• Addressing UNSDG 4 in Sonora

    Over the next three weeks the CAC team is back in Sonora, Mexico working with PE teachers from across the state to design and deliver Purposeful Play curriculum and Self-Directed Learning teaching methodology to address UNSDG 4: Quality Education.

    In the past 4 years the partnership between Coaches Across Continents and Sonora Ministry of Education has provided opportunities for life-long learning and professional development to 500 PE teachers across Sonora state, Mexico, centered on equitable, quality education through sport. Now the Secretary has asked for us to continue consulting for the schools of Sonora, with the goal of reaching all school districts in the state (2,500+ schools and 600,000+ youth). Over 70% of teachers trained by CAC apply the curricula in their classes every week, and over 97% of respondents said they have learned useful tools to complement the objectives of their classes

    How do we address UNSDG4: Quality Education in this partnership?

    Global Goal Target 4.5: Eliminate gender disparities in education.
    – 100% of these Sonoran educators agree that they are better prepared to create equal opportunities for girls and boys.
    Global Goal Target 4A: Education facilities are child, disability and gender sensitive; learning
    environments are safe, nonviolent, inclusive.
    – Over 95% of teacher respondents now find ways to include students with physical and intellectual disabilities in their class.
    Global Goal Target 4.7: Learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable
    development.
    – Over 87% of respondents feel that because of CAC they can support their students in gaining skills
    needed to promote sustainable development. The top reasons cited are: we can create consciousness
    easily, the tools are extremely versatile, and the content is relevant.

    Quotes from Sonora teachers

    “ Following the CAC training I do not push troubled students aside if they are acting out. We do not always know their story and it is our role as educators to make them feel welcomed and safe in the environment we create.” – Raúl Arvizu Ríos
    “Thanks to CAC I have created a game about a real issue for my students, the changes in US border laws under President Trump, in order to teach them their rights but also to discuss what it means to respect people who are different from you.” – Javier Salas Fierro
    “I have seen the children change, for they have the highest self-esteem. Now they look for me if they
    have any problems like violence within the family. They trust me and we are solving problems.” – Laura
    Elena Olivia Gaxiola
    “CAC’s curriculum allows me to address difficult issues in my class because the students can play a role
    on the field that they cannot play in real life. It allows them to put themselves in each other’s shoes and
    be respectful with each other.”- Veronica Rodríguez

  • Fun: is it fun-damental to ‘Education Outside the Classroom’?

    Guest Blog- Sarah Huxley, PhD research student with the Open University.

    ‘Fun’ is a tricky, illusive and bouncy concept. Is it a sensation? Is it something you can create, or something that creates you? What places enable ‘having fun’? Is writing about fun, fun? Welcome to my world.

    I am a PhD research student with the interdisciplinary research centre of RUMPUS at the Open University, and these are the types of thoughts that fill my head. We have recently started a collaboration with Coaches Across Continents (CAC) to explore, experience and understand what ‘fun’ means and does (its roles) in the context of CAC’s educational initiatives. I’ll be researching fun as a partially embedded researcher: this means participating in their staff skype meetings, running around ‘on field’ (probably out of breath) during their educational sessions; in order to experience if and how opportunities for fun arise. The research endeavour will by its very nature be a process of co-creation.

    In particular, I’ll be looking and reflecting upon fun in the context of CAC’s active ‘Self Directed Learning’ approach – an approach embedded in ‘education outside the classroom’ and ‘purposeful play’. ‘Self-Directed learning’ was described to me by one staff member as “honouring that the individual – who is developing – who is learning in this world, is the expert of their experience.” According to interviews and organisational documents, Self-Directed Learning is a question-based methodology that offers an alternative to didactic classroom-based practices of learning. But more than this, it also confronts what ‘knowledge’ and ‘development’ (personal or social) intrinsically can be. CAC continually ask participants/players to think of these concepts in terms of diversity; challenging the assumptions and biases they bring to their communities and vice versa; and that we are all learners in motion, constantly being re shaped by the world around us, as well as if we choose, doing the reshaping.

