• World’s FIRST Accredited Coaches in Purposeful Play Announced!

    Back in January we announced the launch of our new Accredited Coach initiative. Accredited Coaches are the only coaches in the world equipped with Education Outside the Classroom training to impact the UNSDGs and Safe-Guarding Child Rights through Purposeful Play curriculum and methodology. For more information please visit this blog.

    Coaches Across Continents has had the honour of working with and supporting tens of thousands of coaches, teachers and community leaders across the world since our inception in 2008. Amongst our most engaging and enthusiastic partners are our Community Impact Coaches (CIC’s), who are the local leaders in their communities and have the passion to deliver social change through sport. We have designed this initiative to further enhance their skill set and are delighted to announce the first six of them below…

    Nico Achimpota – Kigoma – Tanzania

    Nico Pota is a Tanzanian CIC and is one of the original members of CAC, contributing to the birth of CAC’s first programme in 2008. Since then Nico has been dedicated to bringing sustainable social change to developing communities in multiple countries in Africa. He truly cares about communities and believes that education is the most sustainable way to help people reach their goals and change their lives. Nico is an inspiring community leader, a respectful teacher, and an all-around sportsman. 

    Daniela Gutierrez – Juego en tu Barrio – Peru

    Daniela Gutierrez Neciosup is a community leader in every sense of the term. She has invested in her city of Lima, Perú through involvement and leadership in many different organizations including her current initiative, Juega en tu Barrio. She has been a CAC Community Impact Coach since we first met her in 2014 and has traveled with CAC all over Perú and to México and Ecuador. Her life motto says it all – “PASSION MADE ACTION: Transform everything you are passionate about into actions that allow us to build a better world”.

    Jaspreet Kaur – Rurka Kalan YFC – India

    A CIC since 2015,  Jaspreet has travelled across India and to Qatar with CAC. Jaspreet is also the Project Manager at YFC Rurka Kalan in Punjab – one of India’s leading youth football academies. A passionate believer in the power of sport and how it can change lives, Jaspreet is a trailblazer in creating and delivering innovative projects that impact children and young people in her community, across india and beyond.

    Elvis Nshimba – Malaika – Democratic Republic of Congo

    A CIC since 2015, Elvis Nshimba is the Programs and Evaluation Manager at Malaika. Elvis joined Malaika as a teacher in 2012 and in 2014, joined the first on-field training with CAC, where he then got involved in using sport as a tool to educate communities. Elvis’ goal is to ‘tirelessly impact youths and adults from the community center and regional schools towards sustainable development, training and i’m committed in supporting youths to become coaches’.

    Saraswati Negi – Naz Foundation – India

    A CIC since 2019, Saraswati has delivered programming in India and the Phillipines with CAC and is a champion of womens and girls rights across the world. Saraswati works as Training Coordinator with The Naz Foundation (India) Trust. In her role she is responsible for managing, designing, reviewing, redesigning and conducting all TOT programs in Naz for capacity building of staff. She leads the mainstreaming of Abhayam- Naz Child Protection of children and young vulnerable adults within Naz’s activities. Saraswati derives motivation from young people’s leadership and strives to work for them and with them.

    David Mulo – Green Kenya – Kenya

    After attending several CAC trainings from 2010-2013, David was inspired to take the leap and start his own NGO in 2013 called Green Kenya. Green Kenya works with schools and runs programmes to use sport for social empowerment with a focus on women’s rights and the environment. David became a CIC in 2017 whilst being Director of Green-Kenya. He has travelled across Kenya and to Malawi with CAC – delivering Purposeful Play programming and David mentioned he now has a burning desire to change the world through play.

    Salim Twaha Blanden – Mbarara Sports Academy –  Uganda

    Salim is the founder of Mbarara Sports Academy in Uganda and was the first ever Community Impact Coach in the country! Salim uses sports and purposeful play to connect with children and young people to create awareness about different issues affecting his community and other communities in Uganda.

    Patrina Kaye Nartea Caceres – FundLife International – Philippines

    Patrina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts Degree from the University of the Philippines and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Teaching at the Leyte Normal University.  She has been a football coach since 2010. She is presently a college instructor of the Eastern Visayas State University and a football coach /mentor of FundLife International. She has been a CAC Community Impact Coach (CIC) since 2015. She pursues her motto of “helping change the world, one class/ football team at a time”.

