Building the Country of Their Choice
July 23, 2015. “If you knew me, and you really knew yourself, you would not have killed me.” – Felicien Ntagengwa
This stark quote greeted us at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali. During our last week of training the CAC staff spoke often about the genocide, Rwanda, and it’s future. We wondered about how the genocide was still impacting decisions made today, and whether it was in the daily thoughts of all the citizens. Instead we find ourselves coming to a slightly different conclusion: Rwanda is aware and respectful of its past, but more importantly it is looking to create a future where it does not happen again. In short, Rwanda is building the country they want to become. We see it in the progress being made in capital improvements and in the attitudes of the people moving forward in their daily tasks. Most especially, we see it in the commitment to a singular Rwandan identity instead of the tribal divisions that were a prelude to the genocide.
This past week in working with over 50 coaches in Kigali we saw how the Rwandan community has moved forward and will continue to become the society they desire. One of the more notable moments of the week occurred Off-Field, in a meeting with the Ministry of Sport and Culture. They have embraced the ideas put forward by Football for Hope, Peace, and Unity along with CAC to develop a Rwandan specific curriculum that can be implemented by FHPU coaches throughout the country, in the schools and soccer community. This would include games that teach about Rwandan identity, conflict resolution, and understanding stereotyping and discrimination. But they would also include lessons on entrepreneurial skills, leadership, and communication. Along with FHPU, Rwanda has made the choice of what their future should look like, and is able to decide how sport can play a role in educating people about that future. Now, with the help of CAC, we will begin to develop this curriculum with the goal of implementation later this year.
One game that will be included in this Rwandan curriculum is a game that Victor “Brown” Shyaka created for the final day of training. It was a game of possession between two teams in a large area, but there were also very small squares scattered about that represented safe spaces. Throughout the game, taggers (who represented threats to an individual or community) were released and you had to find a safe space. This game was to teach children about various potential threats and also where and when to seek the safety of places like your home, soccer field, or community center.
The coaches in Kigali, and throughout Rwanda, are becoming Self-Directed learners, capable of creating their own games and choosing their own future. The coaches, much like the country, is not quite there yet, but you can see the progress they have made and also how close they are to realizing their goals.
Peace Is A Process
July 10th, 2015. Peace does not come easy. For every person hoping for peace there always seems to be another who is causing conflict. This is what makes what Football for Hope, Peace, and Unity and the second year of our “Play For Hope: Rwanda20” partnership so special. FHPU has dedicated its mission to working for lasting peace in a country that has had numerous conflicts, the most notable and recent of which occurred 21 years ago in the form of a million-person genocide in just over three months time. Before our week in Rwamagana, the CAC team was able to visit the Gisozi Genocide Memorial which is just as humbling as the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and the Killing Fields in Cambodia. All three memorials look to educate on the past while promoting the ideals of a peaceful future existence. To give you an idea of the scope and impact that the genocide had on Rwanda, a National Trauma Survey by UNICEF estimated that 80% of Rwandan children experienced a death in the family in 1994, with 70% of children witnessing someone being killed or injured. This was an event that completely transformed the nation and continues to form its identity moving forward.
How do you move on from such a catastrophic event? And how is FHPU through their soccer initiative PFH: Rwanda20 continuing to help this process? In the aftermath of the genocide, Rwanda implemented what was known as the Gacaca. It is a community-lead, grass-roots peace process. This allowed for victims and perpetrators to come forward and tell their stories. Punishments were then levied towards the genocidaires, but typically a 50% reduced sentenced that allowed them to work outside of a prison cell with their manual labor benefiting the community.
Even today, 21 years later, peace remains a process. On Thursday we concluded our training with the coaches and teachers of Rwamagana by playing a game from our Peace Day curriculum called “Understanding Stereotypes and Challenging Them.” It can also be easily used to discuss discrimination and segregation, both of which were factors in the build-up of the genocide. At the conclusion of the game we were hoping to openly discuss the historical issues between the Hutus and Tutsis, but we were told that it would be better to wait one day. Even today people struggle to speak openly about a difficult topic – they need time to put their thoughts together. The following morning during coach-backs, one group chose to replay this game. At the conclusion, a 30-minute group discussion was held in a seated circle on the grass. To someone who was just learning about the intricacies of Rwandan history, it felt very much like an extension of a Gacaca, where the community was able to come together to speak on difficult subjects.
