• 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

  • VLC to Tackle Women’s Rights & Policy

    March 15, 2016. The Virtual Learning Community is Coaches Across Continents’ latest innovative strategic resource in our sport for social impact partnerships and to provide education for a changing world. The Virtual Learning Community (or VLC) is a series of specially designed monthly webinars that focus on key topics that allow for capacity building among sport for social impact organizations. Launched in January, the response has been wildly successful, being utilized by our partners across five continents. Hosted by CAC on a platform by Edudip, the VLC allows CAC to give presentations on critical issues, interact with participants, release videos, and obtain real-time monitoring and evaluation feedback.

    Originally open to members of our current partner programs, Coaches Across Continents is now proud to open this opportunity to any coach or organizational representative who is interested in sport for development. This growth will ultimately impact tens of millions of children in hundreds of countries, including war-torn areas or organizations not yet working with CAC.

    The next VLC will occur on March 23rd (9 AM EST, USA or 8 PM EST, USA) and is the most ambitious topic to date: creating gender equity policies for Women’s Rights specific to local communities. The webinar will delve into the existing CAC Women’s Rights policy, based on the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and then move towards working with participants to adopt, adapt, and then create their own women’s rights and gender equity policies for use in their own communities. Hosted by Dr. Judith Gates, Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz, and sustainability strategist Adam Burgess, this is an opportunity not to be missed.

    If you are interested in attending and participating in the next VLC (March 23nd), please contact us at:  

    VLC photo

     

  • CAC Attends Trust Women Conference, 2014

    November 18, 2014. Dr. Judith Gates, CAC Board Member, attends the 2014 Trust Women Conference in London over the next two days. Trust Women is an opportunity for leaders from different sectors around the world to unite around a shared commitment to empowering women.

    Coaches Across Continents, global leaders in sport for social impact, puts commitment to action every day on fields around the world with our football for female empowerment curriculum. This is a great event for CAC to be a part of, networking with like-minded organizations to take strides in the quest for gender equality, but also for a range of outlets, from government to foundations to corporations and media, to learn about what CAC is doing from a women’s rights pioneer.

    Dr. Judith Gates has been an integral part of Coaches Across Continents from the organization’s inception. She is not only a key member of the Board but also the mind behind our ‘Chance to Choice’ curriculum and Self-Directed Learning philosophy. There is no better person to be representing CAC and all that we stand for in the name of female empowerment at such an international event.

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  • CAC, Hofstra, Soccer, and Pelé

    IMG_9421April 13, 2014. Another weekend, another speaking event for CAC Chief Executive Strategist, Brian Suskiewicz. A return home of sorts, Brian spoke at the “Soccer As The Beautiful Game” conference at Hofstra University in New York. Before CAC Brian was Associate Head Coach for the Hofstra Men’s Soccer Team from 2004 to 2009, winning three CAA titles during those five years. To say Brian was happy to return is an understatement, but throw a football legend into the mix and words fall short of expressing our delight in participating in this event.

    Brian has a chance to share a few words with Pele

    Brian has a chance to share a few words with legendary footballer and global icon Pele

    One of the big activities of the weekend, aside from gathering the all-stars of the sport for development field, was to give Pelé, THE Pelé, an honorary degree from Hofstra. His ties to the university go back to his days as a player as the NY Cosmos used to train at Hofstra in the 1970s.  Pelé also spoke at the conference, noting that coming to play for the NY Cosmos “was the best thing in my life.  It was the best decision to come to play in the United States.”  He also noted that soccer is “the biggest family in the world.”  Brian was honored to have a few moments to speak with Pelé and thank him for inspiring generations of footballers all over the world.  A full video of his 5-minute speech on Friday evening can be found here.

    Besides his brief meeting with the global icon, Brian spoke on two panels during this first ever event at his old stomping ground. The first focused on “Football, Pedagogy, and Integration,” and Brian capitalized on this opportunity to detail our philosophy of self-directed learning. Brian partook in this panel with other academics in the field, sharing ideas on how soccer can change the world, creating self-directed learners based on Dr. Judith Gates’ Chance to Choice educational theory.

    The second panel shifted attentions to “Empowerment, Social Integration, and Soccer”, moving from the theoretical to the practical. Many familiar faces joined Brian as he spoke about our work on the field in more than twenty-five countries around the world. Friends and partners of CAC who also participated include Mary McVeigh from Soccer Without Borders – who we are working with in Uganda this month! – as well as representatives from streetfootballworld, Love Futbol, and America Scores.  The interested crowd asked dozens of questions varying from implementation practices to supporting global charities.

    We are proud to be part of events like this, honored to be among such stellar figures in our field of not only international development but also international football – nice to meet you Pelé! Moreover, we are proud because we are the global leaders in sport for social impact and these platforms allow us to spread awareness for what we do with the incredible local organizations we are so grateful to call our partners.