Rohingya: From Genocide Victims to Safeguarding Children
October 26, 2019. The Asian Football Confederation and CAC initiative to benefit Rohingya refugees located in the Kutapalong refugee camp is nearly one year old. Supported greatly by the English FA, the BFF, and the UNHCR, we have conducted three separate trainings to Rohingya refugees from 25 different areas of the camp to empower them to become football coaches who will look after the nearly 10,000 children that are directly in their care. It’s a concept called Community-Based Protection, the idea that community members are best able to look after one another.
“As a victim of genocide, we the Rohingya want to improve our nation through football. This program helps us to ensure the protection of children. ” – Mohammed Amin
This latest training, conducted by CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz, FA Coach Taff Rahman, and West Ham United Academy coach Liton Zaman reached a key new milestone. Because of the consistent work with the same group of Rohingya coaches and their willingness to embrace our coaching methodology, the coaches are now more freely opening up regarding their experiences and their future goals. We were able to conduct a full day of Child Safeguarding education, using CAC curriculum games to illustrate children’s rights while they made key promises to protect the children in their care.
“We can show the whole world we are a civil nation and can educate and protect children with fun football.” – Mohammed Ismael
Please watch this world premier explaining our initiative and Community Based Protection.
Initiatives such as this one take a sustained effort over many months and years in order to create long-lasting impact. It is an honor to have a multi-stakeholder partnership with five organizations who are committed to creating this impact. We will continue to mentor these Rohingya refugees through 2020 through coaching education to create Community Based Protection as well as ongoing support through equipment donations
Mohammed Amin and Mohammed Ismael
Kicking Into Life
September 24, 2019. CAC staff member, Jamie Tomkinson, led our second year of Purposeful Play training with local partner, Palestine Sports for Life. He was also joined by Community Impact Coach, Marian Dubois, of the Fútbol Más site in Paris, France.
The CAC team have been in Palestine this last week – working in partnership with Palestine Sports for Life and Fútbol Más France, we delivered a world class programme for over 20 coaches, community leaders, government ministers and teachers from the United Nations. Taking into account the issues that affect the citizens of the West Bank, we decided to use our #PurposefulPlay curriculum to deliver a workshop that addressed UNSDG #3 ‘Health and Wellness’ and UNSDG #5 ‘Gender Equality’.
Specifically, we wanted to focus on Mental Health. Many residents of Palestine have difficulty with anxiety, conflict resolution and depression due to many factors. We played some games from our upcoming and new Mental Health Curriculum, where our discussions focused on 1) how our actions and words can affect those around us and 2) what we can do as friends, family and leaders to support not only children, but also other members of our community who are suffering in silence. The simple act of listening, for example, was mentioned many times and the importance of being approachable and simply being present, can make a massive difference.
A highlight for me was going to visit one of the participant’s local Kick-Boxing class for girls and young women. We were only supposed to be there for 45 minutes, but I found myself still there 2 and a half hours later laughing and learning – I got my own taste of #EducationOutsideTheClassroom, as these brilliant young women and girls taught me what life was like for them, how they’ve built up a commendable resilience, and with their Kick-Boxing skills, if they wanted to beat me up they’d have no problem!
CAC Accredits 2 More Organizations
September 10, 2019. Coaches Across Continents is proud to announce two more organizations who have been accredited in Purposeful Play. GOALS Haiti and Slum Soccer (India) have demonstrated organizational growth and capacity-building through partnership with CAC to create legacies of social change based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through Purposeful Play. They are being recognized as model organizations within CAC’s global partnership network; a network that covers 60 countries, impacting over 16 million children. They join ACER (Brasil), GOALS Armenia, and training4changeS (South Africa) as the only CAC Accredited organizations globally.
80% of CAC’s accredited organizations are shortlisted for the 2019 Beyond Sport Awards
In January, 2019 Coaches Across Continents launched the world’s first-ever Organizational Accreditation Program in Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom. For accreditation, these groups engaged with their CAC Process Consultants to develop their organizations through our 28 Strategic Resources that include: Creating a Theory of Change Model, Designing a Women’s Rights Policy, Monitoring & Evaluation Process Consultancy, Child and Community-Based Protection Training, and more. Becoming an accredited organization improves that organizations ability to create sustainable change based on the UNSDGs, find and secure funding and award opportunities, enhance brand reputation, and more. Accredited partners will receive additional support from Coaches Across Continents including substantial joint-funding opportunities, educational travel and leadership development, global recognition, and high-level networking.
