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.
The Real Stellenbosch: CAC Hits the Futsal Court with t4c
October 4th, 2014. Cape Town, South Africa, famous for its mountains, beaches and beauty, neighbors some of the best and most stunning wine farms in the world in the very location of our latest program. This training took CAC Senior Staff member, Nora Dooley, to the mountainous farmlands of Stellenbosch – a tourism hotspot, a world-renowned wine oasis that is, like most vacation destinations, so often only seen and heard about through that narrow lens. Having been to the region as a tourist herself while living in South Africa, Nora was eager to learn more about the area, beyond the bubble that shields tourists from life’s difficult realities.
Our partner in Stellenbosch, training4changeS (t4c), is a young organization that has chosen futsal as their game of choice. They are tapping into a world of opportunity in South African youth development and have lured in the National Futsal Coach – Quinton Allies – as a member of the staff. The training was a last minute addition to our 2014 schedule so the group was mostly t4c staff with a few participants from local partner organizations in t4c’s expanding network.
We trained the 16 coaches in games from our year one curriculum and were able to push them in all aspects of our work – football (futsal) technique, fitness, and knowledge of the game, and most importantly social impact – how we coach sport to achieve a greater end of youth and community empowerment. This group was small, but each one of them proved day in and day out how committed they are to learning from CAC and putting what they learn into practice in their lives and in their sessions with children.
On top of our core modules we taught the coaches all 5 of our Peace Day games since the training began the day after September 21st, as well as games from our Female Empowerment, HIV, Child Rights, and Financial Literacy curricula. One of the games that had a particularly resounding impact was our “Peace Day: Understanding Stereotypes and Challenging Them” game which, as per the title, addresses the problem of stereotypes and what we can do to solve that problem. Before we began the game we had a conversation about what stereotyping someone means and what are some examples of stereotypes in their community. We talked about people with dreadlocks (one of the participant had dreads), stereotypes pertaining to religions – particularly Muslims, as well as skin color – a huge issue in the Stellenbosch area and the country as a whole. The group itself was made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures, and we made sure to create a safe space for us all to discuss these serious issues. Then we played the game.
The futsal court was divided into three zones – in a regular futsal game it would be for defense, midfield, and strikers but in this game the zones represented different stereotypes and we used three of the examples that we already discussed – physical characteristics (like dreads), religious affiliation, and skin color (a physical characteristic but so serious that it demands its own zone). For the first round players on each team must stay in the zone they are placed in and cannot leave. The teams go to goal. Then we play again where one team has the freedom to move anywhere and the other team is still confined to their zone. Then the third time – everybody is free to move.
After the game we discussed more in depth about how it felt to be restricted to a zone in the game and how it limits your team, how it is a disadvantage when the other team is unrestricted. Then we related the game to the context of life and the participants discussed how imprisoning people in a box in your mind limits their ability to ever be anything else in your eyes, and closes your mind to the possibility of understanding and acceptance. If we get rid of the zones, if we get rid of the stereotypes, we are all free to play and make our own choices; we will score more goals and work better as a team, as a community, as a nation and a world.
This is just one example of the amazing games and discussions that occurred throughout the week with these participants. They were wonderful people to work with and we could not have asked for a more open-minded, energetic, thoughtful, and talented group of young South Africans. After a few days Coach Quinton praised our methods saying, “It’s amazing how you use the ball as the connecting point.” We very much appreciate having such an established coach understand the importance of our methods. South Africa is one of the most difficult countries for us to work in because of various aspects of the culture and history – but groups like t4c break the stereotype and make our job incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. We look forward to a prolific partnership with training4changeS and the Stellenbosch community, the beautiful community beyond the wine lands.
April 26, 2014. Community Impact Coach Natasha Bredekamp from The Football Foundation of South Africa joined CAC Senior Staff member Sophie Legros for a week in Nigeria – she tells us about her experience.
It’s Sunday morning and the long journey towards Nigeria waits, filled with excitement and ready to coach again after 3 years, I ensure I have all the necessary documents. Board the plane in Cape Town and there are no hassles, phase one of my travels completed successfully, off the plane in Johannesburg and now for the dash across the airport to make it to the International Departure Gate to Nigeria in time. I make it through passport control and as I’m about to board the plane, I am asked for my Yellow Fever Card (OH NO!!!). I don’t have one of those and everyone said I wouldn’t need one but no stress, there is a clinic on Johannesburg airport and I can have the vaccination done there and then board the next plane.
