#BeAChampionForChildren: Universal Children’s Day
We at Coaches Across Continents applaud all our partners who joined with us, and with UNICEF, to champion the rights of children on the recent Universal Children’s Day (November 20th).
Initially Coaches Across Continents invited partners to begin creating a Child Protection Policy unique to their community. Over 100 partner groups responded.
Together we raised global awareness of the need to safeguard children in 105+ countries on 6 continents.
Partners were asked to identify the form of child abuse they most wanted to change within their community. Physical, emotional, sexual and verbal abuse were identified and next steps considered.
Key issues emerged. These recognised that abuse is often a taken for granted cultural habit, as well as being an abuse of power. Respect for young people was thought to be crucial, while bullying should be avoided.
Partners who had created a Child Protection Policy asked CAC for curriculum games and online education. CAC distributed a curriculum packet of five games which addressed the four different forms of child abuse, as well as showing how to prevent child abuse in the future.
Stories flooded in showing the many CAC games that had been played around the world on Universal Children’s Day.
Additionally CAC invited partners to download and use UNICEF’s International Safeguards for Children in Sport, where CAC was a pioneering member.
Together we all lived up to the hashtag #BeAChampionForChildren, knowing that by protecting children we were advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
October 4, 2018. Community Impact Coach Rose writes about her experience working On-Field with Coaches Across Continents for the first time in Georgia with Community Partner, Ministry of Sport and Culture alongside SDL Educator Markus Bensch.
As we arrived last Saturday to Tbilisi my heart warmed up with nostalgia of very special memories from my trip last year. A day later we arrive to Gori, Stalin’s hometown, known for its tasty apples. I didn’t know what to expect on our first day. We had a large group of school teachers and sports coaches of different diciplines.
This experience was very special because of so many different reasons. It was the first time I train people that come from a completely different culture and speak a language I can’t understand. Also, it was interesting to have a variety of age groups. I can’t deny that I felt challenged the first day because most of the participants had a lot of pride to their physical abilities and achievements throughout the years. Our mission was to introduce them to a new perspective, where they can use sports for social impact and personal growth. As the days passed we overcame many challenges and we played fun inclusive games.
One very special person I will always remember is Luda, a 10 year old girl, usually she spends a good amount of her time playing with the boys around the neighborhood. Luda watched us play for 2 days and on the third day she couldn’t help herself from joining, so she just stood with everyone, grabbed a bib and considered herself a participant in the program. I will always remember her everlasting smile and eager eyes observing the field and waiting for the ball to come her way. Luda is a gifted soul!
CIC Rose, on her experience during her last week on-field with Coaches Across Continents in Zugdidi, Georgia.
This was our last program in Georgia. I can say that our 3 days went very well. Around 45 coaches and teachers from different disciplines actively participating. I loved that we had vocal female coaches and relatively younger participants leading change in their communities. We were able to have a lot fun and discuss very important social problems and challenges in Zugdidi like alcohol and drug abuse, gender equity, healthy lifestyles and we had many Q&A talks about Child Rights alongside our Child Protection Training. Our incredible coaches were very engaged in the conversations, and everyone was sharing their ideas and solutions.
One moment I will remember for a while, when around 4 coaches were discussing “what is the best alcohol and drugs awareness approach for Children?” Seeing the conversation happen, 4 different points of views, 4 different ways, different opinions, etc… the CAC team created this safe space for them to freely discuss and share their ideas! Serving a higher purpose in life drives and shapes the person I dream of becoming.
It was simply beautiful, empowering and felt like a big success being in Zugdidi.
Didi Madbloba Zugdidi (Thank you so Much Zugdidi)!
The Beyond Sport Awards: #WhatsYourLegacy?
September 10, 2018. Coaches Across Continents is looking forward to the Beyond Sport Awards in NYC on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. For the second consecutive year, CAC is shortlisted for the Global Impact of the Year Award, this year with our #WhatsYourLegacy? campaign. Overall there were 355 separate applications from over 100 countries on 6 continents for 10 categories of awards.
Over 25% of the finalists at this year’s Beyond Sport Awards are CAC partners!
Coaches Across Continents’ #WhatsYourLegacy? impacts over 16 million children in 56 countries on 6 continents through our three primary initiatives: 1. Corporation and Foundation Legacy Program; 2. Government and Community Legacy Program; and 3. Curriculum Legacy Program. All of these initiatives look to create Legacies of Social Change based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
It is symbolic that in our tenth year, in the month that we celebrate our ten-year anniversary with #CAC10, we are being recognized for our impact on the sport for social impact field. Just last week, Founder Nick Gates wrote about his thoughts from working in a small town in Kigoma, Tanzania in 2008 to what is being accomplished daily through our year-round partnerships and 28 strategic resources. Coaches Across Continents was recognized 9 years ago by Beyond Sport with the Best New Project which helped to launch CAC on our road to success. This followed with Corporate of the Year with Chevrolet in 2014 as well as 22 other major global awards.