    Play and fun in CAC’s world are often used interchangeably and integral to its educational enterprise. At this stage in the research process, all I can say is that CAC’s view of ‘Purposeful Play’ is provocative and builds on values of choice. For example, one staff member in seeking to explain what Purposeful Play means, used the analogy of a Scandinavian playground he had heard of, whereby all the objects can be freely moved by players. In doing so, the “freedom of movement in that type of playground [provides] a world that pushes back at your learning, and you are not being confined by this pre-determined idea of this is how the slide is going to be…you get to play around. I don’t have to do any of the things that someone else has already done. From that the idea that play becomes more purpose driven: the play is more expressive of you as an individual, whereas it may be in a more traditional playground that you are not expressing yourself. You are just going up the slide, going across the monkey bars and repeat. Play with that bit of purpose is what points in a more positive direction.” This analogy suggests that CAC’s ‘on-field’ sessions are in a way a playground for all ages. There is a lot more teasing out to be done of the relationship and attributes that are ascribed to play and fun, but for now, there is plenty to slip and slide through.

    For CAC, fun and play are a fundamental aspect of a progressive learning experience. This research will examine this claim. Firstly, by exploring the meanings of fun for different coaches (educators, mentors, youth leaders) in different cultures and contexts, and then secondly by turning to look at purposes (what does fun do/enable?) and why.

    By the way, did I mention I have never played football?

    If you are interested to learn more about the research as it progresses, or indeed have some reflections or provocations of your own, please do reach out: or @AidHoover.

  • Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights in Tanzania

    December 2019.  In January 2019 CAC and Pathfinder International launched a partnership. The partnership aimed to deliver a pilot program in Tanzania to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights using CAC’s global expertise in play-based education and Pathfinder‘s global family planning expertise, as well as both organizations’ strong existing networks across the country. With Pathfinder support CAC designed curriculum around four locally-relevant modules: Knowledge of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Healthy Household Environment, Community Responsibility and Environmental Conservation.

    In June 2019 22 leaders from 10 communities across Tanzania learned CAC’s Purposeful Play Methodology and Curriculum to achieve key global and local impacts identified by CAC and Pathfinder. Representing 31 different schools, organizations, and local initiatives, these leaders impact upwards of 85,000 young people throughout Tanzania. After the training in Zanzibar there was an 82% increase in knowledge about sexual health topics such as sexually transmitted infections; a 1.68 average increase in confidence rating in using sport/play to advance women’s rights and gender equality; and a 1.32 average increase in confidence to facilitate dialogue around key sexual health issues.

    After 6 months of implementation CAC leaders and CAC/Pathfinder project staff, Nicholaus Achimpota and Fatma Said Ahmed, traveled across Tanzania during October and November, 2019 to visit, support and evaluate all active project leaders. They found that:

    • Across Tanzania this project is directly impacting more than 5,000 adolescent girls, more than 3,000 boys, and more than 1,500 adults. These 1,500 adults have a further impact of nearly 85,000 people.
    • After 6 months of implementation: 92% (compared to 27% at project start) of participating adolescents are confident that they could get their partner(s) to use contraceptives if they desired.
    • And 97% (compared to 17% at project start) of participating adolescents believe they can seek sexual and reproductive health information and services if they needed them.

    CAC has recruited an incredible team to return to Zanzibar in early December 2019 to record the impact of this project through the camera lens. As part of our film team we have professional women’s football players, key leaders from Pathfinder International, published authors, the founder of CAC and of course the amazing Tanzanian leaders using this curriculum every day in their communities.

  • A Week of Reflection and Growth for Green Kenya

    Most of the time when one hears about On-Field training, they picture running around the football pitch with a ball. However, during Green-Kenya’s week of On-Field training with Coaches Across Continents, our games focused less on the physical aspect of the sport and more on addressing different social issues, questioning harmful practices in the community, teaching Self-Directed Learning methodology, and encouraging critical thinking with the participants. With this in mind, we focused on child rights as well as the UNSDG#4: Quality Education during our week On-Field with CAC. At Green Kenya, we strongly believe in participatory education. By exposing children to open discussion and encouraging their input, we can teach them that their opinions are important.

    Our first on-field training with CAC provided us at Green-Kenya with a bird’s eye view of our program. We gained valuable learning experiences, from working with youth leaders, to networking with other coaches, to handling unforeseen situations.This year will mark the 5th year since Green-Kenya was founded specifically to implement CAC Curriculum in Nairobi (especially addressing UNSDG13: Climate Action) and the experience that we have gained from the training is very important in the next phase of the organization. Aside from the lessons learned in on-field training, the Green-Kenya team had valuable discussions with Jamie to reflect on the last 4 years since G-K was founded – what worked well, what did not work, and what can be done to improve the delivery of our sessions to meet the needs of our participants. I am confident that the on-field games and off-field reflection with CAC will enhance Green-Kenya’s ability to help youth discover and develop their potential by teaching them to set goals and make effective decisions.

