• 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?

  • Can sex be safe and sweet?

    CAC Self-Directed Learning coach Markus Bensch blogs on our continuing partnership with Vijana Amani Pamoja in Nairobi, Kenya.

    May 20th 2015. What do you think is more appealing to children and youth when talking to them about sex: “You should abstain from sex to avoid HIV and sex is something to be only done by married partners, anyway!” or “Sex can be safe and sweet. Do not focus only on fear or infection, but on good feelings. Good sex requires good communication. Show what you need. Invite your partner to do the same. Be patient. It is possible to have pleasure while using a condom?” I encountered both approaches during our program with our partner Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP).

    For the fifth week of our programs in Kenya we went to the capital of the country: Nairobi. Turner and I were very curious about working with VAP, because usually life in the capital is much faster than in any other part of the country. People have diverse lifestyles, are more likely to be open-minded and usually have a higher level of formal education. Would this week be very different to the programs we ran before?

    Travelling in Kenya is challenging and takes a lot of time, nerves, and patience. We needed all three when we travelled from Awendo to Nairobi as an estimated eight hour bus ride turned out to take twelve, because of traffic jams. Trucks broke down in the middle of the road and because the road was so narrow nobody could pass and we just had to wait until the vehicle was repaired. After the hours Turner and I spent On-Field we spent the 2nd most time on busses and taxis to get from A to B.

    On the Sunday before the training started it was my father’s 75th birthday and I was a bit sad that I couldn’t celebrate with him and my family. But modern technology and good internet connection allowed me to call and congratulate him to his great day, honour the long life he has lived and wish him many more years. At least I could share an hour on Skype with him and my mom and it was very nice to see him so happy and to know that he had a great day. When talking about my work with CAC my father made an unexpected comment: “It makes me happy to see you happy and to see that you enjoy the work you do.” You have to know that my father, as many fathers are, is not very vocal when it comes to compliments and emotions. So he really surprised me with this comment, but also made me very proud. And it was a perfect kick-off for another week On-Field.

    When we got to VAP’s office on Monday morning we received a very warm welcome by Enouce Ndeche, the Executive Director, and Charles Otieno, the Program Officer. As I entered the first room in their office building the flyer with the slogan “Sex can be safe and sweet” caught my eyes. It made me curious and I looked closer at this advert. I read the sentences that I quoted above which I felt were very friendly and encouraging for youth to develop a positive relationship to their sexuality. This approach is very rare in an environment where youth mostly get told to abstain from sex in order to fulfil religious morals and to avoid contracting HIV. Later this week I should be witnessing this fear related approach again.

    As we got onto the field we encountered a very motivated group that was eager to play many different games. The women of this group were very vocal from the beginning which is rare. Usually the women are a bit shy and they are not used to speak up in front of men so they need a few days to gain confidence to participate in discussions. Not so with this group. The women were very confident in sharing their ideas, opinions and thoughts on the different social issues we addressed with our games.

    As it was our fifth year partnering with VAP we encouraged the group to develop new games for their coach-backs in order to address social issues that were important to their community. Although many freshmen participated in the course we witnessed some good games on Skills for Life, the Environment, Financial Literacy, Female Empowerment, and mostly HIV/AIDS. Those led us to a discussion on HIV/AIDS prevention. Many participants said that they emphasize abstinence as the first choice for their players. I asked if youth usually abstain from sex until they are married and if the HIV rate has dropped in the past 10 years as long as abstinence has been widely promoted in African countries. Both questions got denied by the participants and they are also scientifically proven. We discussed the importance of education and how humans usually want to find out about things that are forbidden. The same applies for sex as youth want to find out about it when the only thing they get told is not to do it. The participants supported the idea that it is important to talk with their players about sexuality in order to build their confidence to make good and healthy choices for themselves. Those talks I have with participants of our programs almost every week and flyers like I have seen in VAP’s office make me dream for a future generation that will grow up in an environment where they can talk about sexuality, express their questions, fears, hopes and dreams, and develop self-esteem in order to appreciate that sex can be ‘safe and sweet’. And coaches like we have worked with in Nairobi will help to make this dream become true.

