CAC Delivers Purposeful Play in Paris Refugee Centers during the Women’s World Cup
July 11, 2019. CAC’s Nora Dooley writes from Lyon, France where she watched USA vs. England in the World Cup semifinals after finishing On-Field trainings for CAC partners in Paris.
Six years of working with Coaches Across Continents and our incredible partners have given me the most unimaginable (at least to my adolescent brain!) education in empathy. From mid-May to mid-June I traveled from Brazil to México to Colombia to the USA to Tanzania and landed in France just in time for the most important football event in the world.
I list these travels not to boast my privilege nor shame my environmental footprint, but rather to share facts about the access that I have to the world because of the circumstances of my birth. Access granted to some people, denied to more people, and likely never even to be pursued by most people.
Then I think about the humans I shared space with in Paris for 8 days of Purposeful Play trainings with CAC partners who serve refugee and displaced communities across the city. Long-time partner, Fútbol Más France, and new partner, Kabubu, run different types of programs for refugees and migrants from dozens of countries including Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Congo, Romania, Angola, Eritrea, Senegal, Mali, Sudan, Tibet, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and others who are living in mostly short-term refugee centers in the south of the city. Fútbol Más runs weekly sports sessions for girls and boys of all ages as well as separate sessions for adult women and men. Their unique challenges include communication across language barriers, gender inequalities arriving from different cultures, and building an adaptable set of activities that can be used in different contexts and especially as participants come and go from the short-term establishments. CAC supports Fútbol Más and now Kabubu to integrate Purposeful Play methodology into their sessions to address these challenges and more intentionally educate and empower using play-based activities.
Through this work in Paris – and generally with CAC – I have shared and played with humans with stories I will never be able to fully understand, histories that bounced them across borders and oceans in search of safe, welcoming homes. I think about them as I bounce around this world searching for something else, while finding a humbling fulfillment in knowing that people from perhaps the most challenging, conflict-ridden circumstances find joy, safety and identity through CAC games.
Empowering Leaders Globally
March 22, 2019. CAC has helped to develop and empower 22,000+ community leaders over the past decade. Our investment in creating leaders goes far beyond our On-Field Purposeful Play: Creating Education Outside the Classroom trainings. Professional Development is a key component of our strategy, which is best highlighted through three of our year-round strategic resources: Global Networking, Community Impact Coach Initiative, and Global Leadership Courses. Engaging in our year-round strategic resources is necessary for to be accredited by CAC in Purposeful Play.
Global Networking: Recently we invited five local leaders from CAC’s network from Jordan, Lebanon, and India to join Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz at the EMPOWER Conference in Doha, Qatar. They assisted in delivering two workshops and one On-Field coaching education in Purposeful Play to some of the 650 participants attending the conference from 50 countries. The focus of the conference was the role of youth as agents and catalysts for peace and dialogue for sustainable development. The full CAC team was Chief Exec Brian and SDL Educator Jamie Tomkinson, along with Benny Marcus (Parikrma Foundation, India), Tejas Ramakrishna (Sparky Football, India), Jaspreet Kaur (YFC Rurka Kalan, India), Rose Abou Elias (Arcenciel, Lebanon), and Wala’a Abu Shihab (Reclaim Childhood, Jordan). The team was recognized for their efforts on stage by the EMPOWER Conference at the conclusion of the event. CAC continues to look for professional development opportunities, like this conference, to benefit the most promising leaders in our network.
Global Leadership Courses: CAC currently is an implementing partner with the MJYL Program that just accepted it’s fourth class of leaders. CAC is instrumental in assisting Michael Johnson in selecting promising young leaders from around the world and developing them over the course of the year both at Michael’s high performance training center in Dallas as well as throughout the year through CAC’s 28 year-round strategic resources as they implement their own legacy projects to impact their communities. In fact, one former MJYL, Jamie Tomkinson, recently joined the CAC senior staff full-time based on his growth and development over the past several years. CAC is exploring being able to provide other similar initiatives to give even more opportunities like this one to promising leaders on a continental and global scale.
Community Impact Coach Initiative: Our CIC Initiative is the most widely known strategic resource that CAC offers to promising leaders each year. We provide opportunities for coaches in 25+ countries to join and travel with the CAC staff each year as we deliver Purposeful Play On-Field Education in other communities. This provides for intense professional development and learning, cultural exchange between individuals and communities, and giving our host communities multiple voices and perspectives to implementing Purposeful Play. For many CICs, this is the first time they have flown on an airplane, traveled internationally, or even seen parts of their own countries.
