• Stop OSAEC in the Philippines

    Makati City, Philippines. Football for Humanity and sports education partner Coaches Across Continents kick-off a series of online training sessions for thirty coaches participating in the community football mobilization program under the #StopOSAEC (Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children) advocacy headed by Football for Humanity (FFH) and Advocacy Partners Asia Inc (APAI). The course promotes a structured curriculum to enhance FFH coaches’ knowledge and skills necessary for coaching vulnerable children. These coaches will be offering free and fun football sessions to communities where children are at risk of OSAEC, which is a violation under Article 5 of Republic Act No. 7610 (An Act Providing for Stronger Deterrence and Special Protection Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination, And for Other Purposes)

    Coaches Across Continents is an international NGO and the global leader in using purposeful play and education outside the classroom to address the UN SDG’s and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. CAC Founder Nick Gates said, “I am delighted to share my support of the fantastic group of leaders from the Philippines, coming together with CAC and Football for Humanity to challenge OSAEC in their communities and around the world. I believe if we can bring fun back to play and sport, then we can heal from our traumas and rebuild communities, families, teams and cultures with children’s imagination at the center.”

    Sport and play have been endorsed by UNICEF in its Sport for Development Programs (S4D) as a proven platform for children’s “empowerment, leadership and self-esteem, and which contributes to overall well-being and future prospects”. In addition, FFH and its partners recognize children’s right to leisure, play, and participation in cultural and artistic activities as enacted in the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    As COVID-19 surged and the entire country was practically halted in lockdown, OSAEC incidences also grew exponentially, thus putting more children at risk in a world that has become more digital, seemingly overnight.  As of May 2020, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had reported an annual increase in OSAEC cases of 264%.

    “OSAEC has created hundreds of thousands of traumatised children who suffer in silence. If we educate and empower children through play, we will help prevent, heal and reverse the crippling effects of this monstrous crime,” according to FFH founder and president Chris Thomas.

    Football for Humanity and Advocacy Partners Asia formalized their partnership for the project in May, 2021, when APA Executive Director Louie P. Sebastian declared that, “No child should ever experience abuse in any form most especially online sexual abuse which leaves long-term physical, social, mental and emotional trauma.  Increasing awareness of the ills and dangers of OSAEC is crucial. Hence, Advocacy Partners Asia, Inc. and PAGEONE, as leading organizations in development communication and social mobilization, are one with FFH in creating a strong movement against OSAEC.”

    The #StopOSAEC advocacy is funded by the Australian Government through the Direct Aid Program (DAP) of the Australian Embassy in the Philippines and is supported by the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ/IACAT), PLDT/Smart, and other partners and sponsors affiliated under FFH, which runs on a strong child protection platform in all of its initiatives.

    Mr Thanh Le, Development Counsellor at the Australian Embassy said, “The FFH project presents a valuable strategy to raise awareness on and counter OSAEC in communities through purposive play. It has a strong potential to empower vulnerable children and their families against OSAEC. This initiative complements Australia’s SaferKidsPH program, which aims to strengthen the child protection system in the Philippines with a particular focus on OSAEC.”

    Social media platforms and online technology are at the center of the OSAEC problem, and constitute the “bridge” where alleged perpetrators and potential victims converge. FFH and APA reached out to PLDT and Smart, the Philippines’ leading telecommunications and digital services providers, as both had already launched an aggressive campaign in April 2021 to stamp out OSAEC through its technology solutions and affiliated organizations.  “PLDT and Smart recognize the critical role that technology plays in combatting OSAEC. Further to that, we’re also pursuing shared value partnerships with like-minded organizations such as the FFH to strengthen our commitment to champion children’s rights and create safer spaces for them, both online and offline. With technology and sports as our shared anchors, we aim to bring opportunities for vulnerable children to find hope, safety and support to continue moving forward,” said PLDT First Vice President and Group Head for Corporate Communications, Cathy Yap-Yang.

    Law enforcement efforts regarding this online crime are led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Philippines, which also created the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) in charge of coordinating and monitoring the implementation of Republic Act No. 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003. The IACAT is multi-agency, composed of government agencies and non-government sectoral representatives who employ various approaches to combatting OSAEC. Officer in Charge, Executive Director Wendell Bendoval, welcomed the involvement of FFH and its partners in the multi-agency alliance: “Human trafficking is a pervasive crisis throughout the world, especially here in the Philippines where we are considered a trafficking hotspot. Through international cooperation, the anti-trafficking movement continues to adapt to shifting circumstances and new challenges to remain one step ahead of traffickers and protect our children from it. Partnerships are crucial to the movement because it takes not one person but rather a whole government approach to completely end modern-day slavery. FFH’s involvement in the advocacy allowed us to be reminded once again of this collective commitment as we take on another year and look forward to the work that lies ahead.”

    Football for Humanity is a charity registered in the Philippines and the UK. The charity uses the power of play to educate, empower and protect children facing the threat of violence, exploitation and extreme poverty.

