One Jaspreet, One Journey
My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have done a post graduation course in my own language Punjabi from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India. In the last 4 years I have worked with Youth Football Club Rurka Kalan. My job is Training and Monitoring officer, this means I look after the Sports for Development sessions at twenty Government Primary schools near Rurka Kalan, sessions taught by our own Youth Mentors who I have helped train.
This past week was my first time visiting Bengaluru. I was very happy to have this opportunity and I want say thank you so much to CAC. YFC Rurka Kalan has been working with CAC for five years now and I have got a chance to participate as a CIC in this training with the Naz Foundation. I want to share my experience with you regarding five days training of CAC with The Naz Foundation which was held at Don Bosco Mission Skills Institute at Bengaluru.
The participants came from different cities such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Madurai and Bengaluru.
The five day workshop was based on Leadership, Menstruation, HIV, Conflict Prevention and Gender Equity.
In the first day some of girls and boys did not speak too much, but slowly slowly their voices got stronger during training. Some of them gave presentations and spoke in front of their other coaches for the first time which was so good to see.
Naz Foundation is built around coaching Netball which means I learned all new skills for this sport this week. We even made some netball skills called “Thilaga 1, 2, &3”. Because the coaches were so experienced, they ended up creating games regarding Menstruation because it is a serious issue that is often overlooked because of taboos. I look forward to going back home and conducting sessions using these games with girls and youth mentors who are working in schools.
The food of Bengaluru is good. Things I have tasted for the first time include edaly, vadda and Masala Dosa. I have also learned about new apps “Ola and Uber” which helped me get from Bengaluru Airport to Baanarghtta (Don Bosco).
It was a great experience for me to learn and share skills with junior coaches, senior coaches and project coordinators. Moreover, I have solved challenges regarding Monitoring evaluation with Charlie and am looking forward to returning to YFC with new skills!
CAC Win Global Health & Pharma Award
October 26th 2017. Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is delighted to announce that we have been awarded Best Sport & Social Impact Organization 2017 by Global Health and Pharma. GHP is a global information sharing platform & a multi-disciplinary members community. Established to enhance communication networks & collaboration across all themes and disciplines within 3 main categories; Human, Animal & Environmental Health.
CAC uses sport for social impact to address a wide range of social problems related to health and wellness including HIV behavior change, nutrition, drugs and alcohol abuse, and active living. Our flexible Education Outside the Classroom curriculum allows us to work with each partner and community and design a customized curriculum for them which addresses the specific problems they face.
We are delighted that our global commitment to addressing health problems has been recognized by GHP and thank them for this award! This is the 22nd award that Coaches Across Continents has won in 9 years!
Driving Social Impact Through Sport
September 20th 2017. CAC program participant and coach JohnPaul McTheophilus wrote about experiencing CAC for the first time in Bali, Indonesia with Uni Papua.
I had never heard of ‘Coaches Across Continents (CAC)’ until last week when my friend (Bationo) invited me to take part in a 5 day Coaching Clinic by CAC. So, I looked up on the internet and a quick glance at their website raised my curiosity.
As a football player I’ve had the opportunity to work with different coaches at training grounds and listen to all kinds of tactical instructions, and motivational speeches on the sidelines as well as in the dressing rooms. I’m always fascinated at how these coaches create their programs and plans that keep players physically and mentally fit to perform at the highest level. So, my view of football has always been on the professional level. I’ve never looked at football as an important tool to drive a social impact movement.
First, I was happy and motivated to work and learn from people who are genuinely happy in what they do and are committed to helping others especially young people. From Emily’s enthusiasm and excitement, and Tejas’ creativity, the atmosphere was positive and there was never a dull moment. I witnessed the essence of using football as a tool to develop coaches and kids to become critical thinkers.
Innovative ideas were shared through drills and games like:
– Circle of Friends
– Marta for Conflict Resolution
– Messi For Healthy and Awareness
– Gaza Support System
– Stamford Bridge Tag,
– Games For Children,
– Scary Soccer, etc
I was impressed at how each of these football drills and games presented us with several options to tackle social challenges like drugs, alcohol, smoking, sexual molestation or harassment, bullying etc. Information about health related problems like malnutrition and diseases (e.g HIV/AIDS) can be passed and made accessible to children and communities using sport. The games not only revealed social problems and their causes but they also proffered solutions as well as preventive measures.
At the end, It was the most rewarding experience I have ever had, and I realized that empowering people with knowledge and skills is the key to driving social impact, and we can comfortably inculcate this message through sports. I’m grateful to CAC, especially the coaches Emily Kruger and Tejas, for their positive energy, time and patience throughout the program. I’m very keen to use this experience as a guide to creating social impact anywhere I go.
