• The Big Issue

    September 19, 2016.  CAC were delighted to run our first ever program in Oceania recently. This one was with the Big Issue Street Soccer Program in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.

    If you mention “The Big Issue” in Australia, people immediately think of the social enterprise magazine that is sold on street corners as a way to give employment to homeless individuals.  But many people don’t realize that the Big Issue also has a Street Soccer program, running in 19 communities throughout Australia.  Anyone is welcome to join the Big Issue Street Soccer program, and communities have embraced refugees, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, the homeless, and everyone in between.  The sense of community is strong at each site, and they even run weekly programming in two separate prison populations in Victoria.

    During the last two weeks, Coaches Across Continents has worked with Big Issue Street Soccer in Sydney and Melbourne by visiting their sites, working alongside their coaches, and sharing knowledge.  A training course was held in Sydney that attracted other organizations as well as the Big Issue coaches from Newcastle and Canberra.  In Melbourne, a special course was arranged through the Melbourne City in the Community Foundation, where 20+ groups looking to use sport for social impact were in attendance.

    In every instance, the ability to use a curriculum to create social impact during the games was the strongest impact.  The Big Issue offers opportunities and networking by connecting participants to various social support services and providing valuable information, and the CAC curriculum can now be used to enhance that impact, serving nearly 1,000 individuals across Australia.  Coaches now understand how to reinforce the mentoring lessons that are occurring Off-Field while they are coaching On-Field.

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  • The Future of Women’s Rights in Islam and Zanzibar

    May 12th 2016. MJPT young leader, Fatma Said Ahmed, answers CAC questions about our recent training in Unguja, Zanzibar in partnership with the Ministry of Sport, the Zanzibar Football Association, and Save the Children.

    • How did you get involved with CAC?

    I first heard about Coaches Across Continents from Zanzibar National Sports Council and I got involved with CAC as a volunteer helping translate English to Swahili during the one week training at Unguja, Zanzibar. I was lucky enough to meet the amazing Coaches and learn from them, thanks to Nick and Nora. I also learnt CAC activities through website.

    • Tell us about your work and activism in Zanzibar:

    I work at Stand For Humanity as the Founder and Managing Director. Stand For Humanity is a Non-Profit Organization. The mission is to serve and provide humanitarian actions to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures and to call the stakeholders and other people of good will to do the same. Vision: “Having a youth that is dynamic, active, responsible and committed in the development process”. I have done and organize different activities such as Online Campaigns on Child’s rights and development, joining the joint events (International Women’s Day, International Midwife Day, World Read Aloud Day, Earth Day etc.) and outreach programs.

    I work as a volunteer in youth development organizations. I once started to volunteer at Zanzibar Youth Forum around 2013 and got the chance to join the UNFPA Youth Advisory Panel on communications and host the Facebook closed group of YAP (Youth Advisory Panel). YAP was established to give young people the right to advise UNFPA on issues concerning adolescents and youth. I have take part on relevant issues such as capacity building, advocacy, policy dialogues and outreach.

    I also volunteer at AfriYAN (African Youth and Adolescents Network on Population and Development) as the Secretary General of AfriYAN Tanzania Chapter.

    • What did you learn from the week of training with CAC in Unguja?

    During the week of training with CAC I’ve learned so many things on how sports can bring positive social change such as:-

    Child rights (Freedom of expression, right to information and responsibility to the community)

    Gender equity + Female empowerment (ASK for choice)

    Skills for life – problem solving

    Conflict prevention

    Sports skills

    • What do you think needs to happen in order for women and men/girls and boys to be treated equally in Zanzibar?

    Awareness about gender equality must be raised at schools so that children and young people could be aware that girls and boys/men and women have equal rights that what men can do women can do. Breaking the social and cultural barriers that hinders girl’s empowerment. Also raise awareness to public; show and tell; engage with influential leaders and community members.

    • What are you most excited about for your upcoming week in Dallas?

    I’m so excited about my upcoming week in Dallas; I can’t wait to start my once-in-a-lifetime journey and get to learn from the Olympic Legend Michael Johnson at the performance center.  Learning and sharing ideas, experiences. I also expect to get mentored to become a future leader.

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    Zanzibari women and men design a local women’s rights policy.

  • Football for Conflict Resolution

    Solve your problem; CAC words to live by. The underlying message behind such a simple instruction is that you are looking for an answer; I will not give you one, so find it yourself.

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    Coaches Across Continents works in some of the most conflict-ridden communities in the world. Our Conflict Resolution games work to confront issues in places such as Sierra Leone where many of our participants are amputees as a result of civil war. An integral part of this module is social inclusion as we work to combat discrimination and solve problems in a peaceful, inclusive manner.

    These messages comes to life in many of our games, but they is especially magnified in the Conflict Resolution aspect of our curriculum. In these games more than any others we separate the football for social impact coaches from the football coaches. The best way to explain is with an example. In the game Wilshere for Conflict Resolution there are five cones creating a pentagon. Behind each cone is a line of anywhere from 1 to 4 players but should not be more than 4. The only rule in this game is that players must pass the ball to one line and run to a different line, or in other words, they cannot follow their pass. What usually happens next is a moment of calm, and then many mistakes. Passes will be sloppy, players will take multiple touches before making their mind up, they will forget the only rule, and once they stop doing that, they will pass to the line with only one person in it, meaning it will then become empty. This is what we want.

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    This one rule forces players to think before they make decisions, and the conflict is inevitable. Our goal in this type of game is to provoke that conflict, and then we say, solve your problem! The players will often look first to the coach for answers because so many societies have ingrained that sense of dependency on authority figures such as teachers and coaches – but not here. They look to us, we say solve your problem, and then what? Magic happens. The players strategize, they start communicating – verbally and non-verbally – they get into a rhythm, quality of passing improves, fewer touches are needed, and they are working as a team. To make it more difficult we can add another ball, we can limit touches to 2 or even 1, and we can give them an objective to reach a certain number of passes without a mistake, or to play for one minute without a mistake. If there is a mistake, we ask, who suffers in football if a player gets a red card? The same goes for this game, if one player makes a mistake, we all pay the price.

    At our level in coaching football for social impact these types of games are invaluable.  They enable players to think for themselves and find solutions to their own problems, individually and as a team.  These skills are important for all of us, and this manner of coaching is crucial for coaches to adopt if we want the next generation to be one of free-thinking self-directed learners.  Ultimately these self-directed learners will be able to apply their critical thinking skills to all aspects of their lives.  The local coaches and young players will be able to create solutions to whatever problems exist in their communities, the countries, and the world.  They will not look to outsiders or to the West for solutions, they will look to themselves. When given the opportunity, when given the chance, children will surprise us all – in a game that has one problem, they will find infinite solutions, and in life when faced with important choices, they will make the right ones.

    Extensive Monitoring & Evaluation has given our team some insight into the work we do regarding conflict resolution and social inclusion. Before our program only 19% of participants knew how to use football to teach young people how best to resolve conflict, and afterward, 99% have the skill set to do just that.

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