The conclusion we heard from one coach after the discussion about the game is that when you segregate or discriminate, you are putting one group above another, and conflict is bound to follow. Dr. Holly Collison, who is studying and researching in the field of Sport for Peace and Development for Loughborough University, also joined the discussion. Her short participatory activity in the middle of the discussion showed that through communication you can learn about others, both your similarities and differences, but that communication is key. The more you communicate, the more you understand about each other and how similar we all are. And this is what the coaches and their fellow Rwandans are still doing today. Even after 21 years, peace remains a process.
Win A Free Coaches Across Continents Partnership
10th March 2015. Coaches Across Continents and Peace One Day have teamed up to provide an opportunity to communities and organizations all over the world the chance to win a FREE Hat-Trick Initiative Partnership from Coaches Across Continents. We are opening our application process until March 15th at which time one or more selected communities will be awarded a three-year partnership with Coaches Across Continents at no charge. This partnership is valued at $81,000 USD.
To apply to win this partnership you must complete our application form- Peace Day Award Partnership Application and email it to by March 15th. So you have five days to apply!
To apply you must meet the following criteria:
- Applications to be received by March 15, 2015 (decision made by the end of March).
- Complete the normal CAC application for consideration.
- Your organization must support Peace Day on 21 September and our campaign against violence against girls and women.
- You agree to invite and host at least 50 coaches (or more) at each annual training with CAC.
- These coaches should impact at least 10,000 children using sport for social impact.
- Your community must work with both male and female coaches as well as boys and girls soccer players.
- The first annual training will occur for one or two weeks, most likely in July, 2015, to prepare and train your coaches for 21 September (Peace Day).
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to bring social change to your community. Peace Day Award Partnership Application!
This opportunity builds an the incredibly productive existing partnership between CAC and Peace One Day. In 2014 we reached people in over 40 countries on September 21st- Peace Day- as part of ‘One Day One Goal’. In 2015 we will be running a similar campaign based around peace-building and conflict resolution which will reach even more people and create a greater impact.
Partnership with Peace One Day A Huge Success
October 17, 2014. Earlier this year Coaches Across Continents announced the largest partnership in sport for social impact. Together with Peace One Day, we teamed up to supply organizations with a free soccer resource packet that uses CAC games to educate about peace and encourage the development of skill sets that lead to peace building. On 21 September, these efforts came to the fruition when millions around the world celebrated and recognized Peace Day.
Together with Peace One Day, Coaches Across Continents is using their One Day One Goal platform to use football as a peace building educational exercise. Along with their other efforts, the goal for 2014 is to have Peace Day recognized by one billion people globally. This first year of our partnership was a great start to spreading that awareness. Overall nearly four hundred sport for social development organizations took advantage of this free resource to educate their communities on peace building practices. These included organizations on all six continents, and they were distributed and available in six different languages (English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Swahili).
The focus of this year’s celebrations was on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region of Africa (focusing on Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania). So far in those five countries we have confirmation of the resource packet being used by 50 organizations to promote peace, with more coming forward every day. Each of these organizations also held an event for 21 September, the International Day of Peace. These include CAC implementing community partners as well as organizations who have heard about the power of sport through other avenues like StreetFootballWorld, One World Futbol, FIFA Football for Hope, and Peace One Day.
Stories, pictures, and videos from around the world continue to arrive speaking of the incredible power that football has as a unifying factor. Check out some of them on our Facebook page. If you or your organization want to tell your story from Peace Day, please contact us at: or .
The Real Stellenbosch: CAC Hits the Futsal Court with t4c
October 4th, 2014. Cape Town, South Africa, famous for its mountains, beaches and beauty, neighbors some of the best and most stunning wine farms in the world in the very location of our latest program. This training took CAC Senior Staff member, Nora Dooley, to the mountainous farmlands of Stellenbosch – a tourism hotspot, a world-renowned wine oasis that is, like most vacation destinations, so often only seen and heard about through that narrow lens. Having been to the region as a tourist herself while living in South Africa, Nora was eager to learn more about the area, beyond the bubble that shields tourists from life’s difficult realities.
