• On Martabak and Football

    May 10th 2016. Community Impact Coach Patrina Caceres, from our partners Football for Life in the Philippines, discussed working with CAC and Uni Papua in Indonesia.

    Last February, when I learned from my supervisor at the Football for Life (F4L) program that I have been assigned for a coaching stint as a Community Impact Coach (CIC) in Jakarta by Coaches Across Continents (CAC), I was at a loss for words.  I almost screamed at the coffee shop and tears collected in my eyes.  That was the best news that I have received since starting as a football for social impact coach in 2014.  Fast forward to April. With the first two weeks spent organizing with FundLife International (Football for Life’s mother organization) and participating in a third-year CAC seminar in Tacloban City from the 6th to the 9th and leading a second-year CAC seminar in Baybay City on the 11th to the 14th, I only had little time to pack my bags for the trip to Manila-Singapore-Jakarta on the 16th, which was no problem, because I’m a light packer.

    Charlie Crawford (team leader for the Philippines – Tacloban and Baybay – seminars) who was also going to lead the Indonesia trainings, flew to Manila with me in the morning of the sixteenth but we had different airlines for the Manila-Jakarta trip.  I was flying solo to a foreign country, something that made me anxious a bit.  Good thing that I had a book with me which made me feel comfortable in my trip.  Despite the delay of arrival in Singapore and an almost closed gate for my Singapore-Jakarta flight, the plane ride to Jakarta was without any other hassle.  Arriving in Jakarta, I was expecting a welcome committee when I went out of the terminal.  But nobody from Uni Papua, the partner organization of CAC, was there.

    Finding myself alone in a foreign country made me nervous so I went back inside the airport to breathe and think of a solution to solve my problem.  I asked which terminal the other international airlines landed.  “Terminal two”, the kind airport lady told me, so I jumped inside a shuttle bus to terminal two.  And indeed, there they were, Maria and Andi, the welcome committee, I tapped their back and introduced myself.  They were quite embarrassed that they didn’t know that I was going to land in terminal three.  “No harm done”, I told them.  And “Charlie ought to be proud of me, because I solved my problem by asking the right questions”.  Jon Eisen, a CAC volunteer from the United States arrived next.  The CAC Indonesia team was completed upon Charlie’s arrival at the airport.  My first impressions of people, places and things are almost always accurate, that’s the intuitive side to my personality.  I thought to myself that Charlie, Jon and I will click and make a great team, that I will learn a lot from the partner organization and that I will fall in love with Jakarta.

    The CAC training would begin on the Monday.  Having our Sunday free, we met with the Uni Papua Founder, Mr. Harry Widjaja, a gracious and generous man, who took us out for a meal in a fancy café, talked to us about the social football organization then he tagged us along to watch a movie, VIP style.  First day of the training, April 18th, was spent with introductions and curious eyes on me, being the only female coach on the CAC team, and one of only two females present that time.  From that moment, I had a mission, of challenging every participant’s views on gender, equality and society.  We started the training with the famous Circle of Friends then more games that taught about health and wellness, gender equality and fun were played.  The end of the first day training saw us tired, so Charlie introduced us to martabak manis, his most favorite dessert in the world.  Tasting it was sensational – though it simply looks like pancake, it’s not just pancake.  It is martabak manis.  It has become my most favorite dessert too. Martabak manis has mostly been a part of our evening routine except Wednesday of the Jakarta week.

    On the second day of training, I led Solo Skills for Life, a game that teaches the basic goalkeeping throws. I emphasized to the participants to use their voice while doing the skills.  This would ensure that the skill will be mastered and at the same time, participants will be confident to use their voice, and with seminars like this, CAC aims to develop community leaders who would be able to adapt and teach the games according to the needs of their community.  The highlight of the third day of the training for me was one of the ASK for Choice Curriculum Games called Brazil for Attitudes, it’s a game were participants are asked to do things “like a girl” or “like a boy”.  It was fun watching full-grown men goof around, but at the same time, made me wonder why they were running, skipping, dancing, hopping or what-not in a silly manner when I told them to do things “like a girl”.  When I huddled them and discussed the social impact of the game, I asked whether they see female athletes move the way they did during the game and how the girls and women in their life would react to the thought of doing things like a girl as a form of weakness.  That’s when they realized that the stereotypes that they have of women must be challenged.