Nick is joined at the awards by ASK for Choice Strategist, Nora Dooley and Sustainability Strategist, Adam Burgess. The Awards may very well feel like a reunion of sorts, as the influence of CAC partnerships will be seen throughout. Nick, Nora, and Adam will be very busy meeting our partners who were also shortlisted and meeting some other new faces. CAC directly partners with 7 of the 35 finalists in the main categories. There are also two separate categories where CAC partners are recognized. 2 of the 5 young leaders nominated for the Courageous Use of Sport Award and 2 of the 3 finalists for Sport for Refugees Award are CAC partners.
Thursday, after the awards ceremony is the Beyond Sport United Conference. Nora will be the expert on a panel on how sport specifically can support young people in being socially responsible and active.
Not to be outdone by all the activity in NYC, 12 time zones away, Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz is in Kuala Lumpur for the Asian Football (AFC) Confederation Social Responsibility Conference and Dream Asia awards, occurring on the same two days. As the Official Social Responsibility Partner of the AFC, Coaches Across Continents is responsible for presenting at activities such as this one to share knowledge and best practices with their 47 member institutions as well as other organizations looking to use sport to create social change in Asia.
#CAC10: Celebrating Our 1st Decade
August 31, 2018. Founder Nick Gates reflects on a decade of CAC.
It seems just like yesterday when Coaches Across Continents came to life. I was on a local bus in East Africa when I had the idea on how to best support local communities. A lot has changed since our first and only program in 2008 in rural Kigoma, Tanzania. We started as a traditional, ‘train the trainer’ model, but we have evolved to provide year-round process consultancy to organizations in more than 56 countries. We have 3 key partnership pathways and 28 strategic resources for corporations, communities, governments, and foundations to implement our Education Outside the Classroom and create legacies of social change.
Coaches Across Continents has become the global leader in Education Outside the Classroom. Our published Self-Directed Learning methodology and Chance to Choice and ASK for Choice curriculum pathways has been requested by organizations in nearly 100 countries and impacts over 16 million children annually.
In the past decade our innovative programs, partnerships, and projects have been recognized with 25 major global awards. Currently we are shortlisted for Beyond Sport’s Global Impact of the Year Award with the winner announced in New York City on September 12th.
Our Corporate and Foundation Legacy Program Designs, Develops, and Implements specific CSR and Cause Marketing Initiatives, with successful CSR projects in 23 countries including Olympic and World Cup Legacies, while our Government and Community Legacy Program uses our 28 strategic resources and creates Education Outside the Classroom to address 10 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Organizations such as the Asian Football Confederation have named Coaches Across Continents their Social Responsibility Partner, while corporations like Nike, Chevrolet, Bloomberg, Standard Chartered Bank, and more have used CAC to bring their CSR initiatives to life. And foundations like the Michael Johnson Young Leaders Program rely on CAC to help implement their vision to create and educate dynamic young leaders around the world.
Over the past decade we have worked with over 430 different community organizations, including 12 of the FIFA Football for Hope Centers and nearly 50 different Street Football World partners. Through partnership with CAC, they have gone through organizational transformation and development using our strategic resources to best deliver Education Outside the Classroom in their communities. This year seven of our partners are also shortlisted for various Beyond Sport Awards.
Our success is only possible because of hundreds of committed individuals. I would like to thank our Board of Directors, Business Advisory Team, ASK for Choice Advisory Team, and Coach Advisory Team. We also want to give a special thanks to all our global citizens and supporters, our Community Impact Coaches, all our donors, our videographer Kevin O’Donovan, and the Taiji Brand Group for helping us create sustainable legacies all over the world.
This month, we celebrate our ten-year anniversary under the campaign #CAC10. It’s been a decade of excellence.
Founder and Global Strategist
Full Circle – 6 Years Later
August 17th. 2018. Coaches Across Continents CEO, Brian Suskiewicz, writes about his time On-Field with ISF Cambodia working with some incredible participants and people.
This past week marked a new phase in the CAC/ISF partnership. At the end of two consecutive Hat-Trick Initiatives (Chance to Choice and ASK for Choice), CAC is now focused almost exclusively on the Process Consultancy Strategic Resources that we can provide to such a distinguished partner. Meanwhile, On-Field the ISF coaches ran the coaching education course using a combination of CAC curriculum and ISF-developed games alongside CAC’s Self-Directed Learning methodology to create Education Outside the Classroom. Seeing the staff of ISF taking full control of the On-Field training for over 100 local coaches showed this partnership had reached a new level. Already the ISF team are planning another On-Field coaching education at the end of this month in the provinces for coaches in rural communities.
