In 2020, Coaches Across Continents (CAC), with the Commonwealth Secretariat, created a play-based educational resource, covering issues such as anxiety, self-esteem, and stress. 96% of CAC partners reported the mental well-being of youth they engage has been affected by the pandemic. The resource seeks to benefit any organisation, community, coach, or teacher who interact with young people. The activities are adaptable to participant numbers and restrictions (distancing, hygiene etc) so they can be used in contexts where social distancing and hygiene measures are necessary.
In many ways COVID-19 has brought the world together as we adapt to the lack of travel and group experiences by connecting online and through messaging platforms. We can increase access to sport for development by designing interactive learning techniques accessible for all such as global video sharing and collaboration, active sport for development video games, and virtual reality technology.
COVID-19 has denied people the ability to socialise, play, and move, causing everyone to re-assess what really matters. One of the key opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic recovery presents to sport and play is that its benefits have been reinforced in people’s minds. We can build back better post COVID-19 by re-emphasising sport and play’s role in the emotional and social development of young people as opposed to primarily its role in elite talent development. Coaches using resources such as our Mental Health through Sport curriculum in their work will transform the perception of play in the minds of young people, parents, teachers, and communities.
Mind Your Mind
Our latest on-field programme is with the incredible Sports With a Mission (SWAM) India team, who have been using Purposeful Play in Bangalore to raise awareness of Mental Health. Delivered by Superstar CIC Benny and his wife Nandini, Team SWAM continue to show the power of Education Outside the Classroom…
Sports With A Mission (SWAM) is a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, India. We teach life skills through sports for vulnerable population. SWAM teaches education outside the classroom through purposeful play and we encourage self-directed learning, through which we address the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals #3, 4 and 5, which focus on General Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education and Gender Equality.
In partnership with CAC, we decided to deliver a program to 15 participants, so we could comply with local government restrictions. The only thing that was on our mind is which group to reach out to for the program because our regular football club players had exams. We contacted young man named Vimal who has a dance studio, as he had reached out to us earlier to conduct some workshops for his students. He was very eager and excited and immediately put together a group of 14 members.
The preparations for the event began by clearing out the ground and trying to make it as even as possible to avoid injuries. The next thing was to see if we had all the resources for the event. We went shopping for refreshments, balls, bibs and markers. We created posters and banners for the program and got our first standee made to showcase what work we do. We did a little research about getting in mobile toilets but they were too expensive and there was a lack of water at the venue. The day before the event we took all our material right from tables, chairs, first aid kits, water cans and drinking water in our small car. We were shocked to see the number of things that fit into it.
Finally, the day to begin the event, it rained the previous day and the whole ground was slushy. There was a lot of anxiety because we were unsure of the participants showing up. When we saw them enter it was clear to us that most often we live with assumptions the reality is very different. The participants came with an empty mind because they did not know what our sessions would be like and were surprised at the end of the first session as to how games can make us understand so many issues that are otherwise swept under the carpet. The participants enjoyed the Playing with Distance games, a serious discussion happened after the Balancing Emotions because most of them would not express other emotions apart from happiness due to shame, fear of judgment and labeling, fear of losing a friend, discomfort within the group. After the program they realized the importance of expression and communication, most of them are ready to make a change and will try to implement what they have learnt in the program. The group is interested in continuing their relationship with SWAM with more such workshops every quarter.
Going The Extra Mile to Combat COVID-19
We are delighted to be extending our partnership with Bloomberg Extra Mile in China and Japan. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic Bloomberg’s Square Mile Relays, held in cities around the world, were canceled for 2020. Instead they have switched to virtual races and challenges with a portion of the money raised going to local charities in each location as part of The Extra Mile initiative. Coaches Across Continents, working with local partners, is The Extra Mile partner in Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo.
We will be using our adaptable COVID-19 curricula to address physical activity, disease prevention, and mental-well-being in each city. CAC will train local coaches and leaders in using the curricula and cover topics of relevance to their communities. Following this training the local coaches in each city will deliver year-round programming in schools and communities with at-risk youth. This programming will ideally be in-person but is adaptable to online if required by national guidelines.
We also currently work with Bloomberg Extra Mile and Football United in Sydney. In addition CAC has previously delivered Extra Mile programming in Beijing and Tokyo. We are honored to be supported by Bloomberg to address COVID-19 in multiple countries.