    The fourth day of the training mostly featured Child’s Rights Games and a Child’s Rights Talk near the end.  During the child’s rights talk near the end of the day, experiences growing up as a child in Indonesia were shared, and how they have a common belief that the negative aspects that they went through should not be experienced by any child.  It was a rather serious and emotional talk that we needed to have a breather after.  The break from the seriousness was the most fun part of the day.  We played Scary Soccer, a live rock-paper-scissors kind-of-game, featuring moves for goalkeeper, striker and midfielder.  The youngest participant of the day was a twelve-year-old boy who was never tagged in the progression of the game, where the team that loses are chased by the winning team and once they’re tagged, they join the other team.  Talk about how an empowered child who doesn’t get tagged at scary soccer wins at life!

    Day five was coach-backs, where participants go into pairs and choose a game from a list of the games taught for the entire week and they coach the game back.  The coach-participants were very creative at modifying and making the games their own and that’s exactly what we want, that they be comfortable enough to teach the games the way they deem necessary.  What was most impressive, was the three youngest participants, teenage boys of 12, 13 and 15 who coached “Old Trafford Tag” as a group and how they transformed from the shy and quiet kids to “coaches” saying the instructions and explaining the social messages after the game was played.  These three kids have a potential at coaching too, seeing them step up made me hopeful at the bright future there is for Indonesian football for social impact.

    And oh, going back to my first impressions… They were right.  Charlie, Jon and I have forged friendships along with the Uni Papua Salatiga coaches with whom we lived with at the Our Daily Bread Office guesthouse, caring Maria who always made sure that our needs were met, like tea that makes me burp a lot, thus the nickname “Burpie”, helpful Andi and his funny giggle, energetic Yan and his very delicious Papuan’s pizza.  I have learned a lot from Mr. Harry about the organization through the success tips talk we had over lunch before I left Jakarta.  And yes, I have fallen in love with Jakarta, because of the food and because of the participants of the training.  What better way to fall in love with a place than because of the food and the people.

    Martabak 2

  • Welcome To Sorong

    May 4th 2016. Volunteer Jon Eisen writes about his time with CAC and Uni Papua in Sorong, Indonesia.

    After a week of coaching coaches in Jakarta, Charlie Crawford, the leader from Coaches Across Continents who had previously been working for two and half months in Africa, and I boarded a red-eye to Eastern Indonesia. Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands and is the 4th most populous country in the world. Jakarta, where we spent our first week, is essentially the New York City of Indonesia. We spent our second week, the focus of this post, in Sorong, a pleasant tropical town with beaches, palm trees and a more laid back way of life. We were greeted early Saturday morning by Frans and Rudolf, two of the local coaches . We spent the weekend relaxing and doing touristy things, like visiting the Buddhist temple, eating seafood and beaching it with Frans and Rudolf, as well as Nonce, the behind the scenes organizer. Come Monday, we were ready to get back to work.

    Quick refresher — Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is in the sport for social impact game. What that means is CAC uses football (soccer) as a jumping off point for conversations about social issues like gender equality, child rights, safe sex, and problem solving. CAC partners with local organizations, in this case Uni Papua, to put on week-long coaching clinics on how to play games that bring out these messages. After the program, CAC remains engaged with the local organization for at least 3 years, returning for training sessions annually. Charlie continuously repeated that we are not here to tell anyone what is right and wrong, only to discuss the reality and open up a discussion. Two of the most common phrases he says during games is “now, solve your problem” and “use your voice!” CAC knows that no matter what happens in a week-long program or even in the longer partnership, what the coaches coach is ultimately their decision. Our goal is simply to encourage critical thinking and speaking up.