  • Global Leaders in Child Protection

    April 3, 2018. Children’s Rights are of paramount importance to Coaches Across Continents.   One of the pillars of our organization is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. But it is one thing to say that the protection of children is important, and another entirely to actively create policies and implement practices which change communities and cultures in the 50+ countries where we operate. But this is exactly what we are doing. Over 10,400 coaches have signed Child Protection policies because of their participation in CAC On-Field programming.  Our partnership work around the world includes addressing and changing some of the most difficult issues pertaining to child rights and protection, including trafficked children, child soldiers, FGM, restrictive and harmful cultural and religious practice, legal corporal punishment in schools, street children, and more.

    Today we are proud to announce the publication of a new document to further progress Child Protection policies and thinking, entitled “Peace and Child Rights.”  This document continues to frame our Child Protection policy creation and community development on two main fronts:

    1. The understanding that Child Protection is not just as an elimination of abuse, but also the creation of what children should experience in a healthy and happy childhood, namely physically and emotionally safe spaces where they are encouraged in their successes and allowed to constructively learn from their failures as they engage in our SDL environment.
    2. That the relationship between a teacher/coach needs to exist and be a healthy one that allows for a mentorship of children from adolescence into adulthood.

    Coaches Across Continents is already implementing these parameters with all our partner programs globally. Before working with CAC, only 18% of local coaches had received child protection training.  Now over 10,400 coaches at 100% of our programs have gone through Child Protection Training.

    This new publication initiative goes hand in hand with our ongoing work with UNICEF, where we are on three working groups including:

    1. Advocacy and communications on policy and practice;
    2. Quality assurance and access to training and support; and
    3. Research, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning and improvement of resources.

    These active workgroups continue to drive global policy in Child Rights and Protection policies, and came about from our work together as a Pioneering Member of UNICEF’s International Safeguards for Children in Sport.

    CAC also uses our curriculum to educate children and coaches about the rights guaranteed by the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child.  Since it’s inception in 2015, our Child Rights curriculum has been used at 88% of our On-Field Programs.

    Coaches Across Continents will continue to be the global leader in Child Protection.  We are already working on ways to continue to eliminate all violence against children (sexual, physical, emotional, and verbal abuse) and to create partnerships and communities which focus on Child Rights advocacy, creating safe spaces, and building healthy mentoring relationships.

    #WhatsYourLegacy?

  • One Jaspreet, One Journey

    December 5th 2017. Community Impact Coach Jaspreet Kaur from YFC Rurka Kalan writes about working with CAC during our partnership with Naz Foundation in Bengaluru.

    My name is Jaspreet Kaur. I have done a post graduation course in my own language Punjabi from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar, Punjab, India. In the last 4 years I have worked with Youth Football Club Rurka Kalan. My job is Training and Monitoring officer, this means I look after the Sports for Development sessions at twenty Government Primary schools near Rurka Kalan, sessions taught by our own Youth Mentors who I have helped train.

    This past week was my first time visiting Bengaluru. I was very happy to have this opportunity and I want say thank you so much to CAC. YFC Rurka Kalan has been working with CAC for five years now and I have got a chance to participate as a CIC in this training with the Naz Foundation. I want to share my experience with you regarding five days training of CAC with The Naz Foundation which was held at Don Bosco Mission Skills Institute at Bengaluru.

    The participants came from different cities such as Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Madurai and Bengaluru.

    The five day workshop was based on Leadership, Menstruation, HIV, Conflict Prevention and Gender Equity.

    In the first day some of girls and boys did not speak too much, but slowly slowly their voices got stronger during training. Some of them gave presentations and spoke in front of their other coaches for the first time which was so good to see.

    Naz Foundation is built around coaching Netball which means I learned all new skills for this sport this week. We even made some netball skills called  “Thilaga 1, 2, &3”.  Because the coaches were so experienced, they ended up creating games regarding Menstruation because it is a serious issue that is often overlooked because of taboos. I look forward to going back home and conducting sessions using these games with girls and youth mentors who are working in schools.

    The food of Bengaluru is good. Things I have tasted for the first time include edaly, vadda and Masala Dosa. I have also learned about new apps “Ola and Uber” which helped me get from Bengaluru Airport to Baanarghtta (Don Bosco). 

    It was a great experience for me to learn and share skills with junior coaches, senior coaches and project coordinators. Moreover, I have solved challenges regarding Monitoring evaluation with Charlie and am looking forward to returning to YFC with new skills!