• The Importance of Social Inclusion – On-Field and Off-Field

    August 17th 2016. CAC Community Impact Coach (CIC) Evariste Habimana wrote about working in Rubavu, Rwanda with Football for Hope, Peace and Unity.

    Rubavu is the nursery for football in Rwanda. I enjoyed working with the coaches from this district. They are professional and are zealous about coaching.

    As I was working with them I learned many things about coaching styles. But most important to me was watching them enthusiastically learn the CAC games.  Before I joined CAC I thought coaching football was to create professional players.  But now I realize that coaching can be a lot more.

    All football teams around the world play games for technique, tactics, and endurance. With CAC we play these same games, but combine them with messages for social impact. These messages are about gender equity, female empowerment, conflict prevention, child rights, HIV prevention and more.

    My favorite game in Rubavu was “Child Rights: Social Inclusion”. Some groups of children are excluded, such as females, disabled, or for religious reasons. Our coaches will begin to change this. Here is how the game is played.

    It is like regular football, there are two teams. The only difference is that players have to stay in their own zone. The pitch is divided into three equal zones. The forwards must stay in the attacking zones, midfielders stay in the middle zone, and defenders stay in the back zone – in front of their goal.

    Not allowed to leave your zone is like being excluded. In football a defender often scores a goal. Midfielders are expected to score goals and defend their goal besides controlling the midfield. Forwards often have to help defend their goal too.

    Just to give coaches the feeling of being excluded compared to being free to play we make a change to the game. One team is allowed to move wherever they want and the other team is restricted to their zones. At the end, we ask, “How does that feel?” The team that was restricted was not very happy and complained that the game was not fair. We knew: they understood the message of the game.

    Just like footballers must be allowed to play the whole pitch, all who want to play football must be allowed to play. It does not matter if they are old or female or disabled. This applies to all activities, not just sports.

    I expect that our CAC trained coaches will use our curriculum in their regular program. And that it will make a positive social impact for their communities.

    Through my time as a CIC in Rubavu I got to meet new coaches and share with them my knowledge and experience. I feel encouraged by the CAC coaches to now even approach and educate coaches in my home community in Nyanza who never participated in CAC training nor use Sport for Social Impact. I now feel confident to create games myself and implement them at the school I teach.

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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

     

     

  • CAC Team Prepares for 2016

    January 13th, 2016.  Coaches Across Continents is a global office. With most of us typically in different time zones, our opportunities for in-person staff meetings are few and far between. Because of that, this past week’s second staff Zenith, affectionately dubbed Z-Dos, was an incredible opportunity to do some much needed bonding and bring everyone up to speed on how CAC is stepping into 2016.

    In 2015 we worked in 29 countries with 89 implementing partners. From these partnerships we educated and certified 3,842 community coaches, directly impacting 388,576 children in 29 countries around the world. Impact numbers are important but for new staff member Charlie Crawford the strongest impression of joining a worthwhile organization came from the hours spent discussing the model CAC use to promote Self-Directed Learners. The approach is philosophical. The practicality has been tested. After a year of being on the field, our 15 staff came together with what they had discovered and shared their successes and challenges.

    As we go forward, our partnerships with local programs bring year-round organizational development that help empower communities to question harmful traditional, cultural, and religious practices. Creating a safe space for these discussions is how we believe real change will come. As we write, CAC has a team in Haiti and 2 more heading to Mexico and Kenya. Looks like it’s back to the global office.

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  • How My Lonely Shadow Became My Little Limelight

    CAC Community Impact Coach Tejas, who runs Sparky Football, talks about his work with CAC and Magic Bus in Bengaluru, India.

    November 13th 2015. I was sobering up from my solo trip to the Himalayas with 3 footballs and 300+ chocolates for the mountain kids – a trip which redefined my spirituality and perspective on life. On my way back, the purpose of my trip became clear: “everything we can imagine already exists. What more is there to life than making each other happy? And happiness begins with being content with the life that we are given”.

    On November 2nd, I was part of Coaches Across Continents . I was part of something greater than myself. As I hopped on my bike with sheer excitement towards the training camp, I encountered a  10 year old kid who was late to his school and trying to hitchhike. I considered it as sign for me to understand my blessings and share my luxury by dropping him to his school which was somewhere in the woods. After dropping off the child, I thought about the conditions of India today, where there are several  problems but people are trying to develop different solutions for them. The school kid had one for his!

    At the Nirjhari camp, I was happy to see the participants from last year (during which I was one of them) but this year I was a coach. This amazing transition from being a participant to becoming a Community Impact Coach (CIC) drifted my thoughts back to the times where I faced rejection and discrimination for local football coaching jobs, because they all saw me as a college failure. Today this failure of mine is the fuel of my success! As I thanked my universe, I met Markus at the camp. He bailed me out of these intense thoughts and emotions of mine, by presenting me with a CAC t-shirt – an unforgettable moment where all my hard work paid off. All my lonely shadow became my little limelight.

    As the session started, Markus addressed the 34 Magic Bus participants with his sharp and amusing introduction. During the session, I had the privilege of translating his English into 3 of our local languages- Kannada, Tamil and Hindi. I was happy to pay tribute to my school education this way. At one point, he correlated “Football for Profession” with “Football for Life” which made me understand that life is not about surviving but life is about living. Next day, I chose this note as a theme for my presentation on a literature examination addressing my college mates, which fetched me an ‘A’ grade. I was pleased to revive Buddha’s wisdom, “A master should create a master” by sharing what Markus taught me earlier.