Working for the past two weeks both prior, during, and after the week of On-Field training was myself, Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz. In addition to observing and mentoring the ISF coaches On-Field, strategic meetings were held with key staff, school administration, the ISF country program manager Vicheka Chourp, ISF trustee Leo Brogan, and other ISF supporters one of which flew in for meetings from Hong Kong. Key topics that our process consultancy covered was developing their soccer program M&E, and then how to use that information to better tell the impact their soccer program is having. This includes their work with 4,000+ children in Phnom Penh creating Education Outside the Classroom, as well as their exemplary work with all-abilities children that earned them a 2018 Beyond Sport Award shortlist (winner announced September 12 in NYC). We also mapped out ways to continue working together through potential joint-funding opportunities, which will combine the expertise of both organizations. And finally we discussed internal improvements using our Workplace platform to inform our partners about webinars, monthly UN SDG curriculum, child and women’s rights policy creation, UN Global Days, Youth Leadership Courses like our MJYL program, and more. These are all a part of our 28 year-round strategic resources that CAC uses to help our partners develop the organizational development and individual professional development in order to best impact their communities.
Finally, it was a great personal experience for me. Six years ago ISF initiated a conversation with me and CAC and our partnership began. In these years we have seen the ISF soccer program grow into an initiative that magnifies their work in their two schools, with their soccer program creating Education Outside the Classroom. The ISF Soccer program also hosts domestic and international soccer events including the Ian Thompson Memorial Boys Tournament, the Goldman Sachs Girls Tournament, and the All-Abilities tournament each year, as well as the impact they are having on hundreds of local coaches and thousands of children annually.
Fortunately, we will see each other again soon in New York City on September 12th, when the Beyond Sport Award Winners are announced. Fingers crossed for ISF and all our six partners (plus ourselves) who were shortlisted!
I Will Be Strong!
July 28, 2018. Board member Dr. Judith Gates is with our team, back in Kigoma, Tanzania where we held our first-ever program ten years ago. #CAC10. #WhatsYourLegacy?
“I Will Be Strong!”
These were the final words I heard amidst all of the goodbyes, exchange of email addresses and chatter about selfie photo ops that invariably mark the end of a Coaches Across Continents programme. Teachers and coaches were jostling with each other and sharing plans as to how they were going to put all they had learned that week into practice. The group of students, identifiable by their green uniforms, were talking enthusiastically about new insights gained.
She came up to me. Tall and athletically built, she unexpectedly hugged me, kissed my cheek and said, “Thank you. I will be strong!”
My spirits soared. I understood what she was saying. I knew what she meant.
This week’s programme was to mark the 10th anniversary of Coaches Across Continents. Ten years ago the very first CAC programme was held in Kigoma, Tanzania. CAC had returned to mark this important anniversary. It all began here. From one programme in one country in 2008, CAC is now working in over 50 countries around the world.
All week, with Nick working alongside Nico as leader, the group had focussed on the challenging issue of Child Rights and Child Protection. Curriculum activities had included games in which participants had identified sources of potential harm, recognised the varying forms of abuse, identified who could be of help and which places could be considered safe. They had explored attitudes and expectations relevant to their local community. Teachers and students had shared ideas together during the games, but also worked separately to discuss factors which were specifically relevant to their age group or profession. They had then talked with each and demonstrated their capacity for understanding differing points of view.
I had led a discussion on abuse. I asked which form of abuse, physical, emotional, verbal or sexual, was most prevalent in their community. Hesitation was minimal. The vast majority of both teachers and students cited sexual abuse. Teenage pregnancies were high. Girls were forced to marry at an early age. Hunger and poverty led to girls being sold, or selling themselves, sometimes for only a bag of rice. The boundary between Child Rights and Women’s Rights blurred as they explored the reality of life for young girls in their community.
I asked teachers and students, each in their separate group, to think about what could be done, how things could improve. Acknowledging the problem openly was seen as key. The students suggested media reporting, government intervention. Their message was clear. We deserve support and help. Children should not have to experience these things. Teachers suggested education and parental involvement. Both groups wanted answers and action. The aspiration of the girl students was to complete their education and find a job, so that their subsequent life decisions were made from a position of relative strength.
The final words I shared with them were about personal responsibility. We can turn to others to make the changes we want, but we each have the capacity to influence in some way the context in which we live. I asked them to be strong. I asked them to contribute to the changes they hoped for.
I told them they each could be part of the solution, they each could contribute to making Kigoma an even better community.
And she had heard me. Her final words were of latent power, of commitment, of hope. “I will be strong!” That is the message CAC endeavours to leave behind, hoping that it will take root and contribute to locally desired community changes around the world. Another first for Kigoma!
~ Dr. Judith Gates