Webale Nnyo, Kampala!
June 30th 2017. CAC Global Citizen Kimaya Cole blogged about our partnership with Watoto Wasoka in Kampala, Uganda.
Traveling away from the roosters and fresh fruit in Ndejje, we found our way in the roaring streets of Kampala. Very quickly we learned that once the thick, gray cloud moves overhead and drops a few raindrops, it’s time to run for cover to escape the heavy down pour that will soon be upon us. Fortunately, the storm only lasts about twenty minutes, and despite the newly formed mini mud rivers in the streets, the town resumes their hustle and bustle.
Our partnership with Watoto Wasoka would kick off the first year program in Kampala, Uganda and I was excited and ready to start coaching games on my own. But, I was not prepared for how much of an impact the participants would have on me. While hearing their answers and explanations to one another, I found myself being challenged as well. One woman in particular was very tiny, but her voice was powerful. She was not afraid to stand up for herself and the other few women there, reinforcing that women are just as strong and capable as men. Without even knowing it, she inspired me to have more confidence in my voice and abilities as a woman and encouraged me to take advantage of the opportunities I have as a global citizen to try and make a difference – whether that is in the world or just impacting one person in my community.
I had an amazing, unforgettable time in Uganda as a first time CAC global citizen. Since it was my first time traveling outside of the United States, and especially to a low income economy country, I had no idea what to expect, nothing to compare my experience to. And even after having time to digest my weeks in Uganda, I still cannot fully describe all of my emotions. Besides the periods of no running water and unreliable electricity in our hotel, most importantly, I will miss the people – how they are the real life “energizer bunnies,” never getting tired, always ready for the next task, how they fed me food until I couldn’t possibly take another bite and then proceeded to look at me as if I barely ate anything, and how they welcomed me into their home and country with open arms. I am leaving Uganda with opened eyes, a full stomach, and a happy heart. All I have left to say is: “Webale Nnyo” (Thank you very much)!
From Nshima and Dance Parties to Burning Trash and Bumpy Roads
June 26th 2017. Global Citizen Charlie Overton wrote about CAC’s partnership with Zanimuone Black Stars in Lusaka, Zambia.
From eating Nshima (pronounced shima) and having dance parties to burning landfills of trash and very bumpy roads, my time in Lusaka Zambia will be with me for a lifetime. It was life changing as well as memorable. Furthermore, it was humbling and gratifying. Living in Lusaka was unlike any experience I’ve had in my life up until now.
Ashlyn and I stayed with our organizer, Betty, her husband of five years, Felix, and eight children ranging from ages 1 to 18. Now, if you think that Betty had all these children herself in some kind of “octomom” fashion, as well as working as a secretary, taxi driver, and starting a not for profit organization, then you would be wrong. She does work as all those things, but not all the children are directly hers. Three of them are her own, and the others she has welcomed into her home and they come from all different paths. Chikondi, who is around thirteen, is from Betty’s sister who passed away. Miriam, whom I apologize I do not know her exact age, but I believe is around seven or eight, came from Betty’s brother. He kept dropping Miriam off with Betty and then at different times coming back to pick her up. Betty saw this as very disruptive to Miriam’s growth as she kept being pulled out of school, so eventually she said enough was enough and that Miriam was going to stay with her. Then there are Moses, who I believe is around nine or ten, Chard, who we called Chadrick, eighteen, and his sister Jessica, seventeen. They all came from the surrounding area. Moses from one of Betty’s friends who she saw was unable to feed him. Chadrick came to Betty looking for work and Jessica came a little later when Chadrick told Betty that their parents did not want Jessica to go to school anymore. They all work very hard cleaning and cooking around the house in exchange for money, accommodation, and education. The three that are Betty’s own are named Bright, one, and Felix Jr., four, they do not do much but waddle around and ask for the football. Betty’s oldest, Alisha, aged ten, loved Indian soap operas when she was not at school, I am sure working hard! This was the setting we lived in for one week, and it taught me a lot about the value of hard work and working for everything you have. That is what these kids are learning in Betty’s household, because as she said, “they need to work hard, because life won’t be easy,” that is a very valuable lesson. It is one I can remember my parents trying to get me to understand, but I was not very receptive to it. I suppose I had to travel to Zanimuone West in Lusaka, Zambia for it to really hit home.
