• Creating Child Protection Globally

    September 3, 2019.  CAC has launched a three-month campaign working with our community partners in 60+ countries to create internationally approved Child Protection Policies that are child-, coach-, and organization-friendly.

    • Education: Informing stakeholders based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • Child Safe:  Having children understand their rights by playing CAC Purposeful Play games, understanding who they can talk to, and providing services for the child should any breach of their rights occur
    • Coach Safe: Training practitioners on best practices for safe coaching
    • Organization Safe:  Developing procedures and policies that guide the entire organizations, from preventative measures to protect children to reporting procedures if violations occur
    • Community Safe:  Engaging key stakeholders on Child Safety and Protection measures and bringing CAC’s Theory of Change and the communities’ new and improved Child Protection to life

    On Universal Children’s Day, November 20th, the CAC network will celebrate the culture change in global Child Protection that moves communities from simply having a child protection policy document to having communities who have comprehensive and friendly practices engaging all stakeholders to protect children as part of CAC’s Community Empowerment to Ensure All Human Rights.

    We are proud that CAC is leading Child Protection globally.”

    – Nick Gates, CAC Founder

    CAC is a pioneering member for the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, has published papers on Child Protection and Peace and Child Rights, is on three UNICEF working groups for Child Protection, and is currently working with governments and NGOs on 6 continents to develop stronger child protection policies, procedures, and cultures.

  • #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.

    #WhatsYourLegacy?

  • Child Rights, Child Protection – #ItStartsWithYou.

    November 2nd, 2018. Coaches Across Continents ASK for Choice Advisory Team Member, Dr. Judith Gates writes on her work with CAC and UNICEF for Universal Children’s Day on November 20th, as well as our ongoing partnership for Child Rights and Child Protection around the world.

    Coaches Across Continents works around the globe. According to our latest count, we have worked in 55 countries on 6 continents. Our unique footprint of deep involvement in local communities gives us an unprecedented perception of the level and scope of the abuse of child rights around the world. This leads to our clear, unvarnished recognition of the urgent need internationally for child protection policies and actions.

    Within communities and within sporting environments we have heard and seen so many examples of child abuse. We have learned that wider traditional community norms invariably influence behaviour on the sports field.

    At national federation level a gymnastics doctor was convicted of sexual assault of more than 100 girls. English professional football has been inundated by a wave of allegations of sex abuse.

    However the victims are now beginning to speak out. A highly respected Coaches Across Continents team member was a victim of sexual abuse by her coach during her teens. And the abuse is not just happening at the international, national, professional or ‘elite athlete’ level in sport. It is happening in local communities around the world, large and small; local communities where sport is played for fun, local communities who use sport for social development.

    A girl child in rural Tanzania is sold for sex. The payment is a bag of rice. A coach touches a team member inappropriately. He relies on his power to buy silence. Boy children attend a madrassa and are coerced into taking part in oral sex. And, horrific though sexual abuse is, physical, verbal and emotional abuse also leave a lasting negative impression on the hearts and minds of young people globally. We at CAC see it all.

    That is why, several years ago, CAC responded promptly to an invitation from UNICEF to work with them to create a set of International Safeguards for Children in Sport. We ask you to download this for help in creating your own child protection policy. https://www.sportanddev.org/en/learn-more/child-protection-and-safeguarding-sport

    CAC continues to contribute in many ways to the development of child protection policies, locally as well as internationally, on the sports field and within the community. We support our partners to create community based as well as sports based policies to protect their children. We all share the collective responsibility to protect children from abuse. You as well as us.

    Therefore we ask all our partners to join with us to safeguard children. 

    Together we can make a difference.

    Remember #ItStartsWithYou.

     

  • 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

  • Global Leaders in Child Protection

    April 3, 2018. Children’s Rights are of paramount importance to Coaches Across Continents.   One of the pillars of our organization is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. But it is one thing to say that the protection of children is important, and another entirely to actively create policies and implement practices which change communities and cultures in the 50+ countries where we operate. But this is exactly what we are doing. Over 10,400 coaches have signed Child Protection policies because of their participation in CAC On-Field programming.  Our partnership work around the world includes addressing and changing some of the most difficult issues pertaining to child rights and protection, including trafficked children, child soldiers, FGM, restrictive and harmful cultural and religious practice, legal corporal punishment in schools, street children, and more.

