• Creating Traditions of Woman-Power with Refugees in Jordan

    November 13th 2017. Global Citizen, Ian Phillips, joined us on-field to work with our new ASK for Choice partner, Reclaim Childhood, and their coaches from Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan and Egypt.

    It’s 5am in Amman, Jordan. The first few tentative rays of light are making their way through the night sky. The stillness in the air is broken by the Muslim call to prayer, and the sound echoes across the hilltops, down in to the valleys, and makes its way to my window. The chants are haunting, and beautiful, but did I mention that it’s 5am? The call to prayer rings out from mosque to mosque five times a day and, like the sound that echoes throughout the city, the influence of Islam is pervasive here. It can be heard, seen, and felt in the streets. While this influence manifests itself in many positive ways – such as the kindness, warmth, hospitality and generosity that I witnessed every day, it’s also fair to say that the traditional attitudes many people associate with this part of the world create significant challenges for the women and girls who live here.

    We’re here in Jordan to work with a local NGO called Reclaim Childhood, an organization that uses sport to empower and educate girls. Often, the practices and leagues set up by Reclaim Childhood represent the only opportunity these girls have to leave their house in order to play, exercise, express themselves, and learn important lessons in a safe space. Their all-female staff and coaches are courageous, intelligent, empathetic, compassionate – and inspirational. The highlight of the week was having the opportunity to visit the coaches in action – and seeing a field full of smiling, happy, vibrant young girls. This, more than anything, shows that the efforts of Reclaim Childhood’s brave coaches are worthwhile, and that their programs are having a positive impact.

    The week of training in Amman was an amazing experience. The CAC coaches and myself were able to work with a group of people who are passionate, thoughtful, and genuinely dedicated to creating positive change in their respective communities. I’m grateful for the chance to get On-Field with CAC, and to meet some of the local partners who make this work so worthwhile.

  • 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?

  • Albania: Land of the Free, Home of the Beautiful

    September 20th 2016. Nora Dooley writes about our second year On-Field with The Door Albania.

    I once read that “freedom” and “civilization” can cultivate a reality where the desire for foolproof living destroys spontaneity – and, perhaps, freedom itself.

    What does that mean?

    I’m in Shkodër, Albania. I’ve just had this magnetic week learning and sharing with a group of mostly young Albanian leaders with a few oldies but goodies sprinkled in. It’s my last night and they want to show me some of the places they like to visit around town. We park, walk up a hill and through a gate that had the appearance of being locked – perhaps to keep out the riff-raff – but my Albanian companions assured me (and my US safety training) all was well. We reach our destination.

    I’m walking through an old mansion that would never lawfully exist in the States unless it was a construction site. It could have been a victim of an earthquake with more rubble-crunching steps than not. But it’s obvious this was once a home for royalty – most obvious when you look beyond the bruised walls over the inferior heights of “inferior” homes across Lake Skadar. I, with my dark soul, find beauty in the destruction of this once royal palace – historically, ironically, sure. But really because one cannot find something so honestly ruined in most “liberated” communities unless it’s been dubbed a – capital R – Ruin. And of course it is then swiftly “protected” by rules (we must keep out the riff-raff).

    One of the main societal issues expressed to me by these participants in Shkodër is the lack of opportunities to “succeed” in the current national reality. Many citizens pursue work and higher education outside the country lines. I – the weird foreigner – look around at the beauty, listen to the ideas of this passionate group, and have difficulty understanding.

    It seems there is infinite opportunity if only the ‘powers that be’ valued different tasks (expand to: everywhere).

    But if this society valued the task of “cleaning” the rubble palace – would it lose its dark, imagination-capturing beauty? Would it attempt to safeguard it against all risk yielding yet another example of spontaneity’s death?

    Wherever these questions lead – in this moment, at this eerily beautiful structure, after this inspiring week with our Albanian partner that seeks to tap the well of potential in the country’s youth, I felt free. Whatever that means.

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  • CAC’s 2015: A Year In Review!

    April 26th 2016. Coaches Across Continents is delighted to present our Annual Review 2015! This incredible document, developed with the Taiji Brand Group, brings our record-breaking 2015 to life. It details the highlights of our year from developing our ASK for Choice curriculum as a Clinton Global Initiative member to the inspirational work of our partners on key global days such as Peace Day. The review provides more information on some of our community partnerships which address topics such as disaster recovery in Nepal, refugees in Uganda and child rights in Brazil.

