• So Many Dreams Swinging out of the Blue – Oh Let Them Come True

    August 9th 2016. CAC returning volunteer Frederick Schwarzmaier wrote about his time in Malawi with the Banda Bola Foundation.

    “We lack messages that reach the households for active participation in matters like early marriage, school drop-outs, Tuberculosis and Malaria deaths, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and sanitation issues” proclaimed Judith Manda, the chairperson of Malengamzoma Women Empowerment Forum, on the first day of our ‘ASK for Choice’ program that focuses on gender equality and female empowerment. We quickly found that it would be vital to address the topics of child rights, women’s rights and health & wellness with fun, far-reaching and universally applicable games throughout our programs in Chituka Village. During the program we thoroughly enjoyed the support and advice of our local partner Keni Banda, co-founder of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Division, a persistent fighter of inequality in his homeland.

    It aches hearing stories about children, especially girls, dropping out of school because of early marriage or pregnancy – often suppressed by their male counterparts. Commonly uttered statements like “Mothers desperately wishing for grandchildren” or “We need our children as working power” are entirely egotistical  and short-sighted. It comes as no surprise that Malawi has a female literacy rate of only 58.6% compared to the global average of 82.7%. Denying children the right to education forces them down an alley of broken dreams and uncertainty. Affected children will likely never have the chance to make up for their lost years in school – particularly in countries like Malawi where opportunity is a scarce commodity. People focus too much on the short-term benefits while also lacking foresight. This may seem rational to many as benefits can be realized promptly. However, sustainable success will fail to happen when people act for their own benefit and interest –  admittedly this is a subliminal process as fear and uncertainty are driving factors when making those decisions. Nonetheless, as Barack Obama said before he was inaugurated, “We must ask not just ‘Is it profitable?’ but ‘Is it right?’”. I don’t claim this pointing at Malawian grown-ups but to every adult in the world. We have reached the point where when something does not make money, it is not a priority. Too often we tend to undermine and neglect long-term as well as indirect benefits. We need to restructure our society, how it is set up and re-prioritize what values are important. Profit of the individual should never be more important than education and human life. The fact that it is, is a problem.

    Why are these decisions made so often? Intellectual and material poverty triggers these decisions. If one fights for survival every day it comes natural to put oneself first. In order to make healthy decisions on somebody’s behalf, one needs to act unselfishly to a certain degree. But how to act unselfishly if you don’t possess anything? The question itself seems absurd and contradictory. When you only give but not receive, it needs a lot of love and greatness to act selflessly.

    Over the past week, we were talking a lot about our future which is the children. Sadly, they have no voice, they are not given any choices and they are restricted by culture and customs. To change these unhealthy patterns, culture and custom norms need to be reconsidered and education needs to be made a priority. Reconsideration of norms and particularly education are investments in the future. The more educated we become, the more opportunities will arise. Moreover, education can prevent cases such as child trafficking, alcohol and drug abuse, and other social issues. The term ‘education’ must not be limited to an antiquated view of going to school but to a broader one that also conveys children their rights. Education in this sense can make dreams come true again.

    To disrupt this vicious cycle of unhealthy choices at the expense of others we need local superheroes of any gender and age. We need people with courage, persistence, the vision for a better tomorrow and the drive to lead change in their communities. However, in recent years we have made leadership about changing the world. But there is no world, there are only seven billion and counting understandings of it and we must respect every single one. If we can change the people’s understanding of it, understanding of what they are capable of and understanding of how much people care about them, we might change the circumstances. This is where the local coaches come in – our superheros. Small actions that come in numbers can make a big difference.

    Although our team in Chitkua Village comes from three different continents, our common understanding is equality. Coaches Across Continents will not retreat from standing up for equal rights and opportunity, neither will I or should you.

    Our participants in Chituka Village proved that change for the better is possible. While the children were sent away from the sessions at the beginning of the week; at the end they were included. We had a great time in Chituka Village and time flew by as swiftly as in a good movie. I sometimes felt like I was in a movie when driving in those overcrowded mini-buses or walking across the fields on paths landlocked by head-high crops and miles of car-suitable roads. However, the movie is not over yet and people are still writing their script. For that purpose, we imparted fact-based knowledge, fresh insights and alternative approaches to help them make healthy choices for a better communal living. I hope they are writing towards a happy ending but only the future will tell.

