• 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.

  • First Time Flying

    December 20th, 2017. Community Impact Coach and Online Education Program participant, Benedict, writes about his experience attending CAC trainings in India, developing as a coach in the OEP program, and traveling as a Community Impact Coach to Sri Lanka working with CAC partner Foundation of Goodness. 

    Little did I know, when I attended a training program in November 2016, with CAC that a few months later I would be given an opportunity to be a part of their Online Education Program. As thrilled as I was, I also was very anxious about the whole thing as I had no idea what the program was and the outcome of the program for me. All I knew was that I personally identified with the teaching methodology and the concept and that really excited me. As I started my journey with the Online Education Program I got to learn a lot, my teaching style changed the way I interacted with people – not only my players but even people of my community – and I started to feel more responsible towards society and youth. I had no idea that I would get an opportunity to go to other places or countries as a Community Impact Coach. When I was told about it, a little later after I started the OEP, I was thrilled beyond words as this is a major achievement for me and a dream come true. I always played sport and my community people considered me to be a failure when I didn’t get any employment opportunities through sports. It was at that time when I took it up as a challenge to prove that a lot can be achieved through sports. The opportunity that CAC has given me as a CIC empowers me to have so much pride in myself and in the work I do.

    When I received the mail about the sessions in other parts of India I was very excited and eager to join them. But it so happened that due to other commitments at work I was unable to be a part of it. I was really upset and felt very disheartened. I felt that my next chance to be a part of the training would be only next year until one night I received an e-mail from Mark that I would be going to Sri Lanka. At first I could not believe it! It took a while for it me to settle down. This was going to be my first flight experience and not just national but international….. I have always seen my colleagues who teach subjects like science, math etc travel to other countries on training and I always wanted to be the one to travel from sports for training as well. So when I saw my ticket, it was an unforgettable moment for me.

    Finally the time had come near and I got to meet Charlie, with whom I was to be traveling with. I worked with him for a week before we travelled and he gave me a lot of confidence in myself. I thought that we would have other coaches meet us directly at Sri Lanka but when I learned it was going to be just the 2 of us, I became really worried and nervous. That being said, Charlie made me feel very confident about myself. He gave me useful coaching tips and he gave me a lot of freedom to coach in my own style. This seldom happens in India we are expected to follow teaching methods of others and are not always allowed to be ourselves. He taught me how to maintain a journal of my daily activities and how to plan my sessions. This has all been very useful for me, and I have started implementing it in my regular schedules now, as well.

    Our Sri Lanka trip was not just all training and no fun… We had a lot of fun on the field and off the field. My off the field experiences are unbelievable as well. I accompanied a few volunteers from Foundation of Goodness when they went deep sea diving, though I didn’t go into the water myself just being in the middle of the ocean was an experience on its own. I felt like I was in a Bond movie doing one of the chasing scenes.

    This trip is a milestone in my carrier, I am using this as a tool to reach out to more people, both students and people in my community. I am putting to use everything that I have learned during this journey and I am looking forward to travelling on many more assignments. I want to thank CAC for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to learn from other communities as well. A special thanks to Markus for being a great instructor and a good support throughout the Online Education Program, and I’m happy that I came across a wonderful person like Charlie.

  • Parikrma in Tiento

    December 13th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Thilaga, from NAZ Foundation writes about on-field experience working with CAC and partner Parikrma Humanity Foundation in Bangalore, India.

    Parikrma Humanity Foundation is a non-profit organization located in Bangalore, India. Parikrma addresses the growing gap in urban India between those benefitting from economic liberalization and those who are not, in which consequently only a minority of children in India can afford access to private schools where the content of education is of high quality and in the English medium. Children from slum and rural communities attend schools in the free government-run mass schooling system, where they only teach in the state language, which often proves insufficient in attaining job opportunities in a rapidly globalizing world.

    Parikrma believes that even the poorest children from the slums of urban India should be able to access the best opportunities in our globalized society and play a positive role in its evolution.
    The name Parikrma comes from a combination of two Sanskrit words, “pari” meaning circle, and “krma” meaning to complete. Parikrma strives to complete “The Circle of Life” by supporting children from kindergarten until they procure a job, thus ensuring that their students break out of the cycle of poverty.

    The CAC training for Parikrma was held at Tiento Sports football Arena, from the 27th of November, 2017 to the 1st of December, 2017, where around 45-50 participants from Parikrma attended. 20 were girls.

    As a CIC I would really like to thank Charlie for giving me the best training, which has changed my coaching type completely to be much more vibrant and active for delivering the sessions with more fun and laughter with the trainees on feild.