  • Not About the Ball

    August 21st, 2018. Community Impact Coach, Robelyn Villas, writes about the experience of working with Coaches Across Continents On-Field in the Philippines with CAC Community Partner, Gawad Kalinga, after the already exciting adventure of the FIFA Football for Hope Festival in Russia this Summer of 2018 in partnership with the World Cup! 

    To have another journey after becoming part of the Philippine delegation for Russia (FIFA Football For Hope Festival) was unanticipated until Coaches Across Continents selected me to be part of their training seminar, both as a participant and a facilitator.

    It was on July 28 when my colleague Coach John Paul and I, Coach Robelyn Villas, joined CAC Coaches Charlie and volunteer coach, Patty, in Giussepe F.C. – Campo, Cebu to be one of their participants. It was a two-day affair and we immediately jumped into their football drills and sessions. Among the sessions that we participated in were the Children’s Packet drill which promotes intercultural cooperation.

    The drills in Cebu that I participated in were also a chance for us to share and learn in teaching football as a social development platform, also as a tool to engage individuals in social issues arising from their localities and help them understand how to approach those issues.

    After the weekend seminar in Cebu City (July 28-29), we headed to Sagay City in Negros Occidental to join Coach Charlie and CAC as team-members in their 5-day seminar titled: “COACHES ACROSS CONTINENTS – Global Leaders in Sports for Social Impact.” For almost a  week (July 30-August 3), JP and I, led activities for the participants who were teachers, government employees and humanitarian volunteers from Gawad Kalinga’s SipaG Football Club.

    The activity that captivated me the most was a HIV and Sexual Health drill. The aim is to spread sexual health awareness among the participants since the growth rate in the Philippines for HIV is very alarming. The continuous widespread of HIV in our country should be taken seriously.

    It’s not just the drills and activities that inspired me so much during the CAC seminar, but also the wonderful city of Sagay, Negros Occidental wherein CAC held it’s event. The calm and pleasant ambience of the city is relaxing and so comfortable that it made you want to live there.

    Besides experiencing the tranquil ambience in Sagay, we were also able to witness one AFC (Asian Football Confederation) match in Bacolod City. The match was between top football clubs from their respective leagues, Ceres-Negros FC of the Philippines and Home United of Singapore. It was great to witness this kind of match among the top clubs in Southeast Asia, especially seeing it personally. The match ended with a draw (1-1).

    Overall, Coaches Across Continents helped me enhance my skills as a coach and I was able to have a fantastic opportunity to participate and facilitate drills that tackle social awareness and development. The 7 day seminar also guided me to become a more responsible coach and mentor. Teaching football shouldn’t only be about kicking the ball, but also instilling social responsibilities for us to be the catalyst of positive social change through Education Outside the Classroom.

  • Walang Iwanan (Leave no one) Hua!

     September 29th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, Prateek, writes about the experience provided by Coaches Across Continents during his week in Manila, Philippines with Gawad Kalinga. 

    After a much needed break in Bohol, Charlie and I were back at Manila for a week long on-field session with Gawad Kalinga. The training was supported by the city mayor and the local department of education, the majority of the participants were community coaches of GK and public school teachers from the Manila area. Since none of the coaches had experienced the CAC training before, it was exciting to work with Charlie in delivering the sessions. I remember the first time I took part in the CAC training, during my first day I was a bit skeptical about the training, but on the second day I was convinced that the sports for social impact methodology would be very beneficial for our communities. Likewise, I got to see that awe in the face of the participants as the trainings proceeded.

    The traffic in Manila was one of the worst that I have notice, nonetheless we managed to be on time every morning.The training was held at indoor basketball court, where there were around 35 participants. The training was a bit different from the first two weeks as there were a mix groups of teachers and coaches that attended. After every training Kevin our host in Manila would treat us to the best food that Manila could offer.

    One of the highlights during this programme was talking to Coach June, who had travelled from a conflict stricken province of Marawi, hearing his story of his work inspired me on how sports can be used to bring communities together. He was working with rebels and law enforcers using sports to manage the conflict in his city. After getting familiar with the CAC games, Coach June was full of enthusiasm on applying the games with his children in his hometown. He has planned an event which would include games from CAC to be played at his hometown.

    During my three weeks of stay in Philippines, I have really enhanced my coaching skills. This was my first time coaching a group of adults and even more exciting my first time coaching in a foreign country. My confidence level has grown enormously. I really want to thank CAC and specifically thank Charlie for this wonderful opportunity. I now can go back home and start training the teachers and youth coach on being self-directed coaches.

  • My CAC Experience

    September 27th, 2017. Community Impact Coach, John Rex Acuin from Football for Life, reflects on week with FundLife in Cebu, Philippines with Giuseppe F.C.

    When I was asked to join Coaches Charlie and Prateek to deliver the seminar in Cebu, not as a participant but as an assistant coach, I was so shocked but got very excited as well. I thought that this would really test whether I had learned from the seminar we just had.