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  • CAC and TYSA – From a CIC

    May 7, 2014. Charles Otieno Sisia (Oti) from long-time CAC partner, Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP) in Nairobi, joins CAC programs for his second year as a Community Impact Coach. He writes about his week with Trans-Nzoia Youth Sports Association (TYSA) where he joined CAC staff member, Nora Dooley, for a week in Kitale, Kenya.

    Oti leads participants in the ever-favorite Mingle MIngle

    Oti leads participants in the ever-favorite Coaches Across Continents game Mingle Mingle

    Another great year at TYSA. This was the second year that CAC worked with the partner organization based in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya.

    TYSA organized a one week camp with more than a hundred participants and half of them participated in the CAC training from Monday 28th April to Friday 2nd May at Makutano Secondary School.

    Over the training Nora Dooley, an experienced and motivated CAC coach, led the on-field and off-field sessions assisted by myself, Charles Otieno Sisia, as I was selected for the second year as a CAC Community Impact Coach (CIC). Before the start the participants highlighted the issues they face in Trans-Nzoia and what they would like to learn from CAC. Some of the issues included child labor, neglect, early marriage, lack of education, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of career opportunities, negative peer pressure, and malnutrition. A major part of the week was spent playing games that focused on leadership, voice, education, identifying and creating safe spaces, and complete health and wellness.

    Protect your body from germs - Hygiene Tag!

    Protect your body from germs – Hygiene Tag!

    Off-field sessions were held in the school hall where the participants took notes and asked questions about the sessions that they were now able to teach.

    The participants gained more confidence, voice, and leadership skills after playing the Circle of Friends, doing the skills of Wilshere and Marta, and also they got an opportunity to teach back what they had learned to the younger participants, and clearly deliver social impact messages.

    The participants declared to fight for their rights and child rights, and to protect and never abuse children. This was the bill of rights and child protection session with Coach Nora.

    Gazza Safe Spaces Tag was one of the best games talking about space spaces when home was not a safe space for everyone. Women empowerment activities were superb with girls now having a voice to ask for their rights and room in sporting activities, careers and other opportunities. Health games also worked well for both genders and participants were able to talk about their bodies during Hygiene Tag.

    The participants graduated and have now joined us to educate more people on football for social impact by teaching the CAC sessions.

    Scary Soccer getting pretty scary! Oti stays cool

    Scary Soccer getting pretty scary! Oti stays cool working with Coaches Across Continents

     

  • Football Impacts and Ice Cream?

    July 5, 2013.  Returning to Nairobi, Coaches across Continents partnered with Vijana Amani Pamoja (VAP) for a special 4th year in large part because of their outstanding commitment to sport for social impact.  Because of this, many of the 75 coaches we worked with were returning participants.  Does this mean we repeated the same stuff from last year?  Nope.  CAC brought with them a smorgasbord of new games.  Because most of these coaches were high quality footballers, our games were successfully tested and stretched to accommodate their skill.

    We also had a Coaches Across Continents first when a VAP coach, Oppo, decided it was time for an ice cream break and snuck off, during the middle of a game.  Needless to say, this sparked a daily tradition of grabbing a Toffee Choco Delight from the passing ice-cream wagon after each session.

    Wednesday afternoon brought Meg and Charlie to a local school where one of our hosts, Hussein Habib, has been running an all-girls team, the Golden Angels, since 2006.  The 15 year old girls were a pleasure to work with.  They had not only mastered many of the nuances of the game, but their skill and problem solving ability easily rivaled the adult coaches in our regular sessions.

    It was an excellent continuation of our partnership with VAP and a heck of a start to the next 5 weeks of CAC working in Kenya with AJ, Charlie, and Meg.  On to Marsabit and HODI!image