    Back at training, I watched and coached participants who were jumping, dancing and rolling on the floor with such sincere laughter while we all played Mingle Mingle, Circle of Friends with Boom-Shakalaka, Messi for Conflict Resolution, Hope Solo Skills for Life etc. It was inspiring for me to watch the participants, who were 2 times my age, give 100% to the game and create such enormous positivity in the environment, which celebrated all the goodness in the world. This sense of belonging validated my life – I was privileged to be a part of something amazing yet again.
    As Markus piloted this roller-coaster ride of fun, he played a new game called “Brazil for Attitudes”. While the game was played, I was baffled and sad, to watch the stereotype actions of participants, when he called out actions such as “Punch like a boy, punch like a girl; shout like a boy, shout like a girl!”.

    At the end of the game, I watched Markus handling this critical situation with such subtle brilliance, by analyzing and making participants recognize their notions on the differences between men and women. The group split for a water break after this. Although the discussion reflected a positive attitude towards both men and women, I thought to myself, that the world would have been a better place if these stereotypes, our ‘pigeonholes’, were created just for pigeons rather than for judgmental notions.

    As Andy quotes in the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ – “Hope is a good thing and no good thing ever dies”. With this I understand and believe that in spite of all the good and bad in the world, there is always hope for good things to happen.

    And, I hope that in all the pigeonholes we create from now on, the pigeons are going to be safe and happy, leaving our minds free for positivity.

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  • Adrienne and Jocelyn ASK for Choice

    Coaches Across Continents’ big announcement is very close! 
     
    You can read more stories from Malaika in the DRC and Kalebuka Football for Hope Center here.
     
    My name is MULONGO JOYCELYN and I ASK FOR CHOICE.

    I was born on the 17th of January 1999 in a family of 7 children of which I am the third. My parents are both alive but my father abandoned us in 2009. Because of the separation I couldn’t continue with my studies and had to stop in fifth year primary school. My mother remarried but that did not change our situation. We are still poor and my step father has to work very hard to find enough money to feed us. I love the center as I feel more free and loved here. I love playing football and I spend all my days here, I learnt how to read and write French, mathematics and other courses at the center as well as football. I play in the local team here and I am determined to become an international football player. I want to grow up and be able to take care of my family.

    My name is ADRIENNE KIKUNGURU LEYA and I ASK FOR CHOICE

    I was born in Kolwezi a town that is 7 and half hours from Lubumbashi on the 4th of November 1993. I love everything that has to do with sport, the difficulties that I face in my work with the community is being younger than all the teachers at the school. I am often confronted with youth that are older than me, so they don’t always do what I tell them which is hard sometimes as you can see the potential that they have to do great things but the age barrier is not always easy to overcome and you have to be strong in order for them to take you seriously. With time I was able to show them what I am capable of which is a great success for me. I want to be a role model for all the girls at the community center and the Coaches Across Continents training has taught me to go beyond my limitations to achieve my goals and self esteem and confidence in what I do. Having learned all of that I can understand the difficulties that other girls face while not being able to play sport.

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  • Perspective in Kinshasa

    CAC board member and volunteer Jamie Reilly blogs about his last of 7 weeks On-Field with Menelik in Kinshasa, DRC.

    August 26th 2015. Lawyers and soldiers. Men and women. 4 year olds and 50 year olds. The diversity of the program participants during our week in Kinshasa was unlike any other during my 7 weeks on-field with Coaches Across Continents. Given the scale and scope of challenges facing the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, it makes sense that such a broad cross section of people would come together to find new ways to bring positive change to their communities.

    DRC has been the host of one of the longest and bloodiest wars since World War II, claiming over 5 million lives between 1998 and 2003. While the loss of life is tragic, the lingering trauma of the civil war continues to destabilize the lives of tens of millions more throughout the country as it struggles to move forward.

    Our partner, The Menelik Partnership for Education, was created to help bring resources and support to the most vulnerable populations in DRC.  They support schools, run orphanages, provide access to legal representation, IT training, language lessons – the list goes on – in communities throughout the DRC. Sports, and football in particular, are a key part of their efforts to change mindsets and help stop violence and discrimination against women, children and especially young girls.  

    Throughout the week we gathered in the schoolyard of the Ecole St. Georges where Menelik has it’s Kinshasa office and introduced this varied group of about 50 participants to using Sport for Social Impact. The CAC curriculum challenged the group to work together in new ways. There was no lack of enthusiasm for any of the games and activities, but at times this enthusiasm prevented participants from taking time to really understand the full scope of the activity or task. In classroom discussions, participants noted how the CAC activities – especially those focused on problem solving and conflict resolution – will help them develop better listening skills and to fully think through challenges to create the kind of future they want for DRC.

    Of equal impact were the games and discussions focused on gender equity. For many, it was their first opportunity to voice their opinion, hear a different perspective and to actually engage in a discussion about the issue.  With so many different backgrounds, there was a wide range of opinions, but as a result of the discussion, both the men and the women left with a new sense of what might be possible for girls and women in DRC.

    As Theodore Menelik drove me through the congestion of Kinshasa to catch my flight back to the US, we made a quick stop at an orphanage they run in Kinshasa. This was my second visit with these wonderful kids; we made a visit earlier in the week to play some games one afternoon.

    As the kids greeted me again with their laughter and grins, it put the past week, and my past seven weeks with CAC in perspective. Despite facing such unimaginable challenges as they start their lives, these children have so much joy, intelligence and potential. Fortunately, there are groups like the Menelik Partnership for Education that step in to give these kids a better chance at meeting those challenges. The training and support CAC provides helps create new ways of thinking, new skills and habits and new approaches for Menelik and the children they serve to solve the problems in their community. I have been privileged to join in these efforts.

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