? In that world, none of us are special, or smart, or kind, or bold. We all can be all of these things in our own way. But if we are all just the exact same… in that world we are one of many, and in my mind that would be a shame.

    I think the best thing about my job is that it constantly has me thinking about who I am, what I believe, and what I know. What I know for sure is that people interpret the world and express themselves differently. We all have a story, and none of them are the same. Those stories derive from where we came from, who raised us, what bad luck we caught, which chemical levels are in our brains, and what we are drawn to in the world.

    For me a smile means happiness, light, joy, or fearlessness. For others, smiling is a mask, a physical escape, a Band-Aid over a wound, or a self-defense mechanism. When I see someone’s smile, I look to see if it is also in his or her eyes. That is how I interpret a really happy smile, where as for others, if you were not frowning they might assume you are happy. The way one person expresses himself or herself may mean something completely different if another does the same.

    If every person at CAC were magically on the same continent, at the same time, near the same place and we were all staring at the exact same cloud… we may all see something different. But, when we all start calling out what animal, vehicle, thing of the planet, whatever it is that we see – instead of telling one another that is crazy, or wrong, or silly – we would look at that cloud, tilt our heads, open our minds and try to see what they are seeing too.

    What is so interesting to me, and sometimes very sad, is that we can do this when it is something that doesn’t matter. “We”, meaning the people of the world. Something as insignificant as what a cloud looks like warrants an open mind and accepting ear. But when it comes to politics, religion, philosophy, business strategy, gender issues, race, child raising, favorite sports teams…  YOU NAME IT (all of the important stuff), if people do not say or do what we (the people of the planet) believe, or what we want to hear, or what we are comfortable with – we (this is me unfairly lumping the human race all into one) judge them, we put them down, shut them up, argue our point, and so on. When this happens, THAT is what makes being different a bad thing. But, when we are talking about clouds and our minds are open, being different is something that brings us closer together. When we are talking about clouds, perspective is something that makes us smile together and appreciate each other. Perspective otherwise is something that we sometimes fear because it disrupts the world we know.

    How does all of this apply to my trip to Vancouver? Working with Hope and Health? Talking about First Nations/ Reservations struggles? Well – these kids are bullied, judged, looked down on for no reason better than the fact that they are of First Nations descent. A story that we all know, and are fully aware, that the First Nations people were not the bad guys. Worse, the intergenerational trauma these kids have passed down to them and the hardships they see everyday (substance abuse, alcohol abuse, young pregnancy, child abuse, gender inequality, poverty, bullying, discrimination) are all reasons the people in the world around them, shut these kids out. Instead of understanding them, accepting them, appreciating their difference, helping them, learning from them… these kids, their families, are treated like outsiders in their own homes. The most beautiful thing I realized about the coaches that are going to be working on the reservations with the First Nations kids, is that they want those kids to accept them. Their biggest concern was learning how to help those kids trust them as coaches, take them in, open their hearts to them. Because these kids have spent their life being shut out for their difference, that is the only way they know to express themselves. The remarkable thing about these coaches, is that they are so willing to see past those surfaced expressions and are looking to find a way to break through and make sure they express themselves in a way that those kids will understand and interpret to know they are valued and important, and worthy – Because THEY ARE.

    I would like to challenge anyone who reads this:

    Dare to be different. Work to be THE difference you want to see. Strive to accept others difference.

    Be your happiness. Be proud. Be one of one.

    And love yourself – just because you are you.