• This is Sierra Leone!

    May 31st 2017. CAC’s Jordan Stephenson wrote about his experience in Freetown, Sierra Leone working with our fantastic partner Street Soccer Foundation, Sierra Leone.

    The first thing you notice when arriving in Sierra Leone is that it is an adventurous nation! From walking off the plane and getting hit with a wall of heat – you know you’ve landed in the right place! The great thing about arriving in Freetown is that you need to take 3 modes of transport to get there: once arriving at the airport you take a short bus journey to the beach and from there you get on a boat which travels for 30 minutes across the ocean into Freetown! Being a Newcastle United supporter, when arriving at the hotel I immediate was caught up in a debate about who Rafa Benitez should be bringing in next season following our promotion to the Premier League, from then I knew this was a nation of sport lovers! Therefore it seems like an appropriate place to be doing our line of work…

    The training consisted of 100 community coaches and Physical Education teachers from all across the country who’s passion and love of sport exemplified the spirit of the nation. We were lucky enough to have the training in the National Football Stadium, and although the pitch wasn’t what you’d expect to be an international venue to be like, it provided a wonderful amphitheater for the weeks training.

    Mr Abu Johnson, CEO of Street Soccer Foundation highlighted that “this is the first time that the people of Sierra Leone are having training on a national level to cultivate the energy of change agents to create long term sustainable change through sport”. I certainly felt like it was very important to the nation as we were greeted with journalists from TV and radio who wanted to know what we were trying to achieve and how we’re trying to achieve it – that even meant sitting watching myself on TV and on the radio!

    The training itself was a huge success as we explored the ways that the communities in Sierra Leone can embrace sport as an essential vehicle to achieve strong development goals, with an important aspect being one of including community elders and village chiefs within discussions and programs, especially so they can see the value of education through sport as that is something they never experienced growing up.

    A stand out memory for me was a discussion about the number of children people had across Sierra Leone and the impact that has on communities. It was said that in urban communities, like Freetown, it is more beneficial to have less children as it costs more to feed children and it becomes harder for families to send their children to school due to tuition fees; whereas in remote parts of the community, children are seen as assets to the family as they can be used as labor to harvest food, farming and for street traders in order to bring in more income to the family, at the expense of a quality education.

    Looking forward at the three year partnership we have with Street Soccer Foundation, it is very exciting to see how the 100 participants are continuing to be supported and that more community legacies can be created through sport. Street Soccer Foundation are working tirelessly to continue to engage stakeholders such as Sierra Leone Football Association, Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Education in order to have a country wide effort to tackling social change through sport.

    And to all of the people of the peaceful nation of Sierra Leone.. Thank you!

  • The Half Year in Review

    June 11, 2014. The FIFA Men’s World Cup is upon us and Coaches Across Continents has teams of coaches working with local partners in Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and starting shortly in four locations in Brazil. Even with all this activity founder Nick Gates also has found time to speak tomorrow morning for 25 minutes on Sirius radio on the Wharton Business network, channel 111 (Thursday, June 12th, 8:00 AM EST).

    With the world focused on the showcase event of the world’s greatest game, it seems like an opportune time to reflect on the real power of sport and how Coaches Across Continents is using football to create self-directed learners all over the world to educate about conflict resolution including social inclusion, female empowerment including gender equity; health & wellness including HIV/AIDS behavioral change, and life skills.

    One of the biggest stories of the year is our partnership with Chevrolet FC and Manchester United and their “What Do You #PlayFor?” campaign. This will be a two-year, ten-program, multi-country initiative that sees revitalized football pitches and sport for social impact education for local organizations all over the world. The first two “What Do You #PlayFor?” programs of the year were fantastic. Videos have been released detailing the work of Rumah Cemara (Indonesia) and their use of soccer to combat stigma against HIV/AIDS. In total these videos have garnered over 7.3 million views! Within the next month another set of videos will be released regarding our latest training in this campaign with fellow former Beyond Sport Winner Beyond the Ball in Little Village, Chicago, USA.

    This year has also seen our coaches on the ground with our Hat Trick Initiative partners in Haiti, Colombia, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Indonesia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and the USA. Overall CAC is projecting that we will conclude 2014 having worked on field with our partners in 28 countries with an estimated 75 local organizations using sport for social impact. This will educate over 3,000 local leaders who will further impact 250,000 children. Even when CAC is not on the ground with our partners we are thrilled to see their progress and work with them through on-line resources. Recently our curriculum was adopted in schools in Nepal and Tanzania. On March 8th, our female empowerment games were played by our partner programs for International Women’s Day. CAC has also signed on with Peace One Day for their One Day One Goal initiative when our games will be played by organizations in over 130 countries on Peace Day, September 21st. The final global day that we support with our global network will be World AIDS Day on December 1st.

