• A Haven of Hope

    CAC India Team Leader Jamie and Community Impact Coach Benny have been working in rural communities near the city of Pune this week, with Maher – an NGO that provides shelter to underserved women, children and men across the Indian state of Maharashtra. 

    Maher means ‘Mothers Home’ in Marathi; a place of belonging, understanding and acceptance. For over 20 years, Maher has opened their doors and provided shelter for many of those in need – providing a place to sleep, eat and live while also sending them to school. Currently, they provide a place to call home for 960 children, 170 women and 60 older men. They heard about CAC through our Accredited partner Slum Soccer and wanted to learn about #PurposefulPlay and how it could benefit their children. To tie in with Maher’s core values of acceptance and education, we delivered a programme focused on UNSDGs: 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

    Our programme was split into two parts – in the mornings we would travel to one of Maher’s other homes in very rural areas, and deliver some fun #EducationOutsideTheClassroom sessions to children and women who had never experienced #PurposefulPlay before. These were introductory sessions that we had a lot of fun with – this new style of learning was greatly enjoyed and each time we left they would ask when they could play more games! At CAC, Sustainability is at the core of everything we do – so to ensure long term impact we always work with the teachers, coaches and in this case social workers to provide them the skills so that these kids can continue learning and having fun, even after we’ve left.

    This is where our evening sessions come into the picture, where we worked with around 30 social workers on topics that they felt were most relevant to them. Gender Equality (#UNSDG5) and Reduced Inequalities (#UNSDG10) came up often, so we played many games from our #ASKforChoice curriculum. These social workers had also discussed these topics with the children, but had never considered that using sport was possible and the best way to engage them in difficult conversations.

    It was a very successful programme with Maher, now enthused about #EducationOutsideTheClassroom and already inviting us back! My personal highlight is that we managed to involve some of the older orphaned children in the programme, one young man at the end said ‘everyone has always told me I can’t do stuff, but CAC told me I can and encouraged me’. Sustainability has many forms, and supporting someone to find some self-belief so that they can continue believing in their self, is sustainability that matters.

  • Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights in Tanzania

    In January 2019 CAC and Pathfinder International launched a partnership. The partnership aimed to deliver a pilot program in Tanzania to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights using CAC’s global expertise in play-based education and Pathfinder‘s global family planning expertise, as well as both organizations’ strong existing networks across the country. With Pathfinder support CAC designed curriculum around four locally-relevant modules: Knowledge of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Healthy Household Environment, Community Responsibility and Environmental Conservation.

    In June 2019 22 leaders from 10 communities across Tanzania learned CAC’s Purposeful Play Methodology and Curriculum to achieve key global and local impacts identified by CAC and Pathfinder. Representing 31 different schools, organizations, and local initiatives, these leaders impact upwards of 85,000 young people throughout Tanzania. After the training in Zanzibar there was an 82% increase in knowledge about sexual health topics such as sexually transmitted infections; a 1.68 average increase in confidence rating in using sport/play to advance women’s rights and gender equality; and a 1.32 average increase in confidence to facilitate dialogue around key sexual health issues.

    After 6 months of implementation CAC leaders and CAC/Pathfinder project staff, Nicholaus Achimpota and Fatma Said Ahmed, traveled across Tanzania during October and November, 2019 to visit, support and evaluate all active project leaders. They found that:

    • Across Tanzania this project is directly impacting more than 5,000 adolescent girls, more than 3,000 boys, and more than 1,500 adults. These 1,500 adults have a further impact of nearly 85,000 people.
    • After 6 months of implementation: 92% (compared to 27% at project start) of participating adolescents are confident that they could get their partner(s) to use contraceptives if they desired.
    • And 97% (compared to 17% at project start) of participating adolescents believe they can seek sexual and reproductive health information and services if they needed them.

    CAC has recruited an incredible team to return to Zanzibar in early December 2019 to record the impact of this project through the camera lens. As part of our film team we have professional women’s football players, key leaders from Pathfinder International, published authors, the founder of CAC and of course the amazing Tanzanian leaders using this curriculum every day in their communities.

  • From Jakarta TuBaba

    Over the next 3 weeks, the CAC team are working in collaboration with Uni Papua – an Indonesian partner for over 6 years. Last week we were in the community of TuBaBa, a short one hour flight from the metropolis of Jakarta, TuBaBa is a quiet and rural community on the island of Sumatra. During our five day Education Outside the Classroom program, we used #PurposefulPlay to engage with 80 children and 30 teachers, where we in particular focused on UNSDG #10 ‘Reduced Inequalities’. The Indonesian government also outlawed Child Marriage whilst we were there, making the legal age limit for marriage 19 – a fantastic step forward and one that has been long overdue.

    Our program in TuBaBa consisted of two parts – the first was working with the teachers, where we played games from our ASK for Choice curriculum to not only discuss how we could reduce inequalities as a whole but also to talk about gender discrimination. A highlight from one of the conversations was that some men in the group were saying women can’t/shouldn’t play football. One of the female participants said to the group that this was an ‘ancient and outdated’ idea and we need to move forward with the times. This was powerful as it must have taken great courage to stand up in front of people with differing opinions and share your own beliefs, which are not the current norm in her community.