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  • CAC’s 2015: A Year In Review!

    April 26th 2016. Coaches Across Continents is delighted to present our Annual Review 2015! This incredible document, developed with the Taiji Brand Group, brings our record-breaking 2015 to life. It details the highlights of our year from developing our ASK for Choice curriculum as a Clinton Global Initiative member to the inspirational work of our partners on key global days such as Peace Day. The review provides more information on some of our community partnerships which address topics such as disaster recovery in Nepal, refugees in Uganda and child rights in Brazil.

    This year we are giving twenty lucky CAC supporters the chance to win an ultra-durable One World Futbol. All you have to do is read the Annual Review and complete this simple questionnaire (Hint: if you don’t know the answers you can find them in our Annual Review 2015!). Anyone who answers the questions correctly will be entered into the draw to win!

    Once again here is the Annual Review 2015.

    And click here for the form and a chance to win a One World Futbol.

    We want to thank each and everyone of you for your ongoing support of Coaches Across Continents. We hope you enjoy reading this review as much as we enjoyed doing the work!

    Malaika. Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Online Education Program Runs Across 4 Continents

    April 22nd 2016. In December 2015 twelve participants successfully graduated from the first worldwide Online Education Program (OEP) in Sport for Social Impact. Coaches Across Continents (CAC) was delighted to certify these participants who invested 160 hours each during this 9-month course. The coaches are now qualified to use online technology, including Sport Session Planner (SSP), Skype, and email. Through these skills they are now further impacting children and youth locally and globally by sharing games through the online platform SSP. In 2015 the participants represented 7 different countries on the Asian and African continent.

    This year in March the 2nd year of our Online Education Program started. After the exciting first year we wanted it to grow and give more people the chance to learn using modern technology. We sent the invitation out and within two weeks we received 60 applications. We have been overwhelmed by this high interest. The applicants underwent a very competitive selection process whereby at the end 30 participants were accepted.

    The initial idea of starting an Online Education Program in Sport for Social Impact was that we wanted to offer trainings to coaches that were not able to receive On-Field training with CAC; usually because the safety situation in their community would not allow us to run a program in that particular place. Therefore we are particularly delighted to have 6 participants on the program this year that have never received CAC On-Field training before. Some of the countries that are represented by these coaches are South Sudan, Armenia and India. Looking at all the participants we have coaches from 17 different countries located on 4 different continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. Please have a look at the map below to see that the OEP in its 2nd year has already become a global initiative. The markers represent the locations of all the participants in the 2nd year of CAC’s Online Education Program.

    Our vision for the future of the OEP reflects the idea of being able to run a complete On-Field program without being physically present. Let’s see if we can make that happen for 2017. For now we wish our current participants good luck and lots of fun for this year’s program. Let us grow the network of people who have skills to use Sport and Technology as a tool to impact their communities.

    OEP Map

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  • Education For A Changing World

    February 1st 2016. CAC SDL coach Rubén Alvarado writes from Monterrey about our work there with Street Soccer Mexico.

    “When I was a kid, all my problems would fade away when I touched the ball. It was like entering into a dream, I forgot about everything, all that existed was me, my friends and the ball…like living in a different reality”.

    “La pelota no se mancha” (The ball does not stain) said Diego Armando Maradona, after admitting he had made mistakes and “paid” for the consequences in his career as a footballer. He made it clear that, no matter what, the opportunity for human beings to find their wonder through the game, remained untouchable.

    I heard the words that start this blog 2 years ago, in my first encounter with the concept that would enhance the transformation in my perspective on Fútbol: Sport for Social Impact. I attended a CAC training as a participant and heard my good friend Joshua Alí (from Street Soccer México) say them in such a sincere way that, even tough he might not remember that moment, they’ve stayed with me until this day. The Ball has the capacity to enable the creation of new realities, just like it happened to Joshua during his childhood. I wanted to play that game as well.