    Off field in 2014 Coaches Across Continents has spoken at top events including the Next Step Conference in India, the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia, Reach Out to Asia’s “Empower” Conference in Qatar, and the Hofstra Soccer Conference in New York where our Chief Executive Strategist, Brian Suskiewicz, had the great privilege of speaking with Pelé.

    Furthermore CAC is one of six organizations selected by UNICEF to develop a global child rights policy concerning children in sport. We are proud that in 2014 every participant of our coaching courses has had a practical and locally relevant Child Rights education session. Off field has also seen the launch of a new website, new branding and logos with the phenomenal work of the Taiji Group, and a more focused mission towards creating self-directed learners over the course of our Hat Trick Initiative.

    It is for all these reasons that Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in sport for social impact. Coaches Across Continents will continue to push forward as the global leader in sport for social impact as we continue our mission of enabling communities to create lasting social change through sport. As we move forward, we are working towards our vision of realizing the day when all governments, municipalities, schools and communities have the skills to use sport as a social impact tool and make the choice to do so.

    If you or your organization want to get involved or support Coaches Across Continents, please contact us at or find the information you are looking for on our new-look website, built by the Taiji Group!

     

    Pelé gets a chance to meet Coaches Across Continents Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz. (photo credit Zack Lane, Hofstra University)

    Pelé gets a chance to meet Coaches Across Continents Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz. (photo credit Zack Lane, Hofstra University)

    Coaches Across Continents Communications Strategist Nora Dooley makes a friend in Haiti

    Coaches Across Continents Communications Strategist Nora Dooley makes a friend in Haiti

    Ginan (center) is the star of the new Chevrolet FC video highlighting the partnership with Coaches Across Continents

    Ginan (center) is the star of the new Chevrolet FC video highlighting the partnership with Coaches Across Continents

     

  • Second Week in Freetown

    March 27, 2014. We are just about to wrap up our last session with the coaches in Sierra Leone. This second week has been incredible. You can tell that the coaches have really formed a bond with one another. For instance, the way they interact and goof off yet listen and respect one another during discussions is indicative of a certain level of comfort. I would almost go as far as to say we have formed our own futbol family.P1080670

    Having that extra week has served as an advantage, for we were able to devote a lot of time for the coaches to invent their own games with a social message and then coach it back to the entire group. The coaches did a wonderful job of creating discussions around their social messages and really focused on issues that affect their communities specifically, such as Malaria and HIV awareness.

    Another highlight of having a second week to coach is that we were able to make time for 2 scrimmages; the first, local Freetown coaches vs out-of-area coaches and the second, all of the coaches vs a local deaf team. The coaches have been anticipating both of these scrimmages since the first day of training. Everyone enjoyed playing against one another and for me it was nice to finally play with the coaches. At some point you have to pull a ‘Ronaldo 1’ on a coach in the real game to show them you practice what you preach.

    In all seriousness, I have enjoyed getting to know these coaches. They have been a great group to work with. They greet us with a smile every morning and come with enthusiasm for learning new games. I could not have asked for a better audience on my first coaching trip with CAC. While I do enjoy posing for a hundred pictures a session, our last day is upon us and it is time to say goodbye. I am sad that our time here is coming to an end, but I feel satisfied that we have made a significant impact in the coaching community here in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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  • Allea Allea Comes To Sierra Leone

    IMG_1743March 24, 2014. It has been just over a week since we first arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone. In one week we have accomplished so much. Every session we average 30-40 coaches who attend and/or participate in our training sessions. The coaches come from near and far in order to participate and they represent teams of polio, amputee, deaf, blind and female players. The coaches greet us every morning with smiling faces and really embrace the different skills and social messages that we teach. They also actively participate in our daily discussions and have helped us identify social messages that are important in their own communities.

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    Off the pitch, we have had the opportunity to explore the city with the assistance of our gracious and very welcoming hosts, Greatest Goal Ministries. We have had the opportunity to visit the beach, go to a Chimpanzee Sanctuary, tour the slums, and view the city from the tops of the rolling hills. After our training sessions we have also had the opportunity to observe a few of the coaches at their own practice sessions with their players.

    We have witnessed first hand the transcendence of our games at these practices with children from 6 to 16 years old and both male and female teams.  The children seem to really enjoy the games as the coaches have done a great job of adapting the games to fit their coaching styles. When we visit the coaches, most of the community comes out to the sessions and all the children call out to us “Allea Allea”, which means white person. Both Sophie and I have grown accustomed to this greeting and return the calls with waves and smiles.

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