    This year we are giving twenty lucky CAC supporters the chance to win an ultra-durable One World Futbol. All you have to do is read the Annual Review and complete this simple questionnaire (Hint: if you don’t know the answers you can find them in our Annual Review 2015!). Anyone who answers the questions correctly will be entered into the draw to win!

    Once again here is the Annual Review 2015.

    And click here for the form and a chance to win a One World Futbol.

    We want to thank each and everyone of you for your ongoing support of Coaches Across Continents. We hope you enjoy reading this review as much as we enjoyed doing the work!

    Malaika. Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo

  • Kampala: Intercultural Understanding

    April 15, 2014. In our 2nd week in Uganda Nora and I [Markus] faced totally different circumstances than in Mbarara, on-field and off-field. We arrived in Kampala on Sunday afternoon and got accommodated in a hotel right next to the US embassy, so we felt safe 🙂 The hotel was simple, but very nice. After one week without running water and a “western” toilet the shower we both took immediately after we arrived felt like a Christmas gift.P1030270

    In Kampala we cooperate with “Soccer Without Borders” (SWB), an organization that is serving and educating the refugees who live in Kampala and come from all different countries surrounding Uganda. Uganda functions very much like a melting pot for all the people who try to start a new life far away from their war torn home countries. So we worked with coaches from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda and faced a multicultural setting on the field. Due to these circumstances we needed to translate our games always into a French-Swahili mixture to make them understandable to everybody. But differences in ethnicity don’t cause social exclusion. We experienced a very inclusive atmosphere where people are practicing intercultural understanding day by day.

    The coaches responded very well to the Skills for Life games and were excited to practice Ronaldo, Marta and Balotelli skills every day. These activities improve the football skills of the players as well as encourage them to concentrate, communicate and raise awareness for their surroundings. During our sessions we worked also on HIV/AIDS awareness and played “Condom tag”. It’s a simple tag game where the player with the cone represents the HIV-Virus and everybody he/she tags is “infected” with HIV. During the game the rules get adapted and some players represent condoms where the others can rescue themselves from the taggers by standing next to them. That is one of our games that help to start a conversation about good decisions that help us to stay healthy and protect ourselves from getting HIV. After we played some HIV/AIDS education games the participants mentioned the importance of this topic and we had a very fruitful conversation.

    P1030282I coached this week for the first time 95% football. It went very well and the coaches understood my explanation very quickly. This game doesn’t need a ball. The ball is represented by the player who has his/her hand on their head. The ball can be passed on by shouting the name of a teammate and removing the hand off the head. The other player puts his hand on the head and can score by running through the goal. The ball can be taken away from the possessing team by tagging the player with the ball. The coaches enjoyed this game very much and I was impressed by the fairness of the two teams. Usually the rules have to be adapted, because one or both teams are either positioning their strikers or defenders rights in front of the goal line which makes scoring impossible. Not so much with these teams. 95% football is a brilliant tool to make the players understand that football is 95% smart thinking, quick decision making and constant readiness and only 5% skill on the ball.

    On Thursday we had our Child Protection Policy session which caused some very good discussions about different forms of child abuse that are present in this community. For us this time of the week is very important, because children are suffering abuse from their coaches all over the world and children are the most vulnerable members of our society. The awareness of the coaches about the importance of protecting the children rights impressed us. We spoke about one case in particular where one coach asked if it is the girls fault when she got raped after she was dressed up in a mini skirt and sitting with opened legs. In the following discussions we pointed out in the group very clearly that it is never the girl’s fault and that it is the duty of us adults to educate our youth about potential risks and consequences of our behavior.P1030337

    Friday is usually our coach back day. We didn’t have one last week in Mbarara, because we only had four days due to weather. So it was my first time experiencing how coaches that we worked with for a week adapt and teach CAC games. At the same time it gives us coaches the opportunity to slip into the role of a participant. We get the coaches together in groups of two or three and started with a very creative adaption of “Circle of friends”. We experienced some very advanced versions of Skills for Life games as well as a brilliant adaption of “Adebayor Makes Good Choices”. We hope that all the coaches keep up their good work and be as creative in their daily work as they have been when they were adapting CAC games. We thank SWB for their wonderful hospitality and cooperation and wish them all the best for their future work that their devoted service may help many refugees in Nsambya to find hope and develop their future in a foreign country far away from home.

     

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