CAC Speak at the Women’s World Cup
June 9th 2015. This June, Coaches Across Continents will be playing a part in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. As part of the Girl Power in Play Symposium taking place in Ottawa on June 18-19, Monitoring and Evaluation and Curriculum Development Strategist, Sophie Legros has been invited to speak on the panel ‘Sports – Education Outside the Classroom: Peer-to-Peer Mentorship’.
The presentation will focus on CAC’s success in enabling youth leaders through Self-Directed Learning to educate communities and promote women and girls’ rights. It will introduce ASK for Choice, CAC’s unique female empowerment and gender equality curriculum.
Changing Culture in Kolkata
May 15, 2015. Chief Exec Brian tells of the dramatic transformation occurring in Kolkata, India.
They want to play. That much is clear. There were 49 different women who came out to our trainings this past week and all wanted to play. Even the 22 of whom had never kicked a football until this week. The culture and traditions of this community did not make it easy for girls and women to play football. It just wasn’t something that they historically participated in – and change is not easy. Threats and acts of physical violence on women for playing sport are extremely rare, but still occur from time to time as we heard second-hand accounts during our time here.
But the culture is changing and the overwhelming majority of this community has chosen to support this change, with the assistance of the partnership between Chevrolet FC, the Belalious School, Slum Soccer, and Coaches Across Continents. A new field-turf facility was built on the grounds of the Belalious School in an impoverished area of Kolkata called Tikiapara. The girls (and boys) now have a safe space, both physically and emotionally to participate in sport. And more importantly the community has embraced this facility as their own.
Each afternoon two hours has been designated exclusively for the girls and women of this community to come and play and learn. They slip off their shoes and headscarves and join in the CAC training to learn from the game of football. Only a few are comfortable donning soccer jerseys or shorts, and the rest play in their colorful saris. A handful are already coaches, while others are hoping to become community leaders who can begin using the field as a place to teach young girls social messages through soccer, an opportunity many of them were never afforded.
What does it mean to change cultures and traditions, and why is this important? Despite the lip service globally to equal human rights, many girls and women are not permitted to play sports. Here in India, less than 2% of soccer players are female, and that number may be generous. But beliefs can change and should change if we truly want to embrace equal rights. Sport, especially sport for social impact, is something that promotes healthy lifestyles for women, decreases infant mortality, fosters female empowerment and gender equity, and encourages further education which in turn increases average annual income. And most importantly, sport is fun. And the women want to play. That much is clear.
The most satisfying aspect of this week, as a western man who is coming to this community as an outsider with my own ingrained beliefs, was watching a group of older men observe training each day. They sat peacefully and supportively guarded the entryway, shooing away small boys or leering adolescents so that the women could train in peace. They were the guardians of this new safe space. In their own gruff way, these men are ensuring that it is ok for cultures to change and to allow their daughters, sisters, and wives to enjoy the freedom of sport and the power of social education through football. And the girls and women want to play. That much is clear.
The Possibilities of #PlayItForward
May 11, 2015. The world is full of possibilities, no matter where you look. It could have been easy to dismiss the trash dump and pond full of garbage, located just behind Belilious School, as unsalvageable. But Chevrolet FC and Slum Soccer only saw the possibilities. Together they worked with Sandip Dutta, trustee of the land and the Belilious School to create a field worthy of any community in the world. The new field will be used to reach out to the most under-served children and youth of Kolkata.
Coaches Across Continents continues its award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC in our fifth community, this time in Tikiapara, Howrah, in Kolkata, India. CAC’s important role in this partnership is to create a sustainable legacy, where local coaches and teachers can use the new field as an educational environment, using sport to create social change. During our first week we trained over 60 coaches, empowering them to become coaches who can use sport to educate about important local social issues like health & wellness, female empowerment, conflict resolution, and child rights.
On the Event Day, Saturday May 9th, CAC showcased two of it’s games on the new pitch to a crowd of over 500 which included representatives from General Motors, Mikaël Silvestre (Manchester United legend) local dignitaries, the board of trustees of the ground, members of the media, and hundreds of children and parents watching. One game we showcased was from our Child Rights module: The Right to an Education. Slum Soccer coach Homkant used the game which involves adding goals onto the pitch each time you score (representing completing another year of schooling) to correlate the message that the more education you complete, the more opportunities open up in your life. On average, continuing just one more year of school means an increase of 10% of income.