    Benedict Marquis – Sports With A Mission – India

    Benedict M, founder of Sports With A Mission teaches life skills through sports, to underprivileged children and youth, using purposeful play and self directed learning. He creates safe spaces for children and youth especially for girls and women to explore and express themselves.

    Lina Restrepo – INDER Medellín – Colombia

    Lina is a former player for Atlético Nacional and Antioquia Soccer Team. She now is a Psychologist, Specializing in Activity Psychology, Physics and Sports, and currently works as a professor at the Universidad San Buenaventura. In Lina’s words “Since 2015, the experience with CAC in Urabá, Bogotá, Chile and other places of the world, has allowed me to find new directions in my life: to know what is beyond high performance, and that we have the power to be intentional with Sport for the Development in our communities, playing for social purposes from sexual education, mental health, diversity, interculturality, questioning traditional sport, gender violence and much more.”

    Psicóloga, Especialista en Psicología de la Actividad Física y el Deporte. Exjugadora de Atlético Nacional y Selección Antioquia de Fútbol. Actualmente, docente de la Universidad San Buenaventura e integrante del equipo Deporte y Convivencia del INDER Medellín.

    Desde el año 2015, la experiencia con CAC en Urabá, Bogotá, Chile y otros lugares del mundo, ha permitido encontrar nuevas direcciones en mi vida: conocer que más allá del alto rendimiento, tenemos el poder de intencionar el Deporte para el Desarrollo de nuestras comunidades, jugar con propósitos sociales de educación sexual, salud mental, diversidad, interculturalidad, cuestionar el deporte tradicional, las violencias de género y mucho más.

    
    

     

  • Mind Your Mind

    Our latest on-field programme is with the incredible Sports With a Mission (SWAM) India team, who have been using Purposeful Play in Bangalore to raise awareness of Mental Health. Delivered by Superstar CIC Benny and his wife Nandini, Team SWAM continue to show the power of Education Outside the Classroom…

    Sports With A Mission (SWAM) is a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, India. We teach life skills through sports for vulnerable population. SWAM teaches education outside the classroom through purposeful play and we encourage self-directed learning, through which we address the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals #3, 4 and 5, which focus on General Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education and Gender Equality.

    In partnership with CAC, we decided to deliver a program to 15 participants, so we could comply with local government restrictions. The only thing that was on our mind is which group to reach out to for the program because our regular football club players had exams. We contacted young man named Vimal who has a dance studio, as he had reached out to us earlier to conduct some workshops for his students. He was very eager and excited and immediately put together a group of 14 members.

    The preparations for the event began by clearing out the ground and trying to make it as even as possible to avoid injuries. The next thing was to see if we had all the resources for the event. We went shopping for refreshments, balls, bibs and markers. We created posters and banners for the program and got our first standee made to showcase what work we do. We did a little research about getting in mobile toilets but they were too expensive and there was a lack of water at the venue. The day before the event we took all our material right from tables, chairs, first aid kits, water cans and drinking water in our small car. We were shocked to see the number of things that fit into it.

    Finally, the day to begin the event, it rained the previous day and the whole ground was slushy. There was a lot of anxiety because we were unsure of the participants showing up. When we saw them enter it was clear to us that most often we live with assumptions the reality is very different. The participants came with an empty mind because they did not know what our sessions would be like and were surprised at the end of the first session as to how games can make us understand so many issues that are otherwise swept under the carpet. The participants enjoyed the Playing with Distance games, a serious discussion happened after the Balancing Emotions because most of them would not express other emotions apart from happiness due to shame, fear of judgment and labeling, fear of losing a friend, discomfort within the group. After the program they realized the importance of expression and communication, most of them are ready to make a change and will try to implement what they have learnt in the program. The group is interested in continuing their relationship with SWAM with more such workshops every quarter.

  • 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.

  • More Than a Football Pitch

    December 20th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Jesse DiLuzio blogs from Nagpur, India about our On-Field week with longtime partner and inaugural FIFA Diversity Award winner Slum Soccer. 

