Kicking Into Life
September 24, 2019. CAC staff member, Jamie Tomkinson, led our second year of Purposeful Play training with local partner, Palestine Sports for Life. He was also joined by Community Impact Coach, Marian Dubois, of the Fútbol Más site in Paris, France.
The CAC team have been in Palestine this last week – working in partnership with Palestine Sports for Life and Fútbol Más France, we delivered a world class programme for over 20 coaches, community leaders, government ministers and teachers from the United Nations. Taking into account the issues that affect the citizens of the West Bank, we decided to use our #PurposefulPlay curriculum to deliver a workshop that addressed UNSDG #3 ‘Health and Wellness’ and UNSDG #5 ‘Gender Equality’.
Specifically, we wanted to focus on Mental Health. Many residents of Palestine have difficulty with anxiety, conflict resolution and depression due to many factors. We played some games from our upcoming and new Mental Health Curriculum, where our discussions focused on 1) how our actions and words can affect those around us and 2) what we can do as friends, family and leaders to support not only children, but also other members of our community who are suffering in silence. The simple act of listening, for example, was mentioned many times and the importance of being approachable and simply being present, can make a massive difference.
A highlight for me was going to visit one of the participant’s local Kick-Boxing class for girls and young women. We were only supposed to be there for 45 minutes, but I found myself still there 2 and a half hours later laughing and learning – I got my own taste of #EducationOutsideTheClassroom, as these brilliant young women and girls taught me what life was like for them, how they’ve built up a commendable resilience, and with their Kick-Boxing skills, if they wanted to beat me up they’d have no problem!
A Programme That Packed SWAGA
Empowering Child Rights in Nairobi
July 17, 2019. CAC’s Jamie Tomkinson (and Michael Johnson Young Leader) is leading programs this month in East Africa. Follow along as he implements Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom in Uganda and Kenya.
Fun fact #1: Beyond Hoops are a Sport for Development organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya, however they started out in Vancouver, Canada!
This was a great first year programme with there being many highlights – from the crazy dances we learned together to the thought-provoking conversations. We emphasised a focus on Child’s Rights and building self-esteem and confidence in children, particularly young women and girls. The group learned how to use Purposeful Play to discuss these topics and were very appreciative even after the first day. A real highlight for us was just how engaged and involved the participants wanted to be – they were open and honest that they were sceptical at first about how we could use play and physical activities, to address such important issues – but they kept an open mind and left upskilled and with a new sense of enthusiasm, proclaiming that they couldn’t wait to play the games in their own communities.
We also delivered a very worthwhile session using the Coaches Across Continents ‘Child Protection Guidelines’. Half of the room were split on should corporal punishment be illegal or not in schools? We therefore facilitated a 50/50 debate on the matter. The coaches mentioned four types of Child abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal abuse. After a lengthy discussion, some of the coaches who thought corporal punishment was the right way to discipline a child agreed that there are other ways to communicate to children without using force or methods that may harm them physically and mentally.
Fun Fact #2: CAC is a global leader in Child Protection working with UNICEF as a pioneering member of the International Safeguards for Children in Sport, and publishing last month the Community Empowerment to Ensure Human Rights Guiding Principles.
34 participants joined us throughout the week and will be using our curriculum to impact 1.3K children and young people in Nairobi. #WhatsYourLegacy?
Bus-Bound for Busia
July 15, 2019. Long-time Community Impact Coach Salim Blanden from Mbrara leads a CAC training for the first time.
I jump on a Kenya bound bus, but my final destination is Busia near the Uganda-Kenya borders. On the bus with me is Jamie Craig Tomkinson who I have ran a program with in Jinja with X-SUBA. Very tired from the last program we both slept off immediately once we entered the bus and within just two hours we had reached our destination (Busia).
On the first day in Busia, we thought it was a local market day as we experienced a big crowd but we were told it’s a normal day because Busia is a very over populated area being a business area because of nearing the Uganda-Kenya border.
Jamie and I are both ready to run our programs with YES Busia, one of the organizations that is partnering with CAC to implement Purposeful Play. We are supposed to run separate programs on two fields in Busia; one of the programs on the nearby local field at a primary school to be run by me and another in Masafu village to be run by Jamie. YES Busia is the only organization in Busia that is using sports to reach out to the local community to teach about the most pressing social issues which include on HIV (UNSDG3: Health & Wellness), education (UNSDG4: Quality Education), poverty (UNSDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth), and the environment (UNSDG13: Climate Action). Ongatai Amosias, the leader of YES Busia, is working with young leaders in his office to bring about the positive social change. On the program with me is Mary, Moureen, Flavia and Dorcas who are acting as co-facilitators and also helping on other logistics. Mary and Moureen are helping out in running some games because they have been teaching CAC games in primary schools that work with YES Busia.
First day for me to run such a program on my own is an interesting day for me. There are so many women on the program compared to men, something that is not so common in most communities I have worked with. Most of these are teachers from nearby primary schools and others are locals from the nearby villages.