These important messages will continue to be used by local coaches and teachers on the new pitch, creating long-term social change in the community. Our long-term Indian partner Slum Soccer has already created such social change in other locations – and we are confident that the impact they are about to have in Kolkata will be immense, thanks to the joint efforts of Chevrolet FC, One World Play Project, and Coaches Across Continents. Possibilities are everywhere.
#PlayItForward in Thailand
May 1, 2015. Click here for Part 1 or Part 2. Friday is Labor Day, a national holiday in Thailand. And Coaches Across Continents has just completed our second week working with Chevrolet FC and World Vision in Bangkok. The dozens of participants who attended this week did so from throughout Thailand, meaning that this campaign is having a national impact beyond the refurbished field at Bang Bua school in Bangkok. Many of the participants work directly with World Vision and will be sharing their learning with other members of their local offices. Overall, our two weeks of training will impact over 20,000 children.
Thailand has been a fantastic host for our program. The director of the Bang Bua School, Miss Aonrumpa Phodaeng, gleefully calls her campus a “happy place.” The children, staff, and Miss Phodaeng herself radiate joy while you are with them. However outside of campus there are many serious issues in Thailand. Trafficking and Health & Wellness issues were highlighted by the local coaches as two areas they would like to address. There are many types of trafficking, including sexual, conscripting children to become beggars, forced child labor, and even organ trafficking in some instances. Our curriculum for this week therefore focused on educating about how to use sport for social impact, as well as our Child Rights module. The coaches highlighted the need to properly educate children about these issues, and were great at being able to extrapolate the messages from our games into social impact teachable moments.
“I never knew that football can be used to solve problems. I think I can make a new curriculum to teach children in my community about trafficking, sexual health, and more. I learned how to use football to teach messages and to adapt and teach children. Thank you to Coaches Across Continents.”
#PlayItForward in Bangkok
April 25, 2015. (For the Field Launch – Part 1, click here). Our award-winning partnership with Chevrolet FC continues in 2015 under the banner #PlayItForward. After successful sport for social impact trainings last year in Indonesia, the United States, and South Africa, the first program of 2015 finds ourselves in Bangkok, Thailand, working with local community implementing partner World Vision. One major element of our partnership with Chevrolet FC is to create sustainable impact which will allow local coaches, teachers, and leaders to use sport to educate about local issues. This is key so that the beautiful facilities that Chevrolet FC are creating can be used as a venue for community development on a consistent basis in each community and country.
Three CAC senior staff members (Nick, Sophie, and Brian) embraced the opportunity to work with coaches, teachers, and social workers invited by World Vision this past week. For four long and extremely hot days we were able to work on many topics focused on Child Rights. Trafficking is a serious problem in Thailand and Southeast Asia in many forms. Children are trafficked for sex, slavery, to become beggars, organ trafficking, and manual labor. Many of the games we taught this week came from our Child Rights module which we have developed over the past year based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. More importantly than our Child Rights training were the steps that the coaches took in being able to create their own games to address this issue. By the end of the week, coaches were easily adapting games, with a few creating their own fun soccer-based games that can be used in their schools.
The best thing about working with CAC is that the training showed us that you can solve all the problems in each country such as gender inequality, violations against child rights or alcohol and drug abuse. For example, teachers can use games to show children how alcohol abuse is not good, instead of only talking to them.
– Prakit Lelaviwat, World Vision National Office and CAC course participant
The work and progress made in Thailand, supported through the investment from Chevrolet FC, will have lasting and sustainable impact. The new field built at the Bang Bua School can act as a hub for children to learn through play, from the coaches, teachers, and social workers who have learned from the CAC curriculum and methodology.
Award-Winning Partnership Continues in Thailand
April 24, 2015. It is another exciting day with Chevrolet FC, this time in Bangkok, Thailand. Our award-winning partnership continues in 2015 with #PlayItForward. Today was the unveiling of a refurbished soccer pitch at Bang Bua School. Manchester United legend Louis Saha helped with the ribbon cutting ceremony, as well as Senior Manager of Chevrolet Global Marketing Strategy John Gasloli, President of GM Southeast Asia Operations Tim Zimmerman, The Director of the Bang Bua School Mrs. Aonrumpa Phodaeng, and the National Director of World Vision Thailand Mrs. Chitra Thumborisuth.
The highlight of the day was watching the children take ownership of the field, engaging with local World Vision coaches who underwent CAC training this past week on issues including Child Rights. World Vision is our local implementing community partner here in Bangkok. The children played several CAC games and then had the opportunity to play small-sided games with Louis Saha. Fun fact – CAC Monitoring & Evaluation strategist Sophie Legros went to the same soccer academy as Louis Saha – Clairefontaine.