    Upon leaving the airport in Nagpur, India you encounter what I, based on my limited experience in India, call “classic India”. Unfinished roads overpopulated with honking vehicles, massive cows snacking on mounds of trash, and a musty air that fills your nose with an undesirable stench. While this “classic India” of mine is certainly not a fair representation, after a week in the overcrowded chaos of New Delhi, these are the things you become accustomed to. Therefore, I was quite relieved when we drove past the industrial madness of Nagpur into the rural are of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is a small town that, upon first glance, lacks any distinctive features. There is one long, bumpy road that runs through the village flanked by a combination of small food stalls, large cows, underdeveloped homes, and small tents which sit on a ground of dust and rocks. So, you can only imagine our surprise when we first encountered the turf field that sits in the middle of this underdeveloped region. This field, surrounded on all sides by a large chain linked fence, belonged to Slum Soccer, the partner that Coaches Across Continents was set to work with that week. While I didn’t know this at the moment, this 30 x 60 piece of turf is way more than just a football pitch. 

    Slum Soccer was started around ten years ago by a university professor named Vijay Barse, who we were fortunate enough to meet. After watching kids play soccer with a broken bucket in the slums, he was inspired to set up a tournament for them so they could enjoy competition in a more formal setting. As time went on, this tournament turned into weekend sessions for the local community. Today, Slum Soccer provides educational/healthcare workshops, societal developmental programs, coaching camps, and the pure joy of a place to play football to nearly 70,000 men, women, and children across 63 districts in India. This meteoric rise from a fun football tournament for a few to an empowering resource for thousands can best be summarized in the stories of the people who work for Slum Soccer. 

    One such person is a young man named Homkant from Northern India. As a child, he grew up during the heat of the ongoing tensions between Hindu and Muslim groups in India and Pakistam. Amidst the tensions and dangers of the violence that plagued the region, Homkant was pressured to join the Hindu side. Caught between attacks on Islamic holy sites and the defense of his own sacred temples, he called this period of his life the “darkest chapter”. In the face of problems in his own home and with the local police, he left everything behind to start a new life in Nagpur. However, this “new life” was far from lucrative. He spent one year living on the streets before picking up a job at a local tea stall. This is when Slum Soccer stepped in. Without passing any judgment, the individuals in Slum Soccer found Homkant and provided with a home, three meals a day, and an opportunity to learn and build within the beautiful game. The pinnacle of this experience was being selected to represent India in the Homeless World Cup. Following these life changing moments, he has now dedicated himself full time to the organization. He is constantly running trainings and educational programs, recruits players for the Homeless World Cup and is looked up to like a big brother by the others in Slum Soccer who have also been helped off the streets. 

    Across Slum Soccer, you can find many stories similar to that of Homkant. Stories of struggle, strife, and a rebirth supported by the strong arms of Slum Soccer. However, the members of the organization are far from content. The minute we arrived they were proposing new challenges in order to take sport for development to a new level. Early on we decided that over the course of the week, we would take a step forward and teach games that would cover very intense issues such as menstruation. In many parts of rural India, there is little to no knowledge about the process of menstruation. In extreme cases, this means that women on their period are barred from entering the household because of fears that their menstrual blood will contaminate the food, water, plants, and other items in the home. Generally isolated in a shelter without food, water, and access to proper hygienic materials, thousands of young women die per year because of these myths. Additionally, 23 million women per year are forced drop out of school because of their period. Many of the women that we worked with in our time at Slum Soccer shared stories about how the lack of educational materials regarding menstruation has resulted in terrible consequences for themselves, loved ones, and other women. United under the leadership of full time CAC Coach Ashlyn, we worked to develop a number of games that teach women about the truths of menstruation through sport. Given Slum Soccer’s wide reach, we are hopeful that this will have a positive impact on many women’s lives. 

    In my four months with CAC, I’ve found that in many cases, despite all of the hard work put in on-field, you don’t quite know if sport for development will ever fully “catch-on” and have the positive impacts that you are hoping for. However, upon the completion of the week with Slum Soccer, I felt supremely confident that our partnership would have a positive impact on many lives. This confidence was fueled by the fruitful discussions, ambitious leaders, and inspirational stories that I was fortunate to come across throughout the week. While at first, the little turf field in Maharashtra just seemed like a nice place to play, I now know that the field itself is only a smart part of Slum Soccer’s commitment to forgiveness, education, opportunity and creating a home to those like Homkant who were forced to leave everything behind. I can’t wait to see the results of CAC and Slum Soccer’s partnership in the coming years. 

  • Mining Communities Meet the ‘Venice of the East’

    December 19th 2018. CAC Global Citizen Moritz Guertler discusses our week in Udaipur, India with The Football Link and Hindustan Zinc.