    Thanks to the other two CIC’s Jaspreet and Benny who were very supportive during the training.

     

  • AFC Hosts CAC At Dream Asia Awards

    December 11th, 2017.  Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz recently attended the AFC Dream Asia Awards in Bangkok, Thailand.  As a key official Social Responsibility partner of the Asian Football Confederation, CAC delivers various projects throughout Asia including creating Sustainable Community Legacies at the AFC Village in Tacloban, Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan and in Sindhupalchok, Nepal after the recent Earthquake.

    Throughout the two-day event Suskiewicz spoke with FIFA President Gianni Infantino as well other AFC Social Responsibility partners the UNHCR, the International Federation of the Red Cross, and the United Way, about ways to continue to create social change through football.

    During the conference a special meeting of the AFC Social Responsibility committee and partners was convened to Design, Develop, and Implement further social responsibility projects throughout the 47 Member Associations of the AFC.  Joining the meeting was AFC Executive Committee member Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi (Saudi Arabia), Park Ji-sung (former Korean Republic international and Manchester United legend), and Head of CSR for the AFC, Dr. Anna Ranganathan.

    Awards were given at a star-studded gala on the final night for the best players, coaches, teams, and social responsibility projects throughout Asia for 2017.  A new state-of-the-art mini-pitch was also opened as a Legacy project donated by the AFC.  On hand were the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, FA Thailand President Police General Somyot Poompanmoung, President of Bangkok Thonburi University Dr Bangon Benjathikul, Dwight Yorke (FIFA Legend), and Park Ji-sung. Altogether 160 refugee and stateless children from Thailand’s border areas, identified and selected by AFC’s Social Responsibility partner UNHCR, were invited to the launch and participated in the activities.

    Coaches Across Continents is a proud partner of the Asian Football Confederation and will continue to create Community Legacies throughout the continent.

    Brian Suskiewicz. (Coaches Across Continents); Dr. Susheela Balasundaram (UNHCR); AFC EXCO member Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi, Park Ji-sung, P. Ming Wong (United Way), Gwendolyn Pang (IFRC), Shin Chul-soon (Cerebral Palsy Football Korea).

  • One Jaspreet, One Journey

    December 5th 2017. Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur from YFC Rurka Kalan writes about working with CAC during our partnership with Naz Foundation in Bengaluru.

    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have done a post graduation course in my own language Punjabi from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India. In the last 4 years I have worked with Youth Football Club Rurka Kalan. My job is Training and Monitoring officer, this means I look after the Sports for Development sessions at twenty Government Primary schools near Rurka Kalan, sessions taught by our own Youth Mentors who I have helped train.

    This past week was my first time visiting Bengaluru. I was very happy to have this opportunity and I want say thank you so much to CAC. YFC Rurka Kalan has been working with CAC for five years now and I have got a chance to participate as a CIC in this training with the Naz Foundation. I want to share my experience with you regarding five days training of CAC with The Naz Foundation which was held at Don Bosco Mission Skills Institute at Bengaluru.

    The participants came from different cities such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Madurai and Bengaluru.

    The five day workshop was based on Leadership, Menstruation, HIV, Conflict Prevention and Gender Equity.

    In the first day some of girls and boys did not speak too much, but slowly slowly their voices got stronger during training. Some of them gave presentations and spoke in front of their other coaches for the first time which was so good to see.

    Naz Foundation is built around coaching Netball which means I learned all new skills for this sport this week. We even made some netball skills called  “Thilaga 1, 2, &3”.  Because the coaches were so experienced, they ended up creating games regarding Menstruation because it is a serious issue that is often overlooked because of taboos. I look forward to going back home and conducting sessions using these games with girls and youth mentors who are working in schools.

    The food of Bengaluru is good. Things I have tasted for the first time include edaly, vadda and Masala Dosa. I have also learned about new apps “Ola and Uber” which helped me get from Bengaluru Airport to Baanarghtta (Don Bosco). 

    It was a great experience for me to learn and share skills with junior coaches, senior coaches and project coordinators. Moreover, I have solved challenges regarding Monitoring evaluation with Charlie and am looking forward to returning to YFC with new skills!

     

  • The Ultimate Challenge of the Perpetual Social Impact Machine

    November 30th, 2017. Second-time Global Citizen, JK Cho, writes about his experience on-field with Coaches Across Continents and ChildReach Nepal, along with the complexities of change.