SuperHero, Elvis Nshimba
After a two week break, our 2020 on-field delivery returned last week and we were delighted to work with our long-term CIC, Elvis Nshimba, in the community of Kalebuka, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Elvis Nshimba reminds us of a SuperHero. In the community of Kalebuka, he is one of the many superstars of our partners Malaika. Malaika provide free primary and secondary education to over 300 girls, run a successful community centre and have recently installed and refurbished 19 wells in their local community – ensuring that over 30,000 people have access to clean drinking water. Amidst this force of change, Elvis spent years building his career as an English teacher and as his skills grew, so did his responsibilities. So much so, that his ‘day job’ is now as part of the Executive Team where he oversees the programmes and the evaluation of initiatives throughout the school.
And like any superhero, Elvis has an alter ego. He is one of the world’s leading #PurposefulPlay Educators! A Community Impact Coach since 2014, Elvis’ energy and enthusiasm are infectious and participants in his training sessions always want more. Elvis has impacted over 10,000 children in his time with CAC, running programmes in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and most recently, running his own #EducationOutsideTheClassroom programme in the DRC.
With CAC’s support, Elvis delivered a world class programme for teachers, coaches and educators – providing mentorship around Covid-19 safety, CAC SAFE and gender equality.
DREAMS In Nairobi
August 5th 2020. This last week CAC has been back On-fFeld, as we look to resume our programming after COVID-19 brought a halt to our Instruct schedule. Community Impact Coach David Mulo of Green-Kenya led the delivery, working in partnership with Beyond Hoops Africa and DREAMS (Determined, Resilient, AIDS-free, Mentored and SAFE).
Over the last several months, CAC has been in discussions with key partners and communities around the world, planning and waiting patiently to resume Education Outside the Classroom. One of those partners is Beyond Hoops Africa, a Nairobi based charity who use basketball to change peoples lives in and around the slums. Through these conversations we were introduced to DREAMS, and we learnt about 30 young mothers who have aspirations of being entrepreneurs. Thus, we created a programme that included COVID-19 education but also one with a large focus on financial literacy.
Through play, all 30 of the participants said they now felt more comfortable with the varying aspects of financial literacy and they now better understand COVID-19 and how to better protect themselves and others.
Nike & CAC Expand Partnership
Congratulations to our partners Nike on being a finalist for the Corporate Community Impact Award at the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards. They were a finalist for their Nike Community Ambassador program, which utilizes a CAC-designed curriculum and methodology, to give Nike store employees around the world the opportunity to share their love of sport with the next generation. Last year more than 5,400 store employees in 24 countries served as Nike Community Ambassadors, volunteering as coaches in their local communities to help get kids playing so they can reach their full potential. The Awards took place in conjunction with the 2020 ESPYS on June 21st.
We are delighted to announce that CAC is now working with Nike to provide urgent relief while creating a long term educational pathway for children to stay safe in these incredibly challenging times. This is the first program which addresses play-based education during COVID-19 in addition to emergency needs.
Thanks to Nike’s support CAC and our partners working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in Colombia, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines will be provided funding for the items their communities need including food, soap, face masks, and essential items. Leaders from our partner programs in these countries will be given the resources they need to find creative ways to use play to address the pandemic. In addition, partners in 5 other countries will be given our play-based educational resources to encourage their beneficiaries to stay physically active and mentally well.
Our COVID-19 response partnership with Nike has provided essential funding to community-based organizations to distribute vital goods to the community while building a long-term educational pathway for youth. For example:
In Indonesia Uni Papua FC are distributing rice and masks to at-risk families while providing football-based educational sessions about preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In Philippines FundLife are distributing food and female hygiene packs while designing safe play-based educational sessions which will focus on mental-well being of youth when restrictions allow.
In Colombia Niñas sin Miedo are distributing hygiene items and antibacterial gel while delivering educational sessions to girls focused on how to support each other during lock down.
In India Slum Soccer are providing ration and hygiene kit to 40 underserved families in Nagpur while delivering their ‘Be Careful, Not Fearful’ play-based program which teach youth about issues such as social distancing, hand-washing, and fact-based decision-making.
Contact us for more information: