• Diversity Enhances Growth

    September 30th 2016. CAC recently ran a short program in Durban, South Africa with two local organizations.

    South Africa is a diverse country, starting from the landscape and its vegetation to the people and their different cultures and languages up to the various social issues that people face in their respective living environment. Since I have lived and volunteered in Durban between 2012 and 2014 I have been coming back to stay in touch with people that I have met during that time. After working with CAC for 2.5 years I was very lucky to get linked up recently with two organizations called iThemba Lethu (which is isiZulu and means “I have a destiny”) and The Domino Foundation who were excited to run a short 2-day program with us.

    Whenever I run a CAC program I am always amazed by the diversity of the group. Each group contains different characters: you have the funny person that is joking and making silly comments, other participants are listening carefully and engaging in discussions, others engage with the games, but rather keep quiet during the discussion and others don’t say much, but I can see in their face that they are taking in everything that is going on and that has been said. These are just a few examples of the many different characters that make up these wonderful groups that I am privileged to work with. We all learn differently and therefore it is so important to allow everyone to engage with the content in its own way. I love diversity and so I was very happy to welcome 16 individuals who were eager to learn about Sport for Social Impact. And they confirmed my past experience by engaging with the content of the program in their own individual way. They were very experienced facilitators who already work with children and youth to educate them on Life Skills, HIV/AIDS prevention, nutrition, entrepreneurship and much more.

    During the 2‑day program we explored many different topics that can be addressed through sport: Skills for Life, Health & Wellness, HIV/AIDS Prevention, Female Empowerment and more. The game that was most popular was “95% Football”; a game that created a lot of conflict which then led to discussions and negotiations amongst the participants. The rules of the game are pretty simple. The player with his/her hand on the head possesses the ball. The opposing team can gain the ball by tagging the person that has the ball. A team scores when a player runs with his/her hand on the head into the goal. Each team needs to come up with a strategy on how they want to pass the ball to each other. The group loved this game. As we played the game we faced different challenges: Sometimes the teams were confused, because nobody knew where the ball was or there were multiple balls in the game; another time somebody cheated which caused protest from the opposing team; then somebody didn’t pay attention when he/she was called by a teammate to receive the ball; sometimes players lost the ball, because they didn’t pass quickly enough which then tested the loyalty of their teammates. Despite these challenges and conflicts everybody was smiling while playing and everybody was excited when he/she had the ball running forward trying to score.

    When the participants came back on the 2nd day they asked if we can play the same game again, but because I love diversity I decided to show them more games from our curriculum instead of repeating a game from the first day. The introduction into Sport for Social Impact was successful and CAC looks forward to developing a long-term partnership with iThemba Lethu and The Domino Foundation.

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  • Next Stop: South Africa – CAC and Chevrolet Take 3

    September 25th, 2014. Fresh off the plane from Cambodia, CAC Founder Nick Gates and Senior Staff member Nora Dooley returned to South Africa for our third program in partnership with Chevrolet. The first two took place earlier this year in Bandung, Indonesia, and Chicago, USA, whereas this one was run in a community called Hammanskraal, north of the capital city, Pretoria.

    For the first four days of this Chevrolet FC training our team worked in tandem with the South African Football Association (SAFA) who led a D-License course for the 37 ESSP (Extra Support Sport Program) leaders from 17 schools around the Hammanskraal area. This was an introductory level course into coaching football and had a particular focus on life skills. Naturally CAC took the reigns when it came to the On-Field instruction, training these leaders in how to use sport to educate children on important social issues and to develop crucial life skills.

    For the following five days our staff went deeper with the ESSP teachers and taught them a total of 47 games that they can use with their students. We worked through many different modules of our social impact curriculum including games from our standard Skills for Life, Conflict Resolution, Health & Wellness, and Gender Equity themes as well as those about Financial Literacy, Female Empowerment, and HIV behavior change.

    One game that had a particularly positive impact was renamed Hammanskraal Social Squares to best suit the needs of the group. In this game we divided the group into four teams and had them each stand in one square marked out at each corner of a larger square. We asked each group to think of the most challenging problem facing their community and they came up with poverty, unemployment, corruption, and teenage pregnancy. Then we played the game. When we shouted two of those words, the two teams representing those words had to switch places as fast as possible. Once they got the hang of the rules, we added more challenges such as a ball that every player had to touch before the team arrived at the new square. Then we asked the groups to come up with a new word. This time they had to think of one word that could be a solution to the problem they already thought of. The groups came up with job creation, education, new leadership, and good choices. To make the game more challenging we adjusted the rules so that the squares represented the solutions and the teams had to remember what each square signified. This was a great game for us to play early on in the training in order to start the important conversations about social issues in the community and beyond. The game led to some great discussions on topics such as education and how to beat corruption.

    On the final day of the training the coaches organized a festival for local students in order to complete their SAFA D-License. Without any instruction from our team on what games to play with the children, the coaches chose all CAC games and absolutely blew us away with the success of the day. After the festival players were telling us what they learned from the ESSP coaches and brought up lessons like how to avoid peer pressure, the importance of education, gender equality, and solving problems without violence. We were beyond impressed. The transformation that these 37 coaches – 22 women and 15 men – went through over the course of the 10 days was phenomenal.

    The final day of the program was the big event where everyone came together at one of the local schools for the big Chevrolet tournament. Manchester United legend Gary Bailey, a native of South Africa, joined the team as well as an all-star crew from our partners at One World Futbol Project (OWFP). The OWFP Founders revealed the donation of the 1,000,000th football in a very special ceremony. The day was a huge success with 17 girls teams from all the schools where our newly trained ESSP Social Impact coaches teach. They competed in small-sided games and the players who demonstrated the most positive attitudes and best sportsmanship were awarded with the opportunity to play in a final match with 2 players from every team.

    As the theme for the training was centered on Female Empowerment, this was an incredible way to end the program with so many girls enjoying the beautiful game and their 37 coaches (22 being women) supporting them through it all. We were also honored by the presence of a team of grandmothers called Rekone Gogos FC who train 6 days a week at a nearby field, coached by 2 of the male ESSP coaches. They were the best fans of all and added an extra layer of excitement to an already empowered program.

    Stay tuned to see what’s next for our partnership with Chevrolet and Manchester United.

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  • Measuring the Immeasurable: Social Impact

    September 1st, 2014. Coaches Across Continents’ unique WISER monitoring and evaluation (M&E) provides a detailed picture of what is happening on the ground. Not only does our M&E measure the outcomes of our On-Field programs, it also gives us valuable insights into the impact CAC is having year-round in local communities across the globe. Accounting for the successes and challenges unique to each partner program allows us to continuously improve the quality of our programs and systems.

    Our team has just finished a half-year review of our On-Field programs. In 2014, CAC has piloted many initiatives, including training in M&E and child protection and our finalized Hat-Trick curriculum. Here is what our monitoring and evaluation is telling us.

    So far, CAC has conducted 42 trainings for 38 implementing partner programs in 2014, reaching 1,859 coaches who will in turn impact 132,375 youth in their respective communities.

    CAC strives to build strong, collaborative partnerships to achieve sustainability by creating local networks of football for social impact leaders around the world. As a result, the number of local member partners CAC works with has considerably increased: since the beginning of 2014, CAC has empowered 685 community partners, five times more than in 2013. Our programs connect like-minded educators who can serve as a resource to one another: local coaches in Zimbabwe created a Facebook group to keep in touch, coaches in Tanzania planned weekly meetings, and a committee was set up in Zambia to oversee the implementation of CAC’s 24-week curriculum.

    In addition to developing a football resource packet for Peace One Day to be played in over 130 countries leading up to September 21st, CAC launched its improved Hat-Trick curriculum in January, based on our ‘Chance to Choice’ philosophy. The curriculum is composed of more than 180 games, including a new child rights module bringing to life the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child. The curriculum allows for even more flexibility to fit the distinctive social needs of each community. In total, more than 120 different games, linked to 36 different role models, have been played in 2014.

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    CAC is particularly successful in training local coaches and organizations in using football for social impact. For instance, 97% of all local coaches now know a football game to teach children to find creative solutions to their problems instead of asking for the answer, compared to 24% prior to 2014.

    Health and Wellness is an important component of our curriculum. This includes many HIV behavior change games,and 95% of local coaches trained know a football game to teach children about how to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases, compared to only 31% of coaches who had never attended a CAC training. Returning coaches have noticed an improvement in their players’ overall health and their awareness of the importance of taking care of their bodies following the implementation of CAC games throughout the year.

    CAC places an important emphasis on female empowerment and female participation in sports. Out of the 36 role models used On-Field, 25 were female, giving more than 90% of local coaches the tools to teach children about powerful female role models. Games directly addressing female empowerment and women’s roles in society have lead to numerous discussions around the world about the root causes of inequality, traditional roles of women and men, ways of integrating women and girls in the community, or the importance of female participation in sports. This has led to increased female participation, with 70% of local coaches planning on integrating girls in their teams, double the amount at the beginning of the year. Brazil clubs have expressed their desire to add girls to their trainings, and other groups have created girls specific afterschool groups, teams, and leagues. In Zanzibar participants brainstormed five solutions they could implement to give more power to women in their community after playing one of CAC’s gender equity games.

    A few impacts of our conflict resolution and social inclusion games include local coaches engaging in discussions concerning homosexuality and in identifying solutions to tackle widespread corruption. Our Peace Day games have been launched in many communities affected by a long history of conflict and violence such as the DRC and Rwanda. A game between a deaf and an able-bodied team was organized at the end of our program in Sierra Leone that focused largely on integrating people with disabilities; an unprecedented event according to our partner program.