Being the second year CAC is running programs in Busia, there are some returnees from the last program and they can quickly understand the games, and some teachers have knowledge about the games because Mary and Moureen, the YES facilitators, have been running these games in different primary schools. Dorcas is also one of the facilitators of YES Busia and works with Mary and Moureen to run games in schools. Dorcas is helping out with making sure we have balls, bibs and cones for use at the pitch and takes care of everything but also joins in to play with other participants after to participate. She asks questions and is very confident and in our afternoon meeting, Jamie thinks she can be a potential CIC from YES Busia.
The participants loved the games and wants CAC to come back next year. My highlight was when we played a game about HIV Myths (Ballack Clears HIV Myths). We had a lengthy discussion about HIV after the game to learn about the myths and also teach about HIV and people requested we talk a lot about HIV. My wish to the organization to help mobilise and educate more people about HIV in the villages of Busia.
Coaches Across Continents worked with 156 participants over 5 days, impacting 18,000 children in the Busia district of Uganda.
X-cellent X-SUBA (Jinja, Uganda)
July 13, 2019. CAC’s Jamie Tomkinson (and Michael Johnson Young Leader) is leading programs this month in East Africa. Follow along as he implements Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom in Uganda and Kenya.
X-SUBA is in their first year of partnership with CAC, and as such our first visit has everyone full of enthusiasm. During the programme we adapted many traditional CAC games to use hands rather than feet, as most of the coaches were from a netball or basketball background. They were thankful for this and it has helped them see how they can use CAC curriculum more in their day to day sessions. From the start, we developed a coach personal development policy which brought up some really good discussions about self-reflection and improving our own practice. Throughout the week we focused on coaching guidelines, feedback during practice coaching sessions, and learning how to use CAC’s Workplace platform to continue developing throughout the year. We also had a great session on creating and adapting games and it’s fantastic to hear that X-SUBA will be delivering these in their own communities in the near future!
My personal highlight was during one of CAC’s environment games addressing UNSDG#13: Climate Action called “Pick up and Get Clean.” Once all the cones etc had been picked up, they then stated running around the field collecting actual trash from all over. While this was no doubt down to competitiveness, we used this demonstrate the impact this game can have and provide and enthusiasm to kids to ‘pick up and get clean’. Everyone was running around collecting trash, we then referenced this back to our own lives and how often do we daily walk past rubbish and not pick it up because it ‘isn’t our job’, when in fact, it’s everyone’s job. We then collected all the trash and put it in a nearby rubbish bin! #WhatsYourLegacy?
A total of 30 participants had their first experience of Purposeful Play and will now go onto to deliver Education Outside of the Classroom to 1.5k in the beautiful town of Jinja, Uganda.
The Power of Acronyms
May 16th, 2018. Coaches Across Continents Facilitator, Ashlyn Hardie, puts together a blog reflecting the incredible leadership and success of Community Impact Coach (CIC), Benny Marquis, and past Michael Johnson Young Leader, Jamie Tomkinson who recently lead a Coaches Across Continents training in Bangalore, India with CAC partner Parikrma Humanity Foundation.
Stories like these are amazing. They are amazing because everything that Coaches Across Continents strives for is positive social change in the world – and not just for a moment, for a minute, for a year – but forever. Sustainable, positive change is why we do everything that we do here at CAC.
So, why is this program so special? Why is this blog titled “The Power of Acronyms”? Let me explain….
FIRST – Jamie Tomkinson was nominated by Coaches Across Continents to be a Michael Johnson Young Leader a couple years ago, and was selected! MJYL, our first acronym for this blog, is one of the most prestigious leadership training courses, and life-changing opportunities for young people all around the world. Jamie, once finishing the MJYL training, has continued to work with Coaches Across Continents (CAC – this one you should know) on multiple on-field programs over the past two years.
NOW – Benny Marquis has been a CAC program participant in the past, but was just recently promoted to being a CAC Community Impact Coach! The CIC Initiative is designed by CAC to take stand out participants from our programs and further develop them with the Online Education Program (OEP) and On-Field professional development opportunities!
AMAZING – So, back to sustainability. A couple of years ago CAC, nominated a kid to give him a chance for the MJYL program, and he thrived! He continued to travel, coach, and learn and has recently ran his own program, independently representing CAC with partner Parikrma, in Bangalore, India. Assisting him with this training is CIC, Benny, who is now able to apply all of his learnings from the OEP program on the ground. Not only this, but Jamie has connected CAC Partner Parikrma with his old sporting club, Spartans Academy, and they will be hosting a Girls Football Festival at the end of the month – so the good work keeps on going!
Change is possible, and sustainable. People can make a difference, and their impact can grow. This story started with a teenage boy with a good heart, and now he is training community leaders around the world for the planets largest international sport for development non-profit. This is what Coaches Across Continents is all about … ACRONYMS …. and sustainable development at its finest.
Notes from Benny on the week:
“I learned a lot of leadership skills thanks to CAC and Jamie. I also learned how to modify the session in case of a larger group of students, and also how to use available resources – even if it is just a stone lying around – to conduct the session. Tough this was explained during the OEP in theory, I got my first hand experience at it this time on-field. I also got to learn more about two hour sessions, the number of games that can be included, and the kind of sport for education discussions that can be had.”