    Reflecting on our week in Rajasthan, I first need to enthuse over Udaipur – the city of lakes – or how some also refer to as the Venice of India. Please make sure to spend a couple of days in Udaipur when in this part of the world, it is full of culture, beautiful views, and palaces! Surrounded by hills and mountains, Udaipur lays within clear and clean lakes. After the city was founded in the 16th century, the ruler at that time increased the size of Pichola Lake by flooding the Picholi village, which gave the lake its name. A bit radical to upgrade your summer residence to say the least… Other than that Udaipur still has all the characteristics of an Indian city with cows blocking the traffic, continuous honking as well as the vibrant and busy buzz of daily life.

    For our program in Udaipur, Rajasthan we have been working together with The Football Link (TFL), the strategy and implementation partner of Hindustan Zinc’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative Zinc Football. Our team was well surprised about the all-new and state of the art football facilities located one hour outside of Udaipur right in the middle of Hindustan Zinc’s mining township. The idea behind TFL is to use the power of football for social development in Zinc’s mining communities. Together with TFL’s coaches we worked to lay ground towards a curriculum especially designed for boys and girls to play together outside any competitive environment. Focus topics for this week were social inclusion, gender equality, health & wellness, discipline, and – most importantly – a safe space for the kids to be themselves and have fun. Together with CAC’s flexible curriculum we adapted some games accordingly in order to tackle these aims, specifically.

    I deeply wish TFL all the best and success for the years to come. Together with Hindustan Zinc’s resources, the great and hard-working staff of TFL, and the passionate as well as energetic coaches the future looks bright for the youth in Hindustan Zinc’s mining communities.

  • A New Side of Sport for Sky Blue FC’s McKenzie Meehan

    December 13th 2018. CAC Global Citizen and Sky Blue FC playerMcKenzie Meehan writes about working with Naz Foundation in Delhi, India with CAC.

    Hi everyone!

    During my first week, we worked with the Naz Foundation, a great organization that seeks to empower young women through the power of play and opportunity to learn in partnership with CAC’s Education Outside the Classroom curriculum. Our primary focus was to work with the netball coaches who teach life skills to young girls at local government schools. Naz’s netball curriculum seeks to fulfill their four main goals: to Be Yourself, Be Empower, to Be Money Savvy, and to Be Healhty.

    Because Naz has been working with CAC over the past several years, the coaches were very familiar with the standard CAC games that bring about social change. Perhaps more importantly, it was clear that the coaches truly wanted to engage, teach and empower their players in a meaningful way. Therefore, our week with the coaches was focused on helping them develop the necessary skills to do this, without necessarily following a step-by-step guide in a written curriculum.

    After evaluating several coaches at local schools and understanding the challenges these coaches often face, we focused on two main areas. First, we wanted to help Naz expand the number of games in their curriculum, while showing them how each game can have several progressions and can be used to teach numerous social messages. Next, we challenged the coaches to problem solve, to use critical thinking, and to ask players important questions to initiate meaningful conversation about important issues.

    Ultimately, the goal was to focus on the development of the ‘master trainers’, trainers, and community sports coaches to enhance the impact of the program on all of the young girls. I was very impressed by all of the coaches, as they were incredibly energetic, confident and empowered young women (as well as a few men!). It was cool to see them grow more confident in their roles as the week went on.

    Apart from our on-field work with the Naz Foundation, we went to a football training session with young boys and girls run by an organization called Foot and Boot. Despite the sandy field, the kids had so much fun and it’s amazing to see how much they truly love playing. Another evening, we played pick-up soccer with some coaches from The Football Link, the organization we will be working with in Udaipur later this month.

    In terms of Delhi itself, there are over 20 million people in the city, so the traffic and noise is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Our taxi driver told us your need three things to be able to survive in Delhi: a good horn, good brakes, and good luck!

    We also squeezed in a bit of sight seeing – we walked by the India gate, the President’s House, and through the crowded, windy streets Old Delhi. Yesterday, we took a day trip to the city of Agra where we visited the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, and the Tomb of Itimad ud Daulah; all three sites were even more beautiful than expected. The food here has also been great, although my mouth is usually on fire by the end of the meal!

    Looking forward to heading to Nagpur to work with Slum Soccer – thanks for following along!