• CAC’s International Women’s Day Resource Now Available!

    February 26th 2016. Coaches Across Continents has developed a packet of sport for social impact games for International Women’s Day on 8th March.  The games focus on gender equity, female empowerment and women’s and girls’ rights.

    This unique set of games complements ‘ASK for Choice’, CAC’s Clinton Global Initiative commitment to bring gender policies to life and increase women’s and girls’ participation, leadership and rights in and through sport.

    Pleased find this resource below. It is provided free of charge and is available to any individual, organization or community that intends to run events on or around International Women’s Day (IWD).

    CAC would love you to join us in making this the most successful International Women’s Day yet.  We’re really interested in seeing how you choose to mark this celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women so share any quotes, photos and videos over social media.  For any IWD related activities, please remember to tag Coaches Across Continents and International Women’s Day so we can share the incredible impact you’re having in your communities.

    If you would like the IWD resource packet or have any questions please contact Nora Dooley at .

    Watch our ASK for Choice film below.

  • Being An Ally

    February 5th 2016. Long-term volunteer, CJ Fritz, writes on his experience in Léogâne with four-year partner GOALS Haiti. 

    Last week in Leogane, Haiti, I helped run an ASK For Choice program for the first time. ASK For Choice is a CAC program dedicated to gender equity, and involves discussing the problem of gender inequity with groups of only women as well as mixed groups.

    Heading to our Monday morning session with only the female participants I was nervous. When we got to the field I was pacing back and forth, trying to figure out how to go about coaching in this completely new scenario. As a male coach, how do I speak with a group of female coaches about gender equity? How can I pretend to understand the position that they are coming from? Would it be better if Nora and Emily just ran this session, and I sat out?

    As I busied myself fretting about how to handle the situation I realized something; this isn’t about trying to be on the same team, it’s about trying to be an ally. We don’t need to share the same starting point if we are both aiming for the same finishing point.

    As the week progressed I began to think more and more about why I want to be an ally.

    I have a younger sister who entered high school back in September. She is intelligent, active, is incredibly funny and excels especially in keeping her older brothers’ egos in check.

    I choose to be an ally because of her. It scares me to think that she might be told not to play the sport that she loves because sports are for boys. It scares me that she could make only 70 cents to every dollar that a man with the same job makes. And it scares me that she could be pressured into not doing the things that she loves to do because they aren’t “things that women should do.”

    But what scares me more than anything is that there are millions of girls and women living in countries with far more inequity who deserve the same chance to achieve that which the boys and men around them are afforded.

    As the week progressed, we heard some fantastic and inspiring things from the women with whom we were working. They were motivated and prepared to fight incredibly hard for their rights.

    The women in the group gave me hope for change in Leogane, but we didn’t get the same fierce support of equity from the men in the group. It is a great start to have such a motivated group of women who are ready for change, but they can’t go it alone.

    In congress, bills don’t become laws without people willing to work across party lines. Two improvising actors have to work together to make a scene flow. Men and women have to work together to bring us closer to gender equity.

    By the end of the week, we began seeing some signs of progress. The men in the group seemed less defensive than they had at first, and the group began to come up with some ways they can start making change in the present.

    If there is a rock you want moved and two people tie ropes around it and pull in opposite directions, no matter how hard either person pulls, or how badly they want the rock to move, it will not budge. It’s up to us to decide; are we going to pull in the same direction, or do we want to play tug-of-war forever?

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  • Sweaty and Satisfied

    CAC volunteer CJ Fritz blogs from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and our work with the Municipal Council.

    December 3rd 2015. A hectic national exam schedule for students across Tanzania saw our training start on Tuesday and run until Friday in order for local teachers attending our program to prepare their students for the exams that loomed.

    Although we only had four days with our group, all forty participants – made up primarily of schoolteachers with a few coaches mixed in – made the program supremely enjoyable. Every morning began with big smiles and warm welcomes, making us feel less like wazungu (the Tanzanian term for foreigners) and more like close friends of the participants.

    We had the unique opportunity to conduct our sessions in a newly opened sports complex complete with turf, futsal and basketball courts as well as sand pits for volleyball. The complex, sponsored by Sunderland Football Club in England, hosts many programs and provides activities for homeless and disadvantaged children in the area. It was fantastic to see such a great safe space that sustains so many helpful activities for children who need them.

    During the week we focused mainly on financial literacy, HIV/AIDS prevention and gender equity, all of which were objectives set by the participants for the week. We also detailed some ways that the participants could effectively teach or coach large groups of children – because many of them work in overcrowded schools – and how to coach when they don’t have materials, which are sorely lacking for physical education programs at schools in the area.