    The second part of the program was with the 80 children and young people – this gave Community Impact Coaches, Chester (Phillipines) and Frans (Indonesia) an opportunity to lead and run their own program with the support of CAC staff members. The valuable experience they gained from this benefit them greatly over the next 3/4 weeks as we continue traveling and running Education Outside the Classroom programs across Indonesia. Reducing Inequalities also comes in many forms, and one form is the inability to access sport due to financial restrictions and costs. This was a free, high-quality and most importantly fun program for these children, many of whom come from disadvantaged and poor backgrounds.

    To round off our week we met with the leader of the Department of Education, Budiman Jaya, who was very impressed with CAC and will now look to continue to support and roll out these types of programs across the Sumatran Island.

  • Girls and Women Empowerment At Reclaim Childhood

    September 17, 2019.  CAC Community Impact Coach Marion Dubois from one of our European partners, Fútbol Más France writes about her experience in Jordan.

    Last week, we were in Amman and we worked with the 10 coaches of Reclaim Childhood who lead after school sport programs and summer camp with girls (most of them refugees) in underserved communities in Amman and Zarqa, Jordan. All of them are women who come from the communities they work with.

    During these 4 days of on-field training, the coaches put into practice the learning acquired during all their experience and this third-year CAC program. We played some new games and it was also an opportunity for them to improve their coaching and creation of games. They coached the last two days of the training to external social organization (Right to Play and Collateral Repair Project staff) who were invited for that occasion.

    We also had off-field discussions where topics such as teamwork, self-confidence and also gender equity and the welcoming and integration of refugees were discussed. Some of the games played by the coaches were adapted from their personal experiences, as most of them are also refugees (from Palestine, Iraq, Syria). We had a very relevant conversation about our role as coaches to generate through #PurposefulPlay certain discussions which can provide tools for the girls to overcome trauma and improve their well-being, and how sport for social impact can help to reach the UNSDG 3 “Good health and well-being” and UNSDG 4 “Quality Education”.

    Right after our visit, regular RC programs were going to start again and the coaches showed us, with the on-field practices and off-field discussions, that they will continue their amazing #EducationOutsidetheClassroom work for the empowerment of girls from the most vulnerable communities in Zarqa and Amman. Their work will continue to focus on UNSDG 5 “Gender Equality” and UNSDG 10 “Reduced Inequalities” among the most advantaged and the most vulnerable people, between the refugees and the host community in Jordan.

  • Some Much Needed ‘Girl Determined’ Time

    February 11th, 2019. CAC Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur of YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab, India joined CAC ASK for Choice Strategist Nora Dooley in Myanmar last December to work with CAC’s ASK for Choice Partner, Girl Determined. Nora and Jaspreet both share more about their experiences here.
    I have been working with CAC for over 5 years. For the majority of that time my focus has been on our ASK – Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge – for Choice program for women’s rights and gender equality. At the end of 2018 I spent an intense month traveling through Asia working with different partners. For 2 weeks I was the only woman present at some of our trainings – for reasons we know very well, and work every day to change. After these 2 weeks I have never been more aware of my identity as a Woman. I then spent one week with Girl Determined and – to put it simply – felt a welcome sense of ‘home’ in a place I had never been before.
    The Girl Determined team of incredible women from all over Myanmar came together for an intense week of training in the northern Kachin State. We integrated CAC on-field activities with Girl Determined strategies for designing new games, developing volleyball skills and learning more about leadership. This was our first year partnering with Girl Determined and we are excited to have them as part of the CAC network. We know from experience in similar contexts how difficult it can be to create spaces for women and girls to safely and confidently play and express themselves. From what I can see, Girl Determined not only achieves this each day but also have grown over the years to engage more girls and women from diverse backgrounds as leaders. It was also – personally and professionally – an immense privilege to experience and support my co-facilitator, Jaspreet, as she shared her knowledge, skills and Punjabi culture with the participants and staff. I’ll let her say more!
    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have been working with YFC as a Senior Training and Monitoring officer and Manager of Sports for Development Field since September 2013. I have attended 4 trainings of CAC on different domains and now I am working with CAC as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) from 2017.

    I would like to express my gratitude to Coaches Across Continents organization who gave me an amazing chance to attend the training program in Myanmar. This is the first International exposure for me as a CIC. This journey was one I will always remember. I got the chance to work with expert facilitator Nora Dooley. Everything was new for me, the language was totally different and the participants enjoyed the activities. I enjoyed the training field because the training area is situated between the hills.
    In this training me and Nora delivered the activities. Through this training I feel more confident than before. I have learned many coaching tips from this training such as how we can manage a large group of participants and different ways to use your voice as a coach. With Girl Determined we focused on topics such as Leadership, communication, healthy choices, women’s rights and adaptation of activities.
    This was the first time I visited Myanmar country. I got a chance to learn about Myanmar’s culture, food, clothing and things which are famous of the Kachin state. This was great exposure for me for new learning experiences, most beneficial for my coaching field. This trip will be unforgettable for me. I would like the express thank you of Aleta, Brooke and other staff from Girl Determined organization who gave us amazing gift from Kachin.
  • 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