    All that being said, this trip was CAC’s first time in Sorong. We spent three mornings at schools playing games with students and the afternoon sessions, with the exception of one, were predominantly dominated by kids. No matter what language is spoken or what life is like, one thing is for sure, kids love playing games. Even though it’s not the explicit mission of CAC, it was a ton of fun seeing the kids having fun playing games like Scary Soccer, a real life version of rock-paper-scissors and 95% football, essentially soccer without a ball.

    There was one moment that struck me as particularly powerful. It was during a game called Indonesia For Attitudes. For this game, we create four coned spaces on the field that represent characteristics of males. When we call out one of the characteristics, the players race to get to that particular space. After playing several rounds, we bring it back in and rename the spaces to represent characteristics of females. The social impact moment is when, at the completion of the game, you ask why did you pick the characteristics you did for each gender? Can a man be diligent? Can a woman be strong? What are the sources of our beliefs?

    During this particular game that involved only males, Charlie asked where these preconceptions come from. Blank stares. I’m not sure if it was a translation thing, a social thing or perhaps a combination of both. But it struck me that many of these kids may never have considered why they believe what they believe. Self reflection and thinking about one’s society is not always easy and fun. I think it is something that everyone all over the world, myself included, should engage in more often. This game, Indonesia For Attitudes, was a fun way to encourage this reflection.

    Interesting Side Notes About Indonesia

    • From the moment we left the hotel each day, people would shout out “Hey Mister!” and take our pictures. Charlie Crawford, the CAC leader for the trip, was used to the celebrity status of being a white person in a place with no white people. He said it would get old. It certainly was a unique experience but I will admit that by the end of the week, I, like Charlie, was looking forward to the anonymity of being in America.
    • Our final day was cancelled as the Commander of the Armed Forces, the third highest politician in Indonesia, was making a surprise visit to “Armyville,” the location of our field.
    • While not a lot of people speak English, the people are incredibly warm, open and kind. Everyone hangs out together outside of their homes. There seemed to be a very rich community dynamic. Indonesia is a great place!
    • Martabak Manis will change your life.

    Thank You’s

    So many thank you’s are due for helping me to be a part of this partnership. First, thank you to all my friends and family that helped me raise funds for Coaches Across Continents and make my trip a reality. Next, thank you to the CAC folks, particularly Charlie Crawford, the man with the plan, a human dumpster for all the food in Indonesia (literally all of it) and the leader of the programs; Nora Dooley for encouraging me to do it even though I know less about soccer than the kids we were working with; and Adam Burgess, who helped with my trip logistics and kept me on track. Thank you to our gracious hosts in both Jakarta and Sorong who made the partnership possible — Maria, Mr. Harry, Andi, Yan, the Salatiga coaches, Frans, Rudolf and Nonce. Finally, thank you to all the coaches and kids that participated. You guys are the heartbeat of the partnership.



  • Martabaks and Ministers

    CAC volunteer Charlie Crawford blogs from Jakarta, Indonesia with Uni Papua.

    September 23rd 2015. After our arrival in Jakarta, Coaches Across Continents had a rare evening of having more people present than our hosts. With 6 CAC coaches in one place (3 full-time and 3 volunteers), we went out for a delicious meal with some of the leaders and coaches of our partner program, Uni Papua. A full stomach and a good night’s sleep later, the CAC Coaches went their separate ways while Turner and I stayed in the big city to spend a week with some of the core Uni Papua coaches. We worked each day in a roofed basketball court of a local primary school where being pointed and stared at became our standard greeting. It was a small group of coaches, but because of that we were able to give more one-on-one attention than we typically can.