    The participants enthusiastically jumped into new games that addressed the problems that they were most passionate about, and many of them asked every day about when we would send them instructions on how to set up the games. They were very eager to study and implement the games they were learning. It was a very encouraging sign for sustainability during the year to come.

    We spent four hours every morning with the participants in the sweltering heat and humidity, but they were so excited about the games that we had to insist on a water break.

    By the time Friday rolled around many people asked if CAC could come back for a longer stay next year. Their eagerness to learn was unstoppable, their dedication to change undeniable and their focus on the issues at hand unwavering. I am confident that they will put to use what they learned this past week. I believe that the schools in which they teach and the teams over which they oversee are in the capable hands of teachers dedicated to change who will not settle for anything less.

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  • CAC Announces its Commitment to Bring Gender Policies to Life Through Sport

    October 8th 2015. Coaches Across Continents (CAC) announced its Commitment to Action at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting held in New York, 26th-29th September. In partnership with Hogan Lovells, CAC will expand its recently piloted female empowerment curriculum into a new community intervention, ‘ASK for Choice’, which will use sport for social impact to bring gender policies to life.

    ‘ASK for Choice’ will enhance personal and community responsibility and produce locally owned and relevant gender equity initiatives. CAC’s strategic year-round mentorship on curriculum and policy development will bring gender policies to life throughout communities by generating pathways to advance women’s and girls’ participation, leadership and rights in and through sport.

    “While there are many policies and campaigns regarding women in sport, Coaches Across Continents has identified that these policies are not effective and have little impact at the community level,” says CAC’s founder, Nick Gates. “This is the optimal time to launch ASK for Choice because the FIFA Women’s World Cup captured the world’s attention and we can harness this global visibility to activate the voices of and increase the opportunities for women and girls.”

    Women’s and girls’ rights are violated daily. Cultural norms and traditional stereotypes restrict their choices. Violence and harmful practices against them continue despite international treaties and protective legal documents. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has not yet been ratified by every country or globally implemented. Where laws exist, they are frequently not enforced or brought to life. Global conflict is exacerbating the situation as refugee women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence, exploitation and denial of their human rights.

    Gender inequity in sport mirrors societal discrimination. Women and girls face multiple social and cultural barriers in sport, including gender stereotypes, restrictions on clothing and lack of safe spaces. In many communities, sports activities for girls are considered immoral or shameful and they risk violence for simply taking part. This creates huge obstacles to equal participation.

    ‘ASK for Choice’ will be implemented in 30 countries spanning five continents. 9,000 local leaders will be educated and certified and 1,000,000 children, including at least 250,000 girls, will play games from the ‘ASK for Choice’ curriculum. Through ‘ASK for Choice’, Coaches Across Continents will create an environment for the progression of Attitudes towards optimism and gender equity; the development of Skills for female leadership and participation; and the increase in Knowledge of rights and resources. This will lead to girls’ and women’s rights, educational, employment, entrepreneurial, financial, and health choices.

    For additional information please contact: .

    About Coaches Across Continents

    Coaches Across Continents is a global leader in the sport for social impact movement. Our award-winning corporate partnerships and ‘Hat-Trick Initiative’ consist of comprehensive, year-round organizational development and sport for social impact education that focuses on local issues such as: female empowerment, including gender equity; conflict resolution, including social inclusion; health and wellness, including HIV/AIDS behavior change; child rights; vital life skills; and fun.

    Our key to success is a unique Self-Directed Learning model that educates people to identify, address, and solve problems specific to their communities. We mentor organizations and empower communities to question harmful traditional, cultural, and religious practices; responsibly choose their own futures; and create sustainable change.

    https://coachesacrosscontinents.org

    http://facebook.com/coachesacrosscontinents

    About the Clinton Global Initiative

    Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEO’s, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.

    In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.

    For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

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  • Hot, Humid and Happy

    September 10th 2015. CAC’s newest volunteer CJ Fritz writes about his first week in Indonesia with Uni Papua.

    Landak, West Kalimantan was the setting of our first week of coaching in Indonesia. A two-hour flight and four-hour drive saw us arrive in Landak on Sunday evening ready and raring to go. That night, I was introduced to the idea of a bucket shower. On only my second night abroad, this foreign concept was quite a shock to my system. But, we played the cards we were dealt.

    Every morning during the week we spent two hours with energy-filled primary school students who were convinced that we were famous. The David Beckham Effect from the children continued throughout the week among kids, coaches and practically everyone else who came across us. I signed I-don’t-know-how-many notebooks, t-shirts, and took so many photos with strangers that for a moment I thought I really was David Beckham.

