Our New Normal
23rd July 2020. After the COVID-19 global pandemic halted all On-Field education in 2020, Coaches Across Continents and our partners have been eagerly awaiting our return to Purposeful Play across the world – and on July 21st it was fitting that Nico Achimpota of Tanzania would lead the way.
This week was our return to On-Field programming, after a hiatus of 128 days due to the still on-going world pandemic. We have made some changes to our on-field delivery to comply with local and international guidelines, for example we are 1) seeking permission from local authorities in advance and making them aware we will be hosting training, 2) supporting our partners to provide washing stations and face masks to participants and 3) capping the number of participants at each programme to 30 to ensure we can safely distance whenever possible.
Whilst many countries are unfortunately still battling Covid-19, Tanzania has managed to return to their ‘new normal’ as of June 28th and have had no new reported cases since the 8th of May*. Tanzania is also a special place for CAC – we held our first programme there in 2008 and it is home to our first Community Impact Coach, Nico Achimpota.
In this case it was rather special then, that our first Purposeful Play programme in over four months was delivered by Nico in CAC’s home away from home. Nico delivered a three day Education Outside the Classroom training, which consisted of COVID-19 response, Child Rights and Environmental education, all using CAC’s curriculum and methodology.
CAC and our partners are in a unique situation, where the new normal will look different across all of the countries we partner in. It’s important we continue to work with our local leaders and experts, to deliver safe, fun and effective learning to the communities who need it most.
*accurate as of 10am 23/7/20
CAC Launches Coach Accreditation Program
January 14th 2020. Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce the first-ever global Accredited Coaches initiative. Accredited Coaches are the only coaches in the world equipped with Education Outside the Classroom training to impact the UNSDGs and Safe-Guarding Child Rights through Purposeful Play curriculum and methodology.
After 10 years working and learning how to best deliver sport and education around the world, Coaches Across Continents is now offering the next step in facilitator training by providing standards and processes to become an official, Accredited Coach.
Accredited Coaches have the skills and resources to design, develop and implement locally-driven and sustainable Education Outside the Classroom programs for youth of all ages and to train other leaders to do the same. They are able to develop their players athletically, with an emphasis of success put on their intentional actions towards addressing specific UNSDG’s.
Becoming an Accredited Coach will improve that leader’s ability to create sustainable change based on the UNSDGs, to find and secure funding and award opportunities, to enhance their brand reputation, and to deliver expert consultancy in Purposeful Play.
Girls and Women Empowerment At Reclaim Childhood
September 17, 2019. CAC Community Impact Coach Marion Dubois from one of our European partners, Fútbol Más France writes about her experience in Jordan.
Last week, we were in Amman and we worked with the 10 coaches of Reclaim Childhood who lead after school sport programs and summer camp with girls (most of them refugees) in underserved communities in Amman and Zarqa, Jordan. All of them are women who come from the communities they work with.
During these 4 days of on-field training, the coaches put into practice the learning acquired during all their experience and this third-year CAC program. We played some new games and it was also an opportunity for them to improve their coaching and creation of games. They coached the last two days of the training to external social organization (Right to Play and Collateral Repair Project staff) who were invited for that occasion.
We also had off-field discussions where topics such as teamwork, self-confidence and also gender equity and the welcoming and integration of refugees were discussed. Some of the games played by the coaches were adapted from their personal experiences, as most of them are also refugees (from Palestine, Iraq, Syria). We had a very relevant conversation about our role as coaches to generate through #PurposefulPlay certain discussions which can provide tools for the girls to overcome trauma and improve their well-being, and how sport for social impact can help to reach the UNSDG 3 “Good health and well-being” and UNSDG 4 “Quality Education”.
Right after our visit, regular RC programs were going to start again and the coaches showed us, with the on-field practices and off-field discussions, that they will continue their amazing #
Bus-Bound for Busia
July 15, 2019. Long-time Community Impact Coach Salim Blanden from Mbrara leads a CAC training for the first time.
I jump on a Kenya bound bus, but my final destination is Busia near the Uganda-Kenya borders. On the bus with me is Jamie Craig Tomkinson who I have ran a program with in Jinja with X-SUBA. Very tired from the last program we both slept off immediately once we entered the bus and within just two hours we had reached our destination (Busia).
On the first day in Busia, we thought it was a local market day as we experienced a big crowd but we were told it’s a normal day because Busia is a very over populated area being a business area because of nearing the Uganda-Kenya border.
Jamie and I are both ready to run our programs with YES Busia, one of the organizations that is partnering with CAC to implement Purposeful Play. We are supposed to run separate programs on two fields in Busia; one of the programs on the nearby local field at a primary school to be run by me and another in Masafu village to be run by Jamie. YES Busia is the only organization in Busia that is using sports to reach out to the local community to teach about the most pressing social issues which include on HIV (UNSDG3: Health & Wellness), education (UNSDG4: Quality Education), poverty (UNSDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth), and the environment (UNSDG13: Climate Action). Ongatai Amosias, the leader of YES Busia, is working with young leaders in his office to bring about the positive social change. On the program with me is Mary, Moureen, Flavia and Dorcas who are acting as co-facilitators and also helping on other logistics. Mary and Moureen are helping out in running some games because they have been teaching CAC games in primary schools that work with YES Busia.
First day for me to run such a program on my own is an interesting day for me. There are so many women on the program compared to men, something that is not so common in most communities I have worked with. Most of these are teachers from nearby primary schools and others are locals from the nearby villages.
Being the second year CAC is running programs in Busia, there are some returnees from the last program and they can quickly understand the games, and some teachers have knowledge about the games because Mary and Moureen, the YES facilitators, have been running these games in different primary schools. Dorcas is also one of the facilitators of YES Busia and works with Mary and Moureen to run games in schools. Dorcas is helping out with making sure we have balls, bibs and cones for use at the pitch and takes care of everything but also joins in to play with other participants after to participate. She asks questions and is very confident and in our afternoon meeting, Jamie thinks she can be a potential CIC from YES Busia.
The participants loved the games and wants CAC to come back next year. My highlight was when we played a game about HIV Myths (Ballack Clears HIV Myths). We had a lengthy discussion about HIV after the game to learn about the myths and also teach about HIV and people requested we talk a lot about HIV. My wish to the organization to help mobilise and educate more people about HIV in the villages of Busia.
Coaches Across Continents worked with 156 participants over 5 days, impacting 18,000 children in the Busia district of Uganda.
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)!
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