SuperHero, Elvis Nshimba
After a two week break, our 2020 on-field delivery returned last week and we were delighted to work with our long-term CIC, Elvis Nshimba, in the community of Kalebuka, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Elvis Nshimba reminds us of a SuperHero. In the community of Kalebuka, he is one of the many superstars of our partners Malaika. Malaika provide free primary and secondary education to over 300 girls, run a successful community centre and have recently installed and refurbished 19 wells in their local community – ensuring that over 30,000 people have access to clean drinking water. Amidst this force of change, Elvis spent years building his career as an English teacher and as his skills grew, so did his responsibilities. So much so, that his ‘day job’ is now as part of the Executive Team where he oversees the programmes and the evaluation of initiatives throughout the school.
And like any superhero, Elvis has an alter ego. He is one of the world’s leading #PurposefulPlay Educators! A Community Impact Coach since 2014, Elvis’ energy and enthusiasm are infectious and participants in his training sessions always want more. Elvis has impacted over 10,000 children in his time with CAC, running programmes in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and most recently, running his own #EducationOutsideTheClassroom programme in the DRC.
With CAC’s support, Elvis delivered a world class programme for teachers, coaches and educators – providing mentorship around Covid-19 safety, CAC SAFE and gender equality.
Today Is Peace Day!
September 21st 2016. Today is Peace Day. This UN recognized day, facilitated by Peace One Day, is a day to promote peace and international cooperation through events and activities. One of the key Peace Day initiatives is One Day One Goal. This initiative uses the power of soccer to unite people, strengthen peace-building efforts and educate about social inclusion. Some of the biggest supporters of One Day One Goal include global sporting ambassadors Gary Lineker, Victor Wanyama and Fabrice Muamba. As part of One Day One Goal over the past few years, we provide a Peace Day resource packet to organizations in over 130 countries. This packet helps them play games to teach youth about understanding forms of violence and avoiding stereotypes. To see a recent example of the reconciliatory nature of the CAC curriculum and sport check out this recent blog from Indonesia which united two conflicting communities. This topic is especially important in the current global climate of ethnic divisiveness often stoked by fear and paranoia. No matter your medium, promoting peace and social inclusion for Peace Day will send an important message of unity.
Today and over the next week organizations will be running events and activities using sport to promote peace. For example, our partners in DRC Malaika, ran sports sessions, dance events and theater at their community center. Training4ChangeS our partner in South Africa ran problem solving games on Peace Day with key community leaders. In Uganda, Soccer Without Borders Uganda had their children, many of whom are refugees; sing songs; play sport; and make crafts. Naz Goal in India ran events to promote peace between their young people. This is just a small sample of the Peace Day activities- there will be many more over the next few days. If you are running Peace Day 2016 events please send the pictures and stories to and we will promote your inspirational work.
Who will you make peace with this Peace Day?
Let us play: Congo Mothers Call for Parity
July 28th 2016. Our third year On-Field with Malaika through the eyes, ears, and words of SDL Coach and ASK for Choice Strategist, Nora Dooley.
“Tomorrow morning we will ask a group of about sixty Congolese men what they are going to do for the women and girls in their communities. What would you like me to tell them on behalf of you, the mothers of Kalebuka?”
It was Thursday afternoon and I was sitting in a circle with my teammates and twenty women, all mothers of children who play at Malaika’s FIFA Football for Hope Center near Lubumbashi, DRC. We had just finished the fourth day On-Field with a fantastic bunch of participants. The group was comprised mostly of returning coaches from the two previous years of CAC trainings, the vast majority being older men with clear experience in both playing and coaching football.
Now, to massively understate, I’ve led a few CAC programs where I am in the minority as a woman. I find confidence here – almost as if the strength of all the incredible females I’ve ever met or known is fueling me in this seemingly boundless male-dominated territory. But looking around the circle at these mothers… I’ve never felt so small. I let go of all personal doubts as to what I was doing there and dove in. I had to hear them – and not just because I was selfishly eager to know even a small part of their stories, but because all week long conversations about gender equity and women’s rights were sprouting up from men. It was past time for the woman’s voice to Mingle Mingle.
We laughed, we listened, we danced. And I carefully noted.
The intense week with the coaches charged my emotions in this session. In four days we had explored ideas about different cultural possibilities, different organized religious beliefs (or lack thereof), and new and different ways to venture into these types of vital discussions on the football pitch. The participants were given the opportunity to identify a specific social issue and adapt or invent a game that would create space to discuss solutions. We danced through the struggles and vulnerabilities of coaching for social impact that – in my opinion – inevitably produce more beautiful music. One of the key conversations was unpacking the coaching toolbox that the participants could make use of if they so chose. A particular tool that came up repeatedly on and off the field was the use of a coach’s ears. And how as leaders we have the option to lecture or listen. The movement from the former to the latter over the course of the coaches’ practical sessions was profound. Our model, demonstrated not forced: their choice.
They chose and chose and chose. And we listened. After two years of Child Protection Policy trainings (bearing in mind the bulk of returning participants) and the outspoken passion these men demonstrated as they brought up gender inequalities as problems, it was time to shake things up for some localized policy design.
The final day began with small group discussions:
Imagine a future where women and men are treated equally: what does that look like for you?
What is preventing this future from being reality?