Our partner in Stellenbosch, training4changeS (t4c), is a young organization that has chosen futsal as their game of choice. They are tapping into a world of opportunity in South African youth development and have lured in the National Futsal Coach – Quinton Allies – as a member of the staff. The training was a last minute addition to our 2014 schedule so the group was mostly t4c staff with a few participants from local partner organizations in t4c’s expanding network.
We trained the 16 coaches in games from our year one curriculum and were able to push them in all aspects of our work – football (futsal) technique, fitness, and knowledge of the game, and most importantly social impact – how we coach sport to achieve a greater end of youth and community empowerment. This group was small, but each one of them proved day in and day out how committed they are to learning from CAC and putting what they learn into practice in their lives and in their sessions with children.
On top of our core modules we taught the coaches all 5 of our Peace Day games since the training began the day after September 21st, as well as games from our Female Empowerment, HIV, Child Rights, and Financial Literacy curricula. One of the games that had a particularly resounding impact was our “Peace Day: Understanding Stereotypes and Challenging Them” game which, as per the title, addresses the problem of stereotypes and what we can do to solve that problem. Before we began the game we had a conversation about what stereotyping someone means and what are some examples of stereotypes in their community. We talked about people with dreadlocks (one of the participant had dreads), stereotypes pertaining to religions – particularly Muslims, as well as skin color – a huge issue in the Stellenbosch area and the country as a whole. The group itself was made up of people from different backgrounds and cultures, and we made sure to create a safe space for us all to discuss these serious issues. Then we played the game.
The futsal court was divided into three zones – in a regular futsal game it would be for defense, midfield, and strikers but in this game the zones represented different stereotypes and we used three of the examples that we already discussed – physical characteristics (like dreads), religious affiliation, and skin color (a physical characteristic but so serious that it demands its own zone). For the first round players on each team must stay in the zone they are placed in and cannot leave. The teams go to goal. Then we play again where one team has the freedom to move anywhere and the other team is still confined to their zone. Then the third time – everybody is free to move.
After the game we discussed more in depth about how it felt to be restricted to a zone in the game and how it limits your team, how it is a disadvantage when the other team is unrestricted. Then we related the game to the context of life and the participants discussed how imprisoning people in a box in your mind limits their ability to ever be anything else in your eyes, and closes your mind to the possibility of understanding and acceptance. If we get rid of the zones, if we get rid of the stereotypes, we are all free to play and make our own choices; we will score more goals and work better as a team, as a community, as a nation and a world.
This is just one example of the amazing games and discussions that occurred throughout the week with these participants. They were wonderful people to work with and we could not have asked for a more open-minded, energetic, thoughtful, and talented group of young South Africans. After a few days Coach Quinton praised our methods saying, “It’s amazing how you use the ball as the connecting point.” We very much appreciate having such an established coach understand the importance of our methods. South Africa is one of the most difficult countries for us to work in because of various aspects of the culture and history – but groups like t4c break the stereotype and make our job incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. We look forward to a prolific partnership with training4changeS and the Stellenbosch community, the beautiful community beyond the wine lands.
Measuring the Immeasurable: Social Impact
September 1st, 2014. Coaches Across Continents’ unique WISER monitoring and evaluation (M&E) provides a detailed picture of what is happening on the ground. Not only does our M&E measure the outcomes of our On-Field programs, it also gives us valuable insights into the impact CAC is having year-round in local communities across the globe. Accounting for the successes and challenges unique to each partner program allows us to continuously improve the quality of our programs and systems.
Our team has just finished a half-year review of our On-Field programs. In 2014, CAC has piloted many initiatives, including training in M&E and child protection and our finalized Hat-Trick curriculum. Here is what our monitoring and evaluation is telling us.
So far, CAC has conducted 42 trainings for 38 implementing partner programs in 2014, reaching 1,859 coaches who will in turn impact 132,375 youth in their respective communities.
CAC strives to build strong, collaborative partnerships to achieve sustainability by creating local networks of football for social impact leaders around the world. As a result, the number of local member partners CAC works with has considerably increased: since the beginning of 2014, CAC has empowered 685 community partners, five times more than in 2013. Our programs connect like-minded educators who can serve as a resource to one another: local coaches in Zimbabwe created a Facebook group to keep in touch, coaches in Tanzania planned weekly meetings, and a committee was set up in Zambia to oversee the implementation of CAC’s 24-week curriculum.