Investment: CAC already invests a great deal in leaders to implement Purposeful Play and impact communities and countries around the world. With a strong corporate or foundation partner – our efforts could be magnified immensely. And for just a small individual donation, you can empower a young leader globally which will benefit the hundreds and thousands of children they work with directly and through their community organization. #WhatsYourLegacy?
Beginning in Bangladesh
December 10, 2018. Dhaka, Bangladesh. This past week we implemented programming through our partnership with the Asian Football Confederation. We are in Dhaka, the capital of the 8thmost populous country in the world. In addition to the AFC, we are also working with the Bangladesh Football Federation and the Jaago Foundation (UNSDG17: Partnerships for the Goals). Our work will benefit thousands of underprivileged children throughout Bangladesh by empowering Jaago volunteers to use CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom methodology and curriculum.
We believe, football (sports) is the one of the most powerful tools to bring a positive impact for any nation. This is something, which represents youth, energy & friendship all together. – Jaago Foundation
With a strong background in classroom education and extracurricular activities for disadvantaged children, the Jaago Foundation is a natural partner. 42 volunteers came to Dhaka from across the country, and we implemented a curriculum that will address UNSDG #3: Good Health and Well-Being and UNSDG #4: Quality Education; while also implementing a strong program to address Safeguarding Children in Sport. This is especially relevant, especially after our global work last month for Universal Children’s Day.
“I am a passionate traveler, I often go to rural areas in Bangladesh to teach tribal children. They don’t speak Bengali but through football I connect. Now, I can teach them health and lifestyle through CAC games as football is a global language.” – Rafat (Kazi): Jaago, Dhaka.
Stay tuned next week as our AFC/BFF partnership will bring us into the world’s largest refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, home of over 900,000 refugees including half a million children under the age of 17.
#BeAChampionForChildren: Universal Children’s Day
We at Coaches Across Continents applaud all our partners who joined with us, and with UNICEF, to champion the rights of children on the recent Universal Children’s Day (November 20th).
Initially Coaches Across Continents invited partners to begin creating a Child Protection Policy unique to their community. Over 100 partner groups responded.
Together we raised global awareness of the need to safeguard children in 105+ countries on 6 continents.
Partners were asked to identify the form of child abuse they most wanted to change within their community. Physical, emotional, sexual and verbal abuse were identified and next steps considered.
Key issues emerged. These recognised that abuse is often a taken for granted cultural habit, as well as being an abuse of power. Respect for young people was thought to be crucial, while bullying should be avoided.
Partners who had created a Child Protection Policy asked CAC for curriculum games and online education. CAC distributed a curriculum packet of five games which addressed the four different forms of child abuse, as well as showing how to prevent child abuse in the future.
Stories flooded in showing the many CAC games that had been played around the world on Universal Children’s Day.
Additionally CAC invited partners to download and use UNICEF’s International Safeguards for Children in Sport, where CAC was a pioneering member.
Together we all lived up to the hashtag #BeAChampionForChildren, knowing that by protecting children we were advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
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
Global Impact of the Year Award Shortlist: Beyond Sport
July 24, 2018. Coaches Across Continents #WhatsYourLegacy? was officially shortlisted for the Global Impact of the Year Award by Beyond Sport. Selected from over 400 applications, from 100+ countries and covering 53 sports, the shortlist recognizes the standout work of organizations who are creating positive social impact in communities around the world through sport. On September 12, representatives of each of the organizations will attend the 10thannual Beyond Sport Global Awards ceremony at One World Observatory at One World Trade, where the winners of each category will be announced.
Coaches Across Continents is the Global Leader in Education Outside the Classroom. Additionally, we are the only global NGO providing year-round process consultancy resources to partners. By using our Self-Directed Learning methodology, CAC mentors organizations through our Hat-Trick Initiative to create legacies of positive social change based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Through our dedicated process consultancy, Coaches Across Continents has worked with Corporations, Governments, Foundations, and Community Based organizations in 56 countries to Design, Develop, and Implement Sustainable Legacies of positive change through Sport for Social Impact.
Our work and expertise has been recognized through 24 major global awards, invitations for countless international presentations and annual keynote speeches, published methodology, and CSR work in 23 countries for corporations and foundations.
Our work has impacts over 16 million children annually, and our Corporate Partnership Legacy Program influences 100,000,000+ consumers. In addition to our work with Corporations and Foundation, CAC is also the Official Social Responsibility Partner of the Asian Football Confederation.
2018 marks Coaches Across Continents’ 10-year anniversary, and this week CAC Founder Nick Gates is in Kigoma, Tanzania to celebrate.