    To get around the city we were introduced to a new friend named Rudolph (as fitting a name for a guide in an unknown country as I’ve ever heard). Among his many gratitude inspiring actions, I don’t think I can thank him enough for introducing me to the Indonesian dessert, martabaks. The closest I can describe a martabak is as an inch thick pancake thickly coated in butter, sugar, crushed peanuts, more butter, chocolate, then folded over and handed to you in a box. I could have sworn I heard a few arteries close as I devoured this food from the gods.  Some things should not be allowed to exist in a healthy world. Its times like these I can’t help but appreciate a little indulgence.

    CAC has put me in two of the most formal settings of my life. One was a meeting in a conference room of one of the Ministers of the Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The other was a debriefing in Jakarta’s Ministry of Housing. Serious faces on serious people speaking Bahasa (a language I’m practically limited to counting to 6, saying “thank you” and saying “slow down”). In the inevitable bureaucratic fashion, snacks were distributed to ease the delay of the proceedings (a rice-ball filled with something savory wrapped in a banana leaf). Once Harry, the leader of Uni Papua, began to speak, Turner and I could pick out enough words to see that he was introducing the concept of Sport for Social Impact to the group of 50 well-dressed members of the community. The people in this room had gathered to hear about this new way to coach and how Uni Papua would be using it to host the Jakarta Football Festival – Rusun Cup, a massive youth tournament to take place the following month. An impressive endeavor that gained the much appreciated help of the governor himself.

    Some would find it uncomfortable given a seat at the front and being occasionally gestured towards in this language we couldn’t understand. Before CAC I would have been one of those. Instead, when it came time for Turner to ask for volunteers to play a couple games as demonstration, I was confident that they would go well.  They did. Formality faded in an instant and the top floor of the Ministry of Housing filled with the laughter and problem solving that is so naturally part of Coaches Across Continents. Jakarta and CAC were understanding each other.


  • A Prelude to Indonesia

    September 2, 2015.  Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz spent three days in Jakarta, Indonesia speaking and presenting at the Open Source Football Seminar along with partner Uni Papua.

    Our role at Coaches Across Continents is to support our partner programs for 365 days per year.  Our partnerships go far beyond the annual On-Field training, as we support our programs through year-round curriculums, constant communication, strategic consulting and planning, the Online Education program, and our Community Impact Coach program just to name a few.  This past week, Chief Executive Strategist Brian Suskiewicz had the opportunity to support Uni Papua (Indonesia) in a deeper manner.  He was asked to speak and present about sport for social impact to approximately 70 coaches in Jakarta this past Friday and Saturday. It entailed both a classroom 90-minute speech, as well as a two-hour On-Field demonstration Saturday.  Attending the Open Source Football Seminar were Uni Papua coaches, other local Jakarta coaches and teachers, and a group of university students studying to become Physical Education teachers.  Also speaking at the event were former Indonesian National team physiotherapist Matias Ibo, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Breaker Komunikasi Yoga Adhitrisna, and founder of Uni Papua Harry Widjaja.

    In addition to the two-day seminar, Uni Papua and Brian Suskiewicz were engaged by the media Bola.com, where they conducted a lengthy interview on sport for social impact and its implications for children in Jakarta.  Finally, Uni Papua had a presentation with the governor of Jakarta, the honorable Mr. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.  This meeting proved extremely valuable as the governor pledged his support towards Uni Papua and their sport for social impact programs.

    Knowing that Uni Papua continues to grow and capture the imagination and support of key figures is vital in the growth of football for social impact.  CAC is happy to support their efforts, as well as those of all our partners as they continue to impact their communities and their countries.


    CES Brian celebrating with participants from the On-Field portion of the Open Source Football Seminar

    Brian and Jakarta Governor

    Brian Suskiewicz and the Governor of Jakarta, Mr. Basuki Tjahaja Purnama


  • The Kuku Dance Returns

    April 30th. SDL Coach, Nora Dooley, shares her thoughts upon her return to the field in Indonesia.
    There is a very good reason we only work with leaders. I’ll give you a hint: what happens if we work with children and then leave at the end of the week? Every once in a while, however, we have a session or two with the beneficiaries of our partner programs, and we are faced with the task of doing what we ask educators all over the world to do on a consistent basis: simultaneously teach children about football and life, while having as much fun as humanly possible.