    A perpetual motion machine is a hypothetical device that repeats a certain motion indefinitely without an energy source. You might have seen a windmill-looking device in a physics book, which has bearing balls rolling around inside of the wheel or bearing balls swinging attached to the outer side of the wheel. That is called a “mass leverage” device, one of the most famous failures in the effort of inventing a perpetual motion machine. Since the Middle Ages, out of a desire to achieve an everlasting engine without burning fuel, countless efforts made by scientists to create this self-sustaining closed system have failed. The idea is impossible because it violates a couple of the laws of physics – the first or second law of thermodynamics. In simple words, it cannot close the loop because it loses energy gradually due to gravity and friction. The machine will eventually stop.

    You can see CAC’s mission parallels to it in that the organization wants to help create social movements that sustain and evolve independently without a need for consistent help and influence from the western world. The organization refuses to do a one-time, feel-good “volun-tour” work and leave. Each visit is dedicated to design and install a perpetual social impact engine in a community’s needs and concerns, using its own assets. Once it picks up the pace, it is supposed to work free and creates their own organic results. Just like a perpetual motion device cannot ignore the physical laws, there is a natural drag as well as intentional resistance in the process of CAC’s work.

    This week’s partner, Child Reach Nepal is one of the most admirable charity partners that I have worked with through CAC. With transformational leaders like Prateek, Shamsher, and the rest of the team who truly care and devote their lives to their community, Child Reach Nepal has brought tremendous positive impact to its children. In spite of the notoriously wide daily temperature range and dusty air in the mountain, the program in Sindhupalchok went stellar. Everyone was sincerely participatory with an eager to learn and grow. We learned that female social inclusion in sports and outdoor activities had been one of the major issues in Sindupalchok based schools. The girls said they wanted to play sports with boys, but they were afraid and not invited. We had a great discussion on it with men and women together and separately. It was bought up that women were doing more physical work in the community such as carrying on their backs an A-frame carrier full of heavy items. Everyone agreed girls could be as strong, tough, and athletically intelligent as boys if they had an equal opportunity. Some even said it’s the society and tradition that boxes and limits roles and behaviors in gender.

    And then, one thing did not sit well with me happened. Immediately after the discussion, I heard there was going to be a friendly football match, and the bet was a 6kg of chicken meat. Guess what happened. All the talk that we just had evaporated instantly. People were recruiting the best players on their teams. As long as I witnessed, no one asked the girls to play for the match. One team even recruited these new faces who had never shown up in the program. I have to say we all were way into winning, playing a competitive, “real” match, or at least winning kilos of chicken meat. The school girls were automatically excluded and also seemed to not even want to play. They knew it would turn out an intense, heated battle. Everybody including me failed in walking the talk.

    Almost 20 years ago, the UN made a commitment to achieving gender parity in executive roles by the year 2000. In 2016, with a 16 year overdue, less than one in three director-level positions within the organization were women. Despite the former secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s regular assertions of progress in appointing women to high office, an 84% of his appointments to top posts in 2015 were male. The unconformable truth we have here is that, for chicken meat, natural competitiveness, or whatever reasons, our words don’t always translate into action. Even the world largest and most powerful intergovernmental organization cannot ignore the drag and friction.

    The ultimate challenge of creating a self-sustaining impact model is the action part. CAC brilliantly employs the Self-Directed Learning (SDL) principle and Community Impact Coaches (CIC) network to increase the propulsion and reduce the resistance of the motion. SDL style provides the sustainable nature, promoting the spirit of taking initiative in constant self-reflection and transformation. CICs are selected and trained local agent coaches who are capable of running a program locally on behalf of CAC without any cultural, language, physical, and distance barriers. Talking about the closed loop system! Another thing that I have faith in is CAC coaches’ rock-solid integrity. It’s the strong consistency and cohesiveness that are needed to make words straight into action and results. The coaches that I have worked with are special individuals living up to their belief and leading by examples, inspiring the communities to take action now and be the change.

    In recent years, big corporations also started creating a closed loop system to be more self-sustainable. One of the world largest fast fashion brands, H&M, has just adopted the closed loop garment production system – they collect unwanted and unsold items and give them a new life. Their goal is to eventually get to the point where it does not source new wools and cottons. The possibility to invent a perfect self-sustaining system seems still questionable, however, the efforts around it did make tangible and meaningful results. Turbines and engines have gotten more efficient than ever, recycling has become such big part of production in the manufacturing industry, and CAC started sending fewer western people and use more indigenous human resources for global social impact. We already have the keys in us to the ultimate challenge – forward/long-term thinking, pure intention, and cohesive character. We just have to live and die by them, and then changes will come as byproducts.