• Conservation and Education

    July 21, 2017. CAC Global Citizen Nicole Slevin wrote about our first year with World Parks, World Cup in Bende-Mutale, South Africa.

    This week we partnered with World Parks, World Cup in Bende-Mutale located in the far NE corner of South Africa, bordering Zimbabwe & Mozambique. WPWC’s goal is to bring together the communities that surround the Great Limpopo National Park, in these neighboring countries, establishing open communication and support with groups that might not otherwise connect. They have the opportunity to build and share resources, with the Coaches Across Continents curriculum as a common link, between the coaches, teachers, community leaders and the children in these villages. It is a great vision and we were excited to be involved from the beginning!

    This was my first week being a Global Citizen with CAC, and my first week ever visiting South Africa! No one could have promised me or prepared me for such a rich experience. I don’t think I have ever learned so much in such a short window of time. Every day is filled with new learning opportunities, genuine unique human interactions, and little moments of gratitude and magic. Along with the beauty of the sunsets, the vastness of the trees in the bush & the varying animals that keep you company at night. It’s hard not to fall in love with South Africa and the remarkable experience of working with CAC. 

    I quickly learned this is a complex program, coaching in and of itself is hard! Being a good and effective coach takes practice and clear intentions. CAC’s curriculum does so much, by providing Self-Directed Learning techniques to the coaches, so that when the program is over the lessons and social impact topics still continue being discussed. It’s a mixture of teaching effective coaching practices, dependable football skills, setting up an environment for social impact discussions, and providing guidance on how coaches and leaders can use these in their own environments. With a few daily life lessons to go along in that mix. It’s a lot! But I’ll say it again  – I’ve never learned so much in just one week. 

    There were many memorable moments during the week – of course, watching the games implemented with kids running around barefoot and happy. I could be a part of that everyday! But there were also many moments with the coaches in the program, when good discussions were had after a game or when they provided positive feedback that the program was going to help change how they coached or taught at the schools. They were extremely grateful and without asking, it was clear that we had made a difference. That’s a feeling I want to always remember.  I felt lucky to work with such amazing, engaged people. 

    Elvis, the CIC traveling with us from the Democratic Republic of Congo said tonight – “I didn’t know what good volunteering could do for me, until I worked with CAC. Then I realized that doing something for someone else, without expecting something in return – it can bring peace, even in the mind.” 

    As we drive away in the early morning, headed to Zimbabwe, Charlie plays Andrea Bocelli’s “Time to say goodbye”.  And we can leave smiling, knowing we did good work with the people of WPWC in Bende-Mutale.

  • Today Is Peace Day!

    September 21st 2016. Today is Peace Day. This UN recognized day, facilitated by Peace One Day, is a day to promote peace and international cooperation through events and activities. One of the key Peace Day initiatives is One Day One Goal. This initiative uses the power of soccer to unite people, strengthen peace-building efforts and educate about social inclusion. Some of the biggest supporters of One Day One Goal include global sporting ambassadors Gary Lineker, Victor Wanyama and Fabrice Muamba. As part of One Day One Goal over the past few years, we provide a Peace Day resource packet to organizations in over 130 countries. This packet helps them play games to teach youth about understanding forms of violence and avoiding stereotypes. To see a recent example of the reconciliatory nature of the CAC curriculum and sport check out this recent blog from Indonesia which united two conflicting communities. This topic is especially important in the current global climate of ethnic divisiveness often stoked by fear and paranoia. No matter your medium, promoting peace and social inclusion for Peace Day will send an important message of unity.

    Today and over the next week organizations will be running events and activities using sport to promote peace. For example, our partners in DRC Malaika, ran sports sessions, dance events and theater at their community center. Training4ChangeS our partner in South Africa ran problem solving games on Peace Day with key community leaders. In Uganda, Soccer Without Borders Uganda had their children, many of whom are refugees; sing songs; play sport; and make crafts. Naz Goal in India ran events to promote peace between their young people. This is just a small sample of the Peace Day activities- there will be many more over the next few days. If you are running Peace Day 2016 events please send the pictures and stories to and we will promote your inspirational work.

    Who will you make peace with this Peace Day?

  • Give Us A Problem… We’ll Address It With Sport

    August 4th 2016. CAC’s second year partnering with Menelik Education in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    Problem: Corruption

    Corruption is an epidemic with greedy claws gripping the international community. Sometimes it dons an invisibility cloak. Other times it stares you straight in the eyes. When corruption made itself abundantly visible to the ignorant members of the global football family, the beautiful game felt violated. So why not use that very game to stimulate dialogue on the issue?

    Solution: Sport

    The group of coaches is split into four teams. Each team lines up behind one of four cones equidistant from each other and from the center of the space. In the center lay scattered pieces of any kind of material – cones, bibs, balls, or anything (safe) that a coach can get their hands on. On this day we have cones and bibs aplenty.

    The first task: one person at a time from each team sprints to the middle, selects one piece of equipment, brings it back to their team, tags the next person, and joins the end of their team’s line. Continue until all the equipment is out of the middle. Simple? Simple. 1-2-3-Go!