Slum Soccer has been a CAC-partner since 2011 where they have grown from impacting 500 disadvantaged youth in Nagpur to directly impacting 90,000 youth nationwide. Some of their most recent initiatives involve leading the Education and Sport sector by designing curriculums and programs to teach children about various aspects of Menstrual Health, along with LGBTQI related topics supported by Streetfootballworld’s Common Goal initiative. Slum Soccer was named the first-ever FIFA For Diversity Award winner in 2016 and are shortlisted this year for a Beyond Sport award in UNSDG#3: Good Health and Well-Being for their Shakti Girls initiative.
GOALS Haiti advances youth leadership through soccer and education to create stronger, healthier communities in rural Haiti. They are shortlisted for this year’s Beyond Sport Awards UNSDG#3: Good Health and Well-Being for their Aktive Jèn Yo program that utilizes soccer in Haiti to engage youth and their families in programs that emphasize education, health and the environment to improve their quality of life on a daily basis, and are a prior winner at Beyond Sport (2016).
To learn more about Coaches Across Continents Accreditation Program: Click Here
To partner with Coaches Across Continents or support an organizations’ accreditation,
Empowering Child Rights in Nairobi
July 17, 2019. CAC’s Jamie Tomkinson (and Michael Johnson Young Leader) is leading programs this month in East Africa. Follow along as he implements Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom in Uganda and Kenya.
Fun fact #1: Beyond Hoops are a Sport for Development organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya, however they started out in Vancouver, Canada!
This was a great first year programme with there being many highlights – from the crazy dances we learned together to the thought-provoking conversations. We emphasised a focus on Child’s Rights and building self-esteem and confidence in children, particularly young women and girls. The group learned how to use Purposeful Play to discuss these topics and were very appreciative even after the first day. A real highlight for us was just how engaged and involved the participants wanted to be – they were open and honest that they were sceptical at first about how we could use play and physical activities, to address such important issues – but they kept an open mind and left upskilled and with a new sense of enthusiasm, proclaiming that they couldn’t wait to play the games in their own communities.
We also delivered a very worthwhile session using the Coaches Across Continents ‘Child Protection Guidelines’. Half of the room were split on should corporal punishment be illegal or not in schools? We therefore facilitated a 50/50 debate on the matter. The coaches mentioned four types of Child abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal abuse. After a lengthy discussion, some of the coaches who thought corporal punishment was the right way to discipline a child agreed that there are other ways to communicate to children without using force or methods that may harm them physically and mentally.
Fun Fact #2: CAC is a global leader in Child Protection working with UNICEF as a pioneering member of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, and publishing last month the Community Empowerment to Ensure Human Rights Guiding Principles.
34 participants joined us throughout the week and will be using our curriculum to impact 1.3K children and young people in Nairobi. #WhatsYourLegacy?
X-cellent X-SUBA (Jinja, Uganda)
July 13, 2019. CAC’s Jamie Tomkinson (and Michael Johnson Young Leader) is leading programs this month in East Africa. Follow along as he implements Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom in Uganda and Kenya.
X-SUBA is in their first year of partnership with CAC, and as such our first visit has everyone full of enthusiasm. During the programme we adapted many traditional CAC games to use hands rather than feet, as most of the coaches were from a netball or basketball background. They were thankful for this and it has helped them see how they can use CAC curriculum more in their day to day sessions. From the start, we developed a coach personal development policy which brought up some really good discussions about self-reflection and improving our own practice. Throughout the week we focused on coaching guidelines, feedback during practice coaching sessions, and learning how to use CAC’s Workplace platform to continue developing throughout the year. We also had a great session on creating and adapting games and it’s fantastic to hear that X-SUBA will be delivering these in their own communities in the near future!
My personal highlight was during one of CAC’s environment games addressing UNSDG#13: Climate Action called “Pick up and Get Clean.” Once all the cones etc had been picked up, they then stated running around the field collecting actual trash from all over. While this was no doubt down to competitiveness, we used this demonstrate the impact this game can have and provide and enthusiasm to kids to ‘pick up and get clean’. Everyone was running around collecting trash, we then referenced this back to our own lives and how often do we daily walk past rubbish and not pick it up because it ‘isn’t our job’, when in fact, it’s everyone’s job. We then collected all the trash and put it in a nearby rubbish bin! #WhatsYourLegacy?
A total of 30 participants had their first experience of Purposeful Play and will now go onto to deliver Education Outside of the Classroom to 1.5k in the beautiful town of Jinja, Uganda.
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.