    “Look Hooch, there you can see El Cerro de la Silla (The Saddle Mountain)” I told my friend and SDL Coach Turner Humphries, with that eagerness one feels when wanting to to share a treasure (the beauty of my motherland) on our first day of training when we walked outside the High Performance Center of Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, our home for the week. In the past two years we worked with Street Soccer México in México City, but for this year’s training they made a visionary partnership with the School of Social Work and Human Development of UANL (the largest University in Nuevo León). The two organizations aim to impact the life of hundreds of thousands of kids and youth in Nuevo León, México City and other states like Oaxaca and Chihuahua, through the professionalization of the work that teachers, sports coaches, social workers, leaders of civil society, etc. do towards transforming and healing their communities. Our participation in this project consisted in offering efficient and fun tools, practices and techniques on field that would complement the brilliant theoretical part that the University’s academic authorities provided for the participants. After completing the course, besides CAC’s certification, they would also receive the title of Entrenador Social (Social Coach) from SSM and UANL.

    During the training we worked with experienced participants in community sustainable transformation, including social workers, people from the state security department, sports for social impact coaches and social work and human development students. We dived into deep and rich moments of dialogue in which we reflected on how through every personal story (from the specific work everyone did in their communities) a larger, heavy on the back of the optimists and dreamers, social decomposition showed. The anger and sadness that people in Mexico feel about financial poverty, insecurity and violence equals their sense of incapacity to do something about what causes them. How do we, a group of people wanting to change that face of reality, deal with this scenario?

    Knowing what hurts does not help us identify and understand our problems and their roots, nor give us the capacity to solve them once we see and comprehend them. We agreed that sometimes we don’t know how to do it, and one of the best things that we can learn consists in knowing how to not know. When in uncertainty, what should one do? Not listening to the same voices that command reality as we live it today, we must come together, ask and explore, but mainly listen, listen to the Human Being before culture, tradition or duty, they said. CAC’s Education for a Changing World creates spaces where people acknowledge the unknowability of the future as something given, while at the same time develop perspectives, skills and behaviors that would enable them to create it. “The meaning of life is to make meaning of it”.

    Having come back to México helps me reconnect with the pain and the joy that the country, my country, experiences today. After a vibrant week with people that intend to become peace ambassadors in turbulent times, my feet feel ready to keep walking with them to create paths of manifest freedom in which The Ball doesn’t serve to step out of what impoverishes humanity, but simply, to celebrate the life our hearts whisper we can live.

    Punto y seguimos.

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  • Virtual Learning Community: Education for a Changing World

    January 19, 2016.  Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce a revolutionary idea in our sport for social impact partnerships; the creation of our Virtual Learning Community.  The Virtual Learning Community (VLC) will consist of mentorship to our partner organizations and coaches around the world through a series of monthly webinars.  These webinars will address key developmental issues to help the partner program design, develop and implement their sport for social impact initiatives and build sustainability.  VLC topics will include Child Protection, Female Rights’ and Policy implementation, Business and Strategic Consulting, and more and will commence next week.

    “The Virtual Learning Community is a bold step forward in our approach in providing year-round organizational development with our partner organizations, and will allow CAC to have a greater impact through sport globally.” – Brian Suskiewicz, Chief Executive Strategist

    The VLC allows Coaches Across Continents to continue our mentorship of partner communities in organizational development and sport for social impact education.  The VLC joins our existing initiatives such as our Online Education Program and Community Impact Coach Program as we continue to provide education for a changing world.  It will provide opportunities for unique partnership pathways as organizations utilize our various strategic resources, which will empower communities to question harmful traditional, religious, and cultural practices; responsibly choose their own futures; and create sustainable change.

    Since 2008 Coaches Across Continents has worked in 37 countries with 295 implementing community partner programs and 2,479 member partner programs. Overall, we have educated and certified 13,685 community coaches and directly impacted 1,157,548 young people.  In 2016, the Virtual Learning Community will allow us to better impact our partnerships, as well as expand to new areas and regions that are currently inaccessible in the present political climate.

    “We live in a time of extraordinary change — change that’s reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet and our place in the world. It’s change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families. It promises education for girls in the most remote villages, but also connects terrorists plotting an ocean away. It’s change that can broaden opportunity, or widen inequality. And whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate.” – Barack Obama, 2016 State of the Union Address

    For more information, please contact CAC at

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    Thanks to our partner training4changeS for this photo