    We have a mix of misunderstanding and outright cheating. We clarify rules – one person at a time, one piece of equipment at a time, and the next person must wait until they are tagged before they go. What’s the difference between making a mistake and cheating? Great – we’re on the same page.

    Task two: This time each team has a goal of 6 pieces of equipment total and must decide how many of each type will make up the 6. For example they can set their goal at 4 cones and 2 bibs or 3 cones and 3 bibs. Then we will see which team has achieved their goal.

    We allow the teams a few minutes. We hear their goals. We take away some equipment to ensure chaos. We test their concentration with some start-when-I-say-go-1-2-3-begins. We play.

    CHEATING!

    We ask if they saw any cheating. They all point fingers at the other teams. We ask if anyone will own to cheating. A few raise hands. We praise their honesty. We ask why they think people, in general, are motivated to cheat? They discuss. We listen.

    The desire to win at all costs. Because other people are. Because everyone else is.

    How do you feel if you win by cheating? How do you feel if you lose but did not cheat? Why is the fear of failure greater than the fear of dishonesty?

    Idea pause. Let’s play again. Do you want to play with or without cheating? Without? Okay let’s give it a go.

    Third task: Same rules. But this time once all the equipment is gone from the middle you can begin taking stuff from the other teams. All previous rules remain though – one person at a time, one piece at a time, etc. If you want you can adjust your goals. One minute, then we play. 1-2-3-Go!

    Good… gooooood… okayyy… niiiice… well done… uh oh… oh no… here we go…. OH MY CHEATING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Absolute chaos. Let’s explore. What happened?

    Some more accusations. Laughter. Some honest reflections. Some delicious silence.

    Cheating was infectious. Like corruption? How do people become corrupt in your community? How can you prevent corruption? They discuss. We listen.

    The group of 30 coaches from Boma, DRC organized by CAC partner Menelik Education, was curious with a dash of skepticism that sport could be used to teach subjects like sexual health and corruption. After growing better acquainted with our methodology and several CAC games, we hope they believe in the power of sport. A power, like any, that can be bent towards destruction… unless we choose otherwise, unafraid to fail, praising honesty and vulnerability as we explore the chaos.

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  • Let us play: Congo Mothers Call for Parity

    July 28th 2016. Our third year On-Field with Malaika through the eyes, ears, and words of SDL Coach and ASK for Choice Strategist, Nora Dooley.

    “Tomorrow morning we will ask a group of about sixty Congolese men what they are going to do for the women and girls in their communities. What would you like me to tell them on behalf of you, the mothers of Kalebuka?”

    It was Thursday afternoon and I was sitting in a circle with my teammates and twenty women, all mothers of children who play at Malaika’s FIFA Football for Hope Center near Lubumbashi, DRC. We had just finished the fourth day On-Field with a fantastic bunch of participants. The group was comprised mostly of returning coaches from the two previous years of CAC trainings, the vast majority being older men with clear experience in both playing and coaching football.

    Now, to massively understate, I’ve led a few CAC programs where I am in the minority as a woman. I find confidence here – almost as if the strength of all the incredible females I’ve ever met or known is fueling me in this seemingly boundless male-dominated territory. But looking around the circle at these mothers… I’ve never felt so small. I let go of all personal doubts as to what I was doing there and dove in. I had to hear them – and not just because I was selfishly eager to know even a small part of their stories, but because all week long conversations about gender equity and women’s rights were sprouting up from men. It was past time for the woman’s voice to Mingle Mingle.

    We laughed, we listened, we danced. And I carefully noted.

    The intense week with the coaches charged my emotions in this session. In four days we had explored ideas about different cultural possibilities, different organized religious beliefs (or lack thereof), and new and different ways to venture into these types of vital discussions on the football pitch. The participants were given the opportunity to identify a specific social issue and adapt or invent a game that would create space to discuss solutions. We danced through the struggles and vulnerabilities of coaching for social impact that – in my opinion – inevitably produce more beautiful music. One of the key conversations was unpacking the coaching toolbox that the participants could make use of if they so chose. A particular tool that came up repeatedly on and off the field was the use of a coach’s ears. And how as leaders we have the option to lecture or listen. The movement from the former to the latter over the course of the coaches’ practical sessions was profound. Our model, demonstrated not forced: their choice.

    They chose and chose and chose.  And we listened. After two years of Child Protection Policy trainings (bearing in mind the bulk of returning participants) and the outspoken passion these men demonstrated as they brought up gender inequalities as problems, it was time to shake things up for some localized policy design.

    The final day began with small group discussions:

    Imagine a future where women and men are treated equally: what does that look like for you?

    What is preventing this future from being reality?

    What must we do to achieve this future? What would you include in a policy/action plan for gender equity – for the rights of women and girls in your communities?

    They vehemently engaged, discussed, shared, listed, debated, agreed to disagree on some things, unanimously agreed on others. They had big ideas and some steps in mind to realize them. But there was still an essential missing piece. I told them about our meeting the previous afternoon with the mothers. I told them we had something to add on behalf of those women. I asked the men if they wanted to listen.