    I was very impressed with the level of excitement among the 60-some coaches with whom we worked. The children had equal – if not greater – zeal, but that is to be expected from children. The coaches started every session in high spirits and rarely experienced a dip in energy.

    Both the children and coaches were quick to learn the games; Mingle Mingle – a dancing game that requires participants to create groups of varying sizes on-command – was a universal favorite. The coaches particularly enjoyed Adebayor Hands Against HIV, which involves participants in a small circle around one person.  The ball represents HIV, and the person in the middle tries to avoid being “infected” with HIV as those on the outside try to hit them below the knee with the ball. Then, once they grasp how easily they can be “infected,” means of protection are introduced in the form of other participants entering the circle to try to block the ball. These forms of protection represented things like condoms or a one faithful partner.

    The coaches were all very respectful, positive and willing to work. By the end of the week we had created a bond with the coaches who seemed appreciative and content with the week’s work. I was asked by multiple coaches for my contact information in order to keep in touch and to communicate about more games that they can teach their players. These exchanges left me with an accomplished feeling about the work we did in Landak and the memories we created with the coaches.

    It was difficult to form a connection with any of the children since we had a different group of kids every morning, with each group consisting of 60 to 90 young players. Although we couldn’t connect with them easily, it was probably for the best, as we got to coach more than 400 players over the course of the week.

    I was disappointed with how few female coaches there were – only two of 60 – but not surprised based on what we saw during the morning sessions. Teachers would bring groups of boys and girls to the field and wanted to have the girls sit out and watch the boys have all the fun, but with a little bit of persuasion soon the students were all happily involved. Seeing the girls laughing, smiling and enjoying the session gave me hope that Landak can create a community that supports women on and off the pitch.

    There was a particularly special moment during the afternoon session on Tuesday while we were covering gender equity and female empowerment with the coaches. One of the two female coaches who was in attendance spoke up about how adults discourage girls from playing football and sports in general, and that we as coaches and members of the community need to work to change that trend. Her comment got a hugely positive reaction from the rest of the coaches and made me believe that we witnessed a bit of change that day.

    The intense humidity was not enough to dampen the collective spirit of the participants, and by Friday night, a bucket shower was a gift that I gratefully accepted.

    We left Landak somewhat sweaty, slightly stinky and supremely satisfied.

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  • Changing Culture in Kolkata

    May 15, 2015.  Chief Exec Brian tells of the dramatic transformation occurring in Kolkata, India.

    They want to play. That much is clear. There were 49 different women who came out to our trainings this past week and all wanted to play. Even the 22 of whom had never kicked a football until this week. The culture and traditions of this community did not make it easy for girls and women to play football. It just wasn’t something that they historically participated in – and change is not easy. Threats and acts of physical violence on women for playing sport are extremely rare, but still occur from time to time as we heard second-hand accounts during our time here.

    But the culture is changing and the overwhelming majority of this community has chosen to support this change, with the assistance of the partnership between Chevrolet FC, the Belalious School, Slum Soccer, and Coaches Across Continents. A new field-turf facility was built on the grounds of the Belalious School in an impoverished area of Kolkata called Tikiapara. The girls (and boys) now have a safe space, both physically and emotionally to participate in sport. And more importantly the community has embraced this facility as their own.

    Each afternoon two hours has been designated exclusively for the girls and women of this community to come and play and learn. They slip off their shoes and headscarves and join in the CAC training to learn from the game of football. Only a few are comfortable donning soccer jerseys or shorts, and the rest play in their colorful saris. A handful are already coaches, while others are hoping to become community leaders who can begin using the field as a place to teach young girls social messages through soccer, an opportunity many of them were never afforded.

    What does it mean to change cultures and traditions, and why is this important? Despite the lip service globally to equal human rights, many girls and women are not permitted to play sports. Here in India, less than 2% of soccer players are female, and that number may be generous. But beliefs can change and should change if we truly want to embrace equal rights. Sport, especially sport for social impact, is something that promotes healthy lifestyles for women, decreases infant mortality, fosters female empowerment and gender equity, and encourages further education which in turn increases average annual income. And most importantly, sport is fun. And the women want to play. That much is clear.

    The most satisfying aspect of this week, as a western man who is coming to this community as an outsider with my own ingrained beliefs, was watching a group of older men observe training each day. They sat peacefully and supportively guarded the entryway, shooing away small boys or leering adolescents so that the women could train in peace. They were the guardians of this new safe space. In their own gruff way, these men are ensuring that it is ok for cultures to change and to allow their daughters, sisters, and wives to enjoy the freedom of sport and the power of social education through football.  And the girls and women want to play. That much is clear.

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    One thing is clear:

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    They want to play.

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    CAC, Chevrolet FC, and Slum Soccer have helped make it happen.