• Returning to Likoni

    June 2, 2015.  CAC Founder Nick Gates blogs about our work with the Likoni Community Football League (LCFL).

    In 2014, Coaches Across Continents had to postpone our program in Likoni (near Mombasa), Kenya due to ongoing terrorist threats in the region.  We were delighted to return in 2015 to one of Kenya’s most pro-active football for social development groups.

    We arrived on the first morning and cones had been set up to start Circle of Friends.   We soon found out that these fabulous coaches were playing CAC games from 2012 and 2013 every week in Likoni.  The Likoni coaches were all talented players, so the sessions were even more fun.

    We chose role models like Tim Howard, Yaya Toure and Abby Wambach and went through the full set of games to include life skills, conflict resolution, health and wellness, female empowerment, child rights, and fun. The ‘light bulb’ moment of the week came during our Brazil for Attitudes game, when we asked the group to run like man and run like a woman, to kick like a man and kick like a woman.  It was during this game that the coaches started discussing that it was their own stereotypical thoughts and actions that were preventing more girls from having the chance and choice to play.  And true to our Self-Directed Learning model, they soon discussed solutions to solve the problem.

    Easily the most fun game of the week was Wambach for Conflict Resolution, that resulted in some of the greatest celebrations seen in Likoni and some of the funniest laughs. The game summed up the incredible group of coaches who played every single game with joy, laughter and passion. The children of Likoni are incredibly lucky to have these educators running their soccer program.

    The Likoni partnership is supported by the Taiji Group.

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    LCFL has been using CAC games since 2012



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    Coach Kelly Con makes two new friends in Likoni

  • The boat is SINKING

    1003890_610534982324157_1601369254_nAugust 5, 2013. Our week working with Likoni Community Football League felt like a
    week in paradise, and not just because we ended most days with a swim
    in the Indian Ocean. After several weeks spent on Kenya’s inland, Coaches Charlie, AJ, and Megan headed to the coast for a welcome climate change. Likoni is a busy suburb of Mombasa, just a five minute ferry ride from the city’s main island. Once you cross the shipping lane and are carried off of the ferry by waves of fellow passengers,
    you’re immediately hit with colors, smells, and sounds from all directions– vendors hawking fish and sandals made from tires, mutatus and motorbikes weaving through crowds, cows and chickens and children adding to the chaos. Likoni, like any community, has its share of
    problems, including high HIV rates, children dropping out of school early, and a history of tribal clashes. We were reminded of these issues our daily tuktuk rides to and from the field, passing by several AIDS orphanages and a large, abandoned beachfront hotel, empty since the post-election violence of 1997. However, we also passed several soccer fields each day, teeming with young players. LCFL provided the goalposts for these fields, creating safe spaces for the
    youth in the community to play.

    Each morning, we worked our year 2 curriculum with a group of experienced LCFL coaches. The group, which included several current players as well as the first ever professional player from Kenya, was a pleasure to coach. Everyone was very much on board with the social messages of our games, and we focused on games for HIV prevention, gender equity and conflict resolution throughout the week. When it came time for the coaches to practice coaching, they taught us some great new games, including a new nautical version of our “Mingle, Mingle” game called “The boat is sinking.” AJ, Charlie, and Megan are eager to spread “The boat is sinking” to the rest of Kenya, and are confident that it will soon be a national hit. We hope that the LCFL coaches will use the games they learned this week to educate the players in their league. With 19 boys teams and 4 girls teams registered for this season, there is huge potential for impact.

    When we weren’t on the field, we kept busy around Likoni and Mombasa. We spent a lot of time at the office of Hatua Likoni, an NGO that provides scholarships for students to pursue secondary school, and also supports LCFL. To get to the office, we walked through Hatua Likoni’s study room, packed with walls of books, long tables, and studious kids. On Wednesday, we went with several LCFL directors to the Likoni AIDS Orphanage. The children there put on a fantastic dance performance for us, and Kevin Odhiambo spoke to the orphanage about getting a team together to participate in LCFL’s league. It was great to have the chance to see the different youth in the community where we were working.

    The end of each day found us back at the volunteer house, located on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Not bad. A swim, a delicious home cooked meal (thanks Mariam!), a view of the sunset, and then inside for the evening’s entertainment. While the house lacked a television set, we
    were plenty occupied by the two lizards that lived in our sitting room and went on nightly raids across the ceiling, catching moths and other pesky bugs. Once, horrified, we watched as one of the big lizards appeared to eat a smaller lizard, but as it turns out he was only gently chewing on his head, and the little guy was fine. The drama of Likoni TV. Overall, we had a fantastic week on the Kenyan coast, and only hope that our friends at LCFL enjoyed themselves and learned as
    much as we did.


  • Year 1 with Likoni Community Football League

    Coaches Across Continents in Likoni

    July 20th, 2012:  After having an amazing experience working with V.A.P. in Nairobi, Marisa, Adam, Lindsey, and I traveled to the coastal town of Likoni where we began our second program of my trip with Likoni Community Football League (LCFL). When we arrived, we were greeted by Kevin, an LCFL staff member and an instant friend.

    In the mornings, we would get a tuc-tuc from our rooms to a local primary school where the trainings were held; the afternoons were spent training some of the participants’ teams. The first day of training was really exciting because we got to meet all the amazing coaches that we were going to be working with for the next week. When we arrived, there were already about 15 inspirited coaches there and ready to train, and not only had they showed up on time and even slightly early, but they also all had balls. LCFL did a great job coordinating the participants as well as providing them with the correct supplies to lead to the successful implementation of our curriculum: all of the coaches were given notebooks to write down the drills that they learned in our sessions. The coaches’ enthusiasm to understand our mission (football for social development) and drive to learn our games from the very beginning made our program a success. However, witnessing the success was even more rewarding than just knowing that we had given the coaches the tools to succeed: we saw one of our coaches-in-training already implementing one of the games we had taught him in his practice, and running the game smoothly.  The number of participants in our trainings grew throughout the week from a beginning figure of 26 to a graduating class of 36. In just one week, we were able to reach 1468 number of children by teaching their coaches and role models and by furthering our success in spreading awareness and changing behaviors with regard to such issues as HIV/AIDS, Female Empowerment, Conflict Resolution, and Health and Wellness.