In addition to developing a football resource packet for Peace One Day to be played in over 130 countries leading up to September 21st, CAC launched its improved Hat-Trick curriculum in January, based on our ‘Chance to Choice’ philosophy. The curriculum is composed of more than 180 games, including a new child rights module bringing to life the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child. The curriculum allows for even more flexibility to fit the distinctive social needs of each community. In total, more than 120 different games, linked to 36 different role models, have been played in 2014.
CAC is particularly successful in training local coaches and organizations in using football for social impact. For instance, 97% of all local coaches now know a football game to teach children to find creative solutions to their problems instead of asking for the answer, compared to 24% prior to 2014.
Health and Wellness is an important component of our curriculum. This includes many HIV behavior change games,and 95% of local coaches trained know a football game to teach children about how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases, compared to only 31% of coaches who had never attended a CAC training. Returning coaches have noticed an improvement in their players’ overall health and their awareness of the importance of taking care of their bodies following the implementation of CAC games throughout the year.
CAC places an important emphasis on female empowerment and female participation in sports. Out of the 36 role models used On-Field, 25 were female, giving more than 90% of local coaches the tools to teach children about powerful female role models. Games directly addressing female empowerment and women’s roles in society have lead to numerous discussions around the world about the root causes of inequality, traditional roles of women and men, ways of integrating women and girls in the community, or the importance of female participation in sports. This has led to increased female participation, with 70% of local coaches planning on integrating girls in their teams, double the amount at the beginning of the year. Brazil clubs have expressed their desire to add girls to their trainings, and other groups have created girls specific afterschool groups, teams, and leagues. In Zanzibar participants brainstormed five solutions they could implement to give more power to women in their community after playing one of CAC’s gender equity games.
A few impacts of our conflict resolution and social inclusion games include local coaches engaging in discussions concerning homosexuality and in identifying solutions to tackle widespread corruption. Our Peace Day games have been launched in many communities affected by a long history of conflict and violence such as the DRC and Rwanda. A game between a deaf and an able-bodied team was organized at the end of our program in Sierra Leone that focused largely on integrating people with disabilities; an unprecedented event according to our partner program.
Quantified Impact from our Baseline/Endline Questions:
- Do you know a football game to teach young people to find creative solutions to their problems, both as a team and individually, instead of asking for the answer?
- Do you know a football game to teach young people how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS?
- Do you know a football game to teach young people about the role and place of women and girls on the soccer field, at home and in the community?
- Do you know a football game to teach young people how best to resolve conflict?
100% of our participants have received training in child protection and have promised to “ALWAYS protect and NEVER abuse children and young people in their care”, now mandatory to receive a CAC certificate.Only 14% said they had received child protection training before being involved with CAC. In Kitale, Kenya, 150 children learned their rights for the first time and spoke up about child abuse in their community. Child rights games have been played at 50% of our programs and inspired local coaches to invent new games teaching children about their rights.
CAC also keeps track of our partners’ progress towards Self-Directed Learning. One third of coaches participating in a CAC program this year had already attended another CAC training a previous year. This is crucial to develop local ownership and self-sufficiency.
Introducing new methodology and best practices is the first step towards creating self-directed learners. More than 20 of our partner programs reported that CAC introduced ‘new learning’ or a ‘new way of coaching.’
In spite of 64% of our 2014 programs entering the first year of the partnership, 47% of them are in the adapt or create stages of Self-Directed Learning, whereby they not only understand the concept of sport for social impact but are also capable of adapting or inventing games to address new social issues. Participants all around the world have developed their own football for social impact curriculum. Themes include child rights that address regional laws, deforestation, combating HIV stigma, cholera, malaria, wealth redistribution and maternal mortality.
CAC has also been active Off-Field, speaking at high-level events in India, Qatar, San Francisco and New York on a wide range of topics including CSR policy for football development, sport for development, youth development and empowering girls through sports. In 2014, CAC launched a new corporate partnership with Chevrolet, which has already had tremendous success with projects benefiting our local partners Rumah Cemara in Bandung, Indonesia and Beyond the Ball in Chicago, USA. The CAC team has also put our writing skills to the test, and our paper on CAC’s Self-Directed Learning model was accepted for publication in a special issue of Soccer & Society. To end the first half of 2014 on a high note, CAC has been shortlisted for the 2014 Beyond Sport Awards for the highly competitive Corporate of the Year category.