     

    Quantified Impact from our Baseline/Endline Questions:

     

    1. Do you know a football game to teach young people to find creative solutions to their problems, both as a team and individually, instead of asking for the answer?
    2. Do you know a football game to teach young people how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS?
    3. Do you know a football game to teach young people about the role and place of women and girls on the soccer field, at home and in the community?
    4. Do you know a football game to teach young people how best to resolve conflict?

     

     

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    100% of our participants have received training in child protection and have promised to “ALWAYS protect and NEVER abuse children and young people in their care”, now mandatory to receive a CAC certificate.Only 14% said they had received child protection training before being involved with CAC. In Kitale, Kenya, 150 children learned their rights for the first time and spoke up about child abuse in their community. Child rights games have been played at 50% of our programs and inspired local coaches to invent new games teaching children about their rights.

    CAC also keeps track of our partners’ progress towards Self-Directed Learning. One third of coaches participating in a CAC program this year had already attended another CAC training a previous year. This is crucial to develop local ownership and self-sufficiency.

    Introducing new methodology and best practices is the first step towards creating self-directed learners. More than 20 of our partner programs reported that CAC introduced ‘new learning’ or a ‘new way of coaching.’

    In spite of 64% of our 2014 programs entering the first year of the partnership, 47% of them are in the adapt or create stages of Self-Directed Learning, whereby they not only understand the concept of sport for social impact but are also capable of adapting or inventing games to address new social issues. Participants all around the world have developed their own football for social impact curriculum. Themes include child rights that address regional laws, deforestation, combating HIV stigma, cholera, malaria, wealth redistribution and maternal mortality.

    CAC has also been active Off-Field, speaking at high-level events in India, Qatar, San Francisco and New York on a wide range of topics including CSR policy for football development, sport for development, youth development and empowering girls through sports. In 2014, CAC launched a new corporate partnership with Chevrolet, which has already had tremendous success with projects benefiting our local partners Rumah Cemara in Bandung, Indonesia and Beyond the Ball in Chicago, USA. The CAC team has also put our writing skills to the test, and our paper on CAC’s Self-Directed Learning model was accepted for publication in a special issue of Soccer & Society. To end the first half of 2014 on a high note, CAC has been shortlisted for the 2014 Beyond Sport Awards for the highly competitive Corporate of the Year category.

     

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  • Football Skills for Life

    IMG_8762At Coaches Across Continents we recognize the correlation between football and life. Our curriculum harnesses the power of football to teach lessons spanning a broad spectrum of social issues. In order to address these social issues in a productive, forward-thinking manner, there are certain life skills that we believe we all need to tap into. These are the baseline skills, the fundamentals, the abilities that translate naturally from our lives on the football field into our lives in our community. They include verbal and nonverbal communication, concentration, teamwork, confidence, awareness, and other capabilities that can and should manifest in our everyday lives. These also include hygiene, employability, literacy, financial literacy, child rights, among other everyday necessities that we cover in our curriculum.

    All social skills can come to the surface on the traditional football pitch, but we bring them to life in all of our games, using our unique coaching methods that stimulate social impact. The first of these games that any CAC partner program will play is Ronaldo Skills for Life. In this game we have three fun skills involving scissors, fakes, and step-overs that the players learn while shouting out at each turn, “Ronaldo 1!” or “Ronaldo 2!” or “Ronaldo 3!”. The same goes for each of our players from Marta and Messi to Rapinoe and Wilshere.

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    When we coach Skills for Life games, one of the most essential aspects of our methodology is the slow progression. We often ask our participants whether we all learn at the same pace, and understanding that we do not, in school, on the field, or elsewhere, is a crucial step in working with children. We start these techniques slowly, without the ball, then we add a touch or two, then we build up to dribbling, and in this manner we not only build muscle memory and improve our footwork, but we work on concentration – for our voice must match our feet – spatial awareness – for we do not dribble or walk or run with our head down – confidence – for we share our voices with our teammates loud and proud – and readiness – for we only work on skills in a circular setting.

    All over the world community leaders have learned these football techniques, so valuable when competing on the pitch, and paired with life techniques, so valuable when taken into the context of our lives.  One of the principal upshots of our Skills for Life module, that then pervades the rest of our curriculum, is the ability to use one’s voice.  Whether calling for the ball or shouting out “Ronaldo 1” every time we do the first Ronaldo skill, the power of the voice transcends the boundaries of the football field. We have taught these games to partners in Northern Uganda, where former child soldiers are being reintegrated into society after facing the horrors of the LRA. Afraid to speak for fear of being physically or sexually abused, their voices were stifled. Our games, our coaches, help them reclaim their voice, their confidence, their ability to make their own choices in life.

    Our Monitoring & Evaluation tells us that 98% of our participants can now teach young people through soccer to find creative solutions to their problems rather than asking for the answer, up from 27% before our program.

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