What must we do to achieve this future? What would you include in a policy/action plan for gender equity – for the rights of women and girls in your communities?
They vehemently engaged, discussed, shared, listed, debated, agreed to disagree on some things, unanimously agreed on others. They had big ideas and some steps in mind to realize them. But there was still an essential missing piece. I told them about our meeting the previous afternoon with the mothers. I told them we had something to add on behalf of those women. I asked the men if they wanted to listen.
They chose, once again, to use those brilliant ears and I was given a most humbling and thrilling honor of channeling the voices of these Kalebuka mothers, echoing thousands (millions?), as I read aloud their call for parity.
“We women have all the same rights as you.”
“Come with us, men and women together, into the community to share knowledge about girls’ and women’s rights.”
“Let us play! You need to create space and opportunities for us and our daughters to play. If you get two days on the field… we get two days!”
“Encourage us, and include us!”
“We are strong, too.”
And if I may be so bold to add… We are women, and we ASK for Choice!!!
My Week In Chililabombwe
July 12th 2016. Community Impact Coach Elvis Nshimba wrote about his time with CAC and Malalo Sports Foundation in Chililabombwe, Zambia.
I’m very happy and honored to work with Coaches Across Continents. In 2014, I attended the training of CAC games in Lubumbashi within my organization (Malaika Foundation). The following year I attended the second training with interest and was committed to implement what I was learning.
I realized that working with Coaches Across Continents as a Community Impact Coach is an important thing for my life and for my organization. My application was accepted and I was appointed to go and implement games we learned at Chililabombwe in Zambia.
Being my first time to work as a Community Impact Coach in a foreign country, I felt very excited as my need to travel is growing. I had a great week in Chililabombwe from the 3rd to the 10th of July with a great team: Nora Dooley, Ruben Alvarado, Macie Jones and Nico Achimpota.
I began teaching games that I didn’t know before, but as a Community Impact Coach, I was able to read them once and understand what I could do with local coaches in Zambia. Teaching the first game wasn’t so easy, but the second and the following were great games we taught.
In this trip, I learned many things about people, their lifestyle, different issues they have in their community and I improved my English. Zambian coaches were very kind, friendly and humble. They were good at implementing games we taught them, and committed to positively impact their community by using sport with boys and girls.
I would like to thank very much the Boards of Coaches Across Continents who allowed me, through this program, to go beyond my country, and as a Community Impact Coach, I wish to keep on running On-Field programs with them any where they can send me as a volunteer. I’m also grateful to Ruben and Nora who helped me improve my knowledge in implementing games.
As long as this program keeps on being run, I hope to contribute with my knowledge and my energy to impact the world with positive messages through sports.
Adrienne and Jocelyn ASK for Choice
I was born on the 17th of January 1999 in a family of 7 children of which I am the third. My parents are both alive but my father abandoned us in 2009. Because of the separation I couldn’t continue with my studies and had to stop in fifth year primary school. My mother remarried but that did not change our situation. We are still poor and my step father has to work very hard to find enough money to feed us. I love the center as I feel more free and loved here. I love playing football and I spend all my days here, I learnt how to read and write French, mathematics and other courses at the center as well as football. I play in the local team here and I am determined to become an international football player. I want to grow up and be able to take care of my family.
My name is ADRIENNE KIKUNGURU LEYA and I ASK FOR CHOICE
I was born in Kolwezi a town that is 7 and half hours from Lubumbashi on the 4th of November 1993. I love everything that has to do with sport, the difficulties that I face in my work with the community is being younger than all the teachers at the school. I am often confronted with youth that are older than me, so they don’t always do what I tell them which is hard sometimes as you can see the potential that they have to do great things but the age barrier is not always easy to overcome and you have to be strong in order for them to take you seriously. With time I was able to show them what I am capable of which is a great success for me. I want to be a role model for all the girls at the community center and the Coaches Across Continents training has taught me to go beyond my limitations to achieve my goals and self esteem and confidence in what I do. Having learned all of that I can understand the difficulties that other girls face while not being able to play sport.
Stories from the Malaika Foundation, Democratic Republic of Congo
September 6th 2015. Coaches Across Continents recently worked with 140 women from the Malaika Foundation at the Kalebuka Football for Hope Center in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here are two of their stories.
My name is KIBIMBI LADINE and I ASK FOR CHOICE
I was born in Lubumbashi on the 20th of august 1984 in a family of 3 children. My two siblings died at a very young age and I remained the only child in the family.
My parents were separated when I was two years old and I did not have the opportunity to know them as my mother died and my father abandoned me. I grew up with my grandparents and life was very hard and I didn’t receive any affection from their part. I am very happy because of what I learn at the center as I did not have the chance to continue my studies and even though I am married my life is still a big struggle. The center is the only thing that helps me go through each day.
My name is NKULU KALENGA DIVINA and I ASK FOR CHOICE
Born in 1997 I am the oldest child in a family of 7 children. My parents are both alive but unable to send all of us to school. I got pregnant and gave birth at a young age and when I heard about the center I decided to come and continue my education. I learnt a lot at the center and studied very hard but most of all I loved and still love football. Last year during the CAC training I was chosen by one of the local coaches to play in the Bana Mazembe team! This was the opening that I was looking for. Through football I am now capable of making new decisions on what I want to do and think differently about my future. The Kalebuka Football for Hope Center represents my refuge and place to learn.