    They chose, once again, to use those brilliant ears and I was given a most humbling and thrilling honor of channeling the voices of these Kalebuka mothers, echoing thousands (millions?), as I read aloud their call for parity.

    “We women have all the same rights as you.”

    “Come with us, men and women together, into the community to share knowledge about girls’ and women’s rights.”

    “Let us play! You need to create space and opportunities for us and our daughters to play. If you get two days on the field… we get two days!”

    “Encourage us, and include us!”

    “We are strong, too.”

    And if I may be so bold to add… We are women, and we ASK for Choice!!!

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  • My Week In Chililabombwe

    July 12th 2016. Community Impact Coach Elvis Nshimba wrote about his time with CAC and Malalo Sports Foundation in Chililabombwe, Zambia.

    I’m very happy and honored to work with Coaches Across Continents. In 2014, I attended the training of CAC games in Lubumbashi within my organization (Malaika Foundation). The following year I attended the second training with interest and was committed to implement what I was learning.

    I realized that working with Coaches Across Continents as a Community Impact Coach is an important thing for my life and for my organization. My application was accepted and I was appointed to go and implement games we learned at Chililabombwe in Zambia.

    Being my first time to work as a Community Impact Coach in a foreign country, I felt very excited as my need to travel is growing. I had a great week in Chililabombwe from the 3rd to the 10th of July with a great team: Nora Dooley, Ruben Alvarado, Macie Jones and Nico Achimpota.

    I began teaching games that I didn’t know before, but as a Community Impact Coach, I was able to read them once and understand what I could do with local coaches in Zambia. Teaching the first game wasn’t so easy, but the second and the following were great games we taught.

    In this trip, I learned many things about people, their lifestyle, different issues they have in their community and I improved my English. Zambian coaches were very kind, friendly and humble. They were good at implementing games we taught them, and committed to positively impact their community by using sport with boys and girls.

    I would like to thank very much the Boards of Coaches Across Continents who allowed me, through this program, to go beyond my country, and as a Community Impact Coach, I wish to keep on running On-Field programs with them any where they can send me as a volunteer. I’m also grateful to Ruben and Nora who helped me improve my knowledge in implementing games.

    As long as this program keeps on being run, I hope to contribute with my knowledge and my energy to impact the world with positive messages through sports.

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  • Martabaks and Ministers

    CAC volunteer Charlie Crawford blogs from Jakarta, Indonesia with Uni Papua.

    September 23rd 2015. After our arrival in Jakarta, Coaches Across Continents had a rare evening of having more people present than our hosts. With 6 CAC coaches in one place (3 full-time and 3 volunteers), we went out for a delicious meal with some of the leaders and coaches of our partner program, Uni Papua. A full stomach and a good night’s sleep later, the CAC Coaches went their separate ways while Turner and I stayed in the big city to spend a week with some of the core Uni Papua coaches. We worked each day in a roofed basketball court of a local primary school where being pointed and stared at became our standard greeting. It was a small group of coaches, but because of that we were able to give more one-on-one attention than we typically can.

    To get around the city we were introduced to a new friend named Rudolph (as fitting a name for a guide in an unknown country as I’ve ever heard). Among his many gratitude inspiring actions, I don’t think I can thank him enough for introducing me to the Indonesian dessert, martabaks. The closest I can describe a martabak is as an inch thick pancake thickly coated in butter, sugar, crushed peanuts, more butter, chocolate, then folded over and handed to you in a box. I could have sworn I heard a few arteries close as I devoured this food from the gods.  Some things should not be allowed to exist in a healthy world. Its times like these I can’t help but appreciate a little indulgence.

    CAC has put me in two of the most formal settings of my life. One was a meeting in a conference room of one of the Ministers of the Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The other was a debriefing in Jakarta’s Ministry of Housing. Serious faces on serious people speaking Bahasa (a language I’m practically limited to counting to 6, saying “thank you” and saying “slow down”). In the inevitable bureaucratic fashion, snacks were distributed to ease the delay of the proceedings (a rice-ball filled with something savory wrapped in a banana leaf). Once Harry, the leader of Uni Papua, began to speak, Turner and I could pick out enough words to see that he was introducing the concept of Sport for Social Impact to the group of 50 well-dressed members of the community. The people in this room had gathered to hear about this new way to coach and how Uni Papua would be using it to host the Jakarta Football Festival – Rusun Cup, a massive youth tournament to take place the following month. An impressive endeavor that gained the much appreciated help of the governor himself.

    Some would find it uncomfortable given a seat at the front and being occasionally gestured towards in this language we couldn’t understand. Before CAC I would have been one of those. Instead, when it came time for Turner to ask for volunteers to play a couple games as demonstration, I was confident that they would go well.  They did. Formality faded in an instant and the top floor of the Ministry of Housing filled with the laughter and problem solving that is so naturally part of Coaches Across Continents. Jakarta and CAC were understanding each other.

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