Monday morning, vaccine shot received and about to check in for the 2nd attempt to get to Nigeria. Success at last and I’m off, in a double seat all to myself with in-flight entertainment. Arrive in Lagos and the temperature is 35 degrees at 21:00pm (WELCOME TO NIGERIA). I get through passport control and as I’m looking for the assigned driver, I see a mob of people outside and I know there is no way I’m going to find him without any help, so I get an airport attendant to assist me in calling him and have him meet me inside the airport. Finally, we are in Lagos and on our way to the hotel, with buzzing roads and crazy traffic, you are left to wonder; “when does this town sleep?”.
Tuesday morning, time to meet the Coaches Across Continents Team Mate – Sophie – and off to the training field. Today we are doing the Be Empowered module, with games like Seles Attack and Sawa’s Rights it was destined to be a good day, and so it was, with the enthusiastic students which were compiled of teachers, coaches and players all visibly enjoying every game and taking an interest in the message it delivered.
Wednesday and Thursday was the same as Tuesday, same energy, same students but different games. Be Healthy and Be Money Savvy were two modules that grabbed some extra interest as the students couldn’t wait for reviews, so they could make some personal notes about what they learnt.
Thursday afternoon was extra special as it included a certificate handover ceremony which acknowledges all the participants for their involvement and hard work during the week. An Absa Bank Representative was also available for the ceremony, which was nice as they had sponsored the training and supported the foundation in making it possible that Sophie and I could be there to deliver this amazing training session.
With a heavy heart my week has come to an end and I am to leave Nigeria Friday night but not without taking a quick trip around Lagos to try and find some local markets. But the universe had other plans for me as it started storming and all the markets were closed, so I spent a few hours at the local mall before departing Nigeria.
This trip has reminded me why I love what I do, as making a difference using sports brings so many different cultures, races, gender and nationalities all together in one venue with one GOAL!!
Thank You to Sophie, Nick, Iwa, Preye, Lean and everyone who made this experience possible – Coaches Across Continents, Ovie Brume Foundation, Women Win, Youth Empowerment Foundation.
A Great Week with African Brothers in Cape Town, South Africa
October 10, 2012: Walking into African Brothers one is greeted by the various famous footballers images painted on the concrete walls. The images are not just the normal faces we all are accustomed to seeing on tv, but rather representing countries from all around the world: Paraguay, Russia, Australia and even North Korea. It is apparent why African Brothers highlights faces from all over the globe, as the group itself is a mix of coaches from Mozambique, Congo, South Africa, Nigeria and others. It is an important part of their definition as a club as it is also part of the academy’s vision of expanding into other countries outside of South Africa. Already clubs are using their logo in other parts of South Africa. Craig would also like to eventually offer resources to these clubs, particularly in regards to their fields. African Brothers has faced many challenges to be what it is today and is still dealing with oppositions
Craig started African Brothers 18 years ago with a partner who was also interested in providing football to more youth in South Africa. Craig personally knew the power of football and its ability to transform lives. He has been involved in all levels of football from playing professionally to coaching to helping a team in the Homeless World Cup. At the African Brothers headquarters in Cape Town Craig has transformed a large plot of land that was once used by prostitutes and drug users into a beautiful community space with 3 five a side courts, tennis courts and a large outdoor grass field. It is truly an amazing place particularly with Table Mountain as the backdraft and on days with sunshine and few clouds in the sky. The courts were always being used, either by youth eager to play and practice their new skills, school classes who didn’t have their own facilities to run around on and young and old professionals playing a game after work. It is amazing to watch Craig maneuver in the place he has created for the community, doing one task after another to ensure that the fields are ready, the children are practicing good behaviors on and off the field and that the coaches are fulfilling all their responsibilities.
Craig and his team of African Brothers have big goals for this safe space as well as for the other fields they are helping to build in
their communities. The coaches are eager to learn more and more so they can too provide fun and interactive training sessions to the variety of youth. As Friday rolled around, the coaches were very appreciative of the hours spent on the field with the Coaches Across Continents teams and were eager to begin putting the games in place. After the coaches had the opportunities to deliver the games learned during the week and successfully testing them out, the program concluded with a wonderful South African braai that included all the staff and youth who participated in a great week of training.