    I left Friday night: Tacloban-Ormoc 7pm-9:30pm, Ormoc-Cebu 12midnight-7am. I arrived at Cebu Carmen around 7am and rode another van to the main city. I got in the venue at 11am, and I was 1 hour late. In short, it was a long journey to get there, but like the quote says, “It’s better late than never”.

    I had mixed emotions when I got to the venue. I was happy because there were a lot of participants, and at the same time, I was shocked because almost all the participants were older than me. Coach Charlie introduced me, and it felt good to be welcomed and introduced as one of the facilitating coaches and not as a participant. We then proceeded to the training. I just assisted them in the morning, but in the afternoon, Coach Charlie and Coach Prateek asked me to choose one drill to facilitate on my own. I got very nervous at first because I was coaching coaches that are older and positioned higher than me. But Coaches Charlie and Prateek helped me overcome those nerves. Truly, you will see how professionals they are, especially in delivering and interacting with different types of coaches. I coached the drill called Gazza Support System that focuses on different vices that can be acquired in the communities, like Alcohol Drinking, and two other drills – ‘Can Ballack see HIV?’ and ‘Ballack Goes to Goal’ – which both teaches about HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

    Coaches Across Continents really helped me a lot as a coach. They gave me more ideas on how I can conduct my drills and sessions. I also got the chance to share my knowledge and experiences to others. Most importantly, the whole CAC experience gave me another perspective in football – that football is not just a game but could be also a tool to teach children social issues occurring in their community and help them easily understand even the most complicated issues. Football can be a way of molding little minds to be better people. And, as coaches, we can be instruments of change to these children and their communities. Overall, it’s really a great and fruitful experience, and I would never say no to other opportunities like this. As I am already working with FundLife as a Football for Life coach, I can definitely use this experience to improve my performance as a coach. CAC’s work can greatly support our work here in Tacloban.

  • Fun In The Sun

    September 8th 2017. CAC Community Impact Coach Prateek Syangden, from Childreach Nepal, blogs from the Philippines where we are working with Gawad Kalinga

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is “the global leaders in sports for social impact”. There are very few organizations that live up to their name, and I would say that CAC has lived up to their name and their game as the global leaders in sports for social impact. I have had the privilege to be associated with CAC for more than four years. In these four years CAC has helped Childreach to be recognized as a leading organization in Nepal that uses the sports for social impact methodology, which has enabled us to reach out to thousands of children in Nepal.

    On the 18th of August I left Nepal for the Philippines, to be a part of the Community Impact Coach program. The next three weeks I would assist CAC Self-Directed Learning strategist Charlie Crawford to run on field programs in three different places and working with different organization in the Philippines. Our first week training was with Gawad Kalinga, a local NGO that uses football as tool to improve the lives of youths and children. We traveled to a small city called Tacloban which was about an hour flight from the capital of Manila. We were warmly greeted by Dennis and Bart who works with GK. The next day we arrived at the AFC village, built jointly by Gawad Kalinga and the Asian Football Confederation after the Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda in the local language. Haiyan killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines. The GK village is home to more than 200 families. This reminded me of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal where more than 8,000 people lost their lives. Looking at the work that the AFC was able to do I could imagine the possibilities for the AFC collaborating with a local Nepalese NGO or government bodies to build a similar village for the survivors of the earthquake. The GK/AFC village also provides a safe playing space for the children (football pitch), where we would be working with the local coaches for the next five days.

    The majority of the coaches attending the program were from the long-term partners of CAC, Football4Life. Coming from Nepal a big challenge was the heat and humidity, I started having skin problems from the second day, but that didn’t stop me from being on the field with Charlie. Two things in common with Nepal and Philippines, we are never on time and we eat a lot of rice. The coaches who were late would brag about the Filipino time, something we would do if we were late. The next two weeks will take us to Cebu and Manila, which I am looking forward to.

     

  • CAC at AFC-EPL Social Development Conference

    July 20, 2017.  CAC Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz is on a panel focusing on Female Engagement at the AFC – Premier League Football Social Development Conference 2017 in Hong Kong this week.  Questions are expected to focus on our involvement with the AFC as their official legacy partner with work currently occurring in Nepal and the Philippines.

    This bi-annual event, put on by Coaches Across Continents’ partner the Asian Football Confederation, will be attended by approximately 250 people.  Speakers include representatives from the English Premier League teams, various AFC Football Associations, and NGOs such as Coaches Across Continents.  Also being presented will be the AFC Dream Asia Awards 2017.

    Other speakers on the Female Engagement panel include Vicky Jepson (Liverpool FC Ladies), Chan Yuen Ting (Eastern Sports Club Coach), Bai Lili (AFC Head of Women’s Football Development), Shafic Gawhari (Moby Group – Afghanistan), and Betty Wong (Head Coach of Hong Kong Women’s National Team).