    After two months on the Off-Field grind, I was back in action in Sentul, Indonesia – a small city outside of Jakarta. I ran a two-day training for our partners at Uni Papua, who are exploring the option of expanding their CAC partnership at a school in Sentul, where children from Papua study far from home.

    This program launched me back into the CAC rhythm, asking me to rise to the aforementioned challenge. I had to show these kids what CAC is all about. Still remembering my sato, dua, tigas (1,2,3s…) from my time in Indonesia two years prior, the rust fell off with ease and a couple of boomshakalakas.

    I could not have asked for a better way to re-engage with our amazing curriculum than doing so with a group of children that spend their days in search of their next chance to laugh. And whether with me or at me (most likely the latter), I’m happy as long as we’re laughing.

    At this point many have heard of the famous ‘Kuku Dance’ – coined in Kenya in 2014, and carried with our Self-Directed Learning coaches far and wide. To simply say I was excited to get my ‘Kuku’ on would vastly understate my love for this dance – and the smiles it brings in amazingly diverse cultural contexts. At no point were these children laughing harder (at me) than when they learned the now legendary dance during the first of many ‘Mingle Mingles’.

    Two days of games centered on teaching life skills, conflict resolution, and female empowerment, fully saturated with giggles and mingles and kukus, made for the perfect welcome back to coaching. Hopefully next time we run a program in Sentul, we will focus more on sustainability, but for now, fun was the objective, and that objective was achieved.

    And as I walked off the school ground after saying goodbye to my new, young, Indonesian friends, shouts of “kuku dance, kuku dance, kuku dance” put a final, contented smile on my silly face. Terima kasih Uni Papua.


  • Futsal for Social Impact

    IMG_4168September 25, 2013. Coaches Brian Suskiewicz and Nora Dooley finished the GOAL program last week in Jakarta, Indonesia. After the first three days of training approximately 150 Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) employees in games from our GOAL curriculum, the CAC team set their sights on working with 400 junior high and high school students. SCB staff volunteered their time to coach the youth in CAC games over the course of three days. Not one of the employees had coached before meeting us on the pitch.  Yet when it was their turn to coach they impressed the CAC staff immensely, nailing their coaching points and imparting valuable social impact messages.

    The first day of implementation saw about 25 SCB volunteers coaching just shy of 100 junior high school learners. On two futsal pitches this was a very manageable number, and the first group of volunteer coaches were terrific. Brian and Nora found themselves doing much more managing and logistics and very little coaching! The second day was a bit more hectic as nearly 200 high school boys and girls streamed onto two small fields. The 35 SCB employees who coached the second day deserve an award for the way they handled this mass of adolescents. The third and final day of implementation was also Peace One Day, September 21st, and 98 more junior high school students joined 59 bank staff on just ONE futsal pitch. The CAC team had it under control, however, and a would-be chaotic day went very smoothly. In honor of Peace One Day Brian and Nora held a juggling competition, crowning one girl and one boy as champions.

    Reflecting on the overall program with CAC partner, SCB, training volunteer employees in about 13 games from the CAC and GOAL curriculum and welcoming nearly 400 students to Grand Futsal locations in Jakarta, the CAC team could not be more satisfied with the week. Three great groups of bank staff showed up physically and mentally for both their Train the Trainer day and their volunteer implementation day.IMG_6936 The CAC team is optimistic about the future with SCB and hopes these newly trained coaches will continue to pay it forward with youth from their community.  Already SCB has reached out to four local NGOs who are adopting our curriculum including the Helen Keller Foundation and Mitra Netra (visually impaired foundations), Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (for underprivledged children), and the HIV Foundation.  SCB Indonesia is also looking into continuing more implementation at schools around Jakarta and throughout Indonesia.  Stay tuned for more from our GOAL program in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. Until next year, Jakarta!