    Today we are proud to announce the publication of a new document to further progress Child Protection policies and thinking, entitled “Peace and Child Rights.”  This document continues to frame our Child Protection policy creation and community development on two main fronts:

    1. The understanding that Child Protection is not just as an elimination of abuse, but also the creation of what children should experience in a healthy and happy childhood, namely physically and emotionally safe spaces where they are encouraged in their successes and allowed to constructively learn from their failures as they engage in our SDL environment.
    2. That the relationship between a teacher/coach needs to exist and be a healthy one that allows for a mentorship of children from adolescence into adulthood.

    Coaches Across Continents is already implementing these parameters with all our partner programs globally. Before working with CAC, only 18% of local coaches had received child protection training.  Now over 10,400 coaches at 100% of our programs have gone through Child Protection Training.

    This new publication initiative goes hand in hand with our ongoing work with UNICEF, where we are on three working groups including:

    1. Advocacy and communications on policy and practice;
    2. Quality assurance and access to training and support; and
    3. Research, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning and improvement of resources.

    These active workgroups continue to drive global policy in Child Rights and Protection policies, and came about from our work together as a Pioneering Member of UNICEF’s International Safeguards for Children in Sport.

    CAC also uses our curriculum to educate children and coaches about the rights guaranteed by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.  Since it’s inception in 2015, our Child Rights curriculum has been used at 88% of our On-Field Programs.

    Coaches Across Continents will continue to be the global leader in Child Protection.  We are already working on ways to continue to eliminate all violence against children (sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal abuse) and to create partnerships and communities which focus on Child Rights advocacy, creating safe spaces, and building healthy mentoring relationships.

    #WhatsYourLegacy?

  • Oh Yes, We Made a Plan!

    November 14th 2017. CAC Global Citizen and Harvard Alum Heather ‘Action’ Jackson blogs from Nagpur, India about our groundbreaking partnership with Slum Soccer

    I’ve been so lucky as a CAC Global Citizen in so many ways, including having the opportunity to work with longtime partner Slum Soccer here in Bokhara, Nagpur, India. As an outside observer, it struck me that the comfort, familiarity and understanding that CAC and SS have developed together over 8 years, as people and as organizations, created an environment of trust and openness that allowed for real progress to be made this week.

    A common phrase you’ll hear whenever a decision needs to be made is “We make a plan.” This applies to almost any decision that I saw made this week incl: when to leave for Shakti Girls (Girl Power) practice; where to go for delicious Southern Indian dosa and tea; who is going to drive/be a passenger on which motorcycle (all of which read below empty on fuel) and of course which direction to take and grow an organization. Often the decision can take some time; that’s what happens when you have a lot of bright people with different ideas, and/or a lot of bikes and passengers to organize.

    And many plans were made, executed and/or in progress. Highlights include:

    Serious strides in professional and organizational development for Slum Soccer using CAC’s process consultancy framework. It’s not often easy to take the “right” next steps to grow and mature as an organization; the insight and knowledge CAC leaders provided this regard was invaluable and those next steps put into place.

    Development by senior female staff of 3 brand new games for Slum Soccer’s female health & wellness initiative, focusing specifically on menstruation. It was amazing to see the girls open up, voice frustration with, and ask about the verity of, cultural traditions and listen to the SS senior staff support, educate and inform them. You know it’s working and trust exists when the day’s program is ended, and 15 girls are circled around still asking questions and getting answers.

    42 games played with 35 coach/mentor participants, including those designed to address HIV, LGBT, Child Rights and ASK for Choice (Female Empowerment.) It’s truly rewarding to see those girls too shy at the beginning of the week to say anything or even look up from the ground, raising their arms up and shouting “I am strong” or “I have a voice” by the end of the week. Yes change can happen in 5 days.

    An amazing street food tour (once we figured out who was actually on which bike) led by senior SS staff. That “We make a plan” took some time to make following an outing to the cinema featuring Thor, my first Hindi 3D movie, but was so worth it. Thank you Slum Soccer friends and family!