As in any place there are always not as nice things that go along with the nice ones, and Lusaka was no different. These things included that near the field we did our training at there was a massive landfill that was constantly burning their trash in order to make room for the even more massive amounts of trash coming in. On one of the days the wind shifted and caused the smoke to come and hang right over our field, this caused breathing to be very difficult. Furthermore, Zanimuone West, the district of Lusaka we were staying in, was an up and coming area, therefore, the roads had not been paved so it was very rocky and bumpy and in many places. However, this also created some funny moments, such as pushing Betty’s car off of a huge bump that it got beached on. With the good and the bad, Lusaka proved to be extremely life changing, and I am very thankful to Betty and her family for housing us and feeding us. The experience will stay with me forever.
When a Participant Breaks his Gender Role in Front of the Whole Group
June 23rd 2017. What’s Not Said Founder Sarah Sedlack joined our recent program with Ndejje University in Ndejje, Uganda to deliver additional sessions to some of the group.
Neck deep in a class discussion around male victims of rape and a participant raises his hand to speak.
When it’s his turn, he begins to reveal an incredibly personal story about sexual issues in his own marriage.
“My wife rapes me.” Certain members of the class, both women and men, giggle, some of them in
disbelief. I then address the entire class, “we need to all be respectful and listen quietly. He is trusting us
with something very personal and showing a lot of courage right now.” Then, talking directly to him I say,
“if you feel comfortable, please continue.” He explains that his wife not only ignores him when he
communicates that he doesn’t want to have sex, but laughs at him and proceeds to mount him anyway.
Here we have a Ugandan man, showing emotion and expressing pain in front of other men and women in
the community. Specifically, this community was a product from our partnerships, with Ndejje University
hosting the event, Coaches Across Continents (CAC) implementing their programs with Mark as the
primary coordinator and coach, and What’s Not Said (WNS) with getting to hop on for a few days and
provide supplementary training. The participants were passionate about playing soccer, coaching it, and promoting
community leadership. Mark and I piggybacked on each other by referencing each other’s skill building
exercises during our respective training sessions. For example, I facilitated discussion around consent and
he created a game to illustrate how understanding is impaired without consent. For the sake of adding
value and meaning to our discussion, this Ugandan man risked social rejection for the remainder of the
training sessions on the field. Showing emotion not only goes against his gender norm as a man
(expressing and communicating feelings and victim-hood in public), but it could be interpreted as a sign of
weakness. I felt honored to witness this level of empowerment. Both as a sex educator of What’s Not Said
and as a person in the world, I see the positive impacts being vulnerable can have in our relationships and
communities, especially as a man in a society where men hold overt, systemic privilege and power.
Showing vulnerability happened both on the field and off the field. Off the field, trainees showed humility
and emotions and on the field trainees enthusiastically participated in games designed for children, which at
times meant acting like a frog and chanting silly sounds in front of everyone. Off the field, the
vulnerability allowed the conversation to organically move in directions I would have only dreamed of
going. For the first time in What’s Not Said history, we were discussing the importance of sexual
negotiation in relationships and marriages and the need for teaching about pleasure in conversations around
consent and sexual assault prevention. And let me remind you, this all happened at a University in Uganda.
I was warned by everyone, from Kenyans to westerners, to be careful and perhaps censor what I talked about, in Uganda. Uganda is known for being a bit more closed when it comes to sexuality, much of these attitudes being based on current laws (for example, homosexuality is illegal). And I have to admit that made me a bit nervous. But through my vulnerability and the vulnerability of our partners, remaining shame free about my work, active listening and keeping the discussions participant-focused, Uganda surprised me for the better.
My name is Sarah Sedlack and I am founder of a culturally adaptive, comprehensive sex education program
called What’s Not Said (www.whatsnotsaid.org). I discovered CAC through networking in Kenya and
immediately developed both a mentoring and professional relationship with the organization. That relationship brought me to a CAC partnership in Uganda, where I facilitated discussions on Ugandan current events and taboo topics with community leaders from all over Uganda. The intentions of the forums were to empower more responsible community leadership, teaching skills in developing self awareness and empathy. These very skills were practiced in sport as part of CAC on-field games and reviews.
This class goes down as one of the most memorable sessions because the participants were willing to explore
openly together, which made it easier for all of us to learn from each other. A 39 year old male participant
reveals what he thought was most meaningful about the forum, “WNS gave us the confidence to be free to
be who we are and create new friendships among other participants.” As for myself, I feel thankful I got
this opportunity to explore Uganda in such an intimate way, both on and off the field. I deeply respect the
conversations shared and look forward to more to come.
Until next time!