• Fun In The Sun

    September 8th 2017. CAC Community Impact Coach Prateek Syangden, from Childreach Nepal, blogs from the Philippines where we are working with Gawad Kalinga

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is “the global leaders in sports for social impact”. There are very few organizations that live up to their name, and I would say that CAC has lived up to their name and their game as the global leaders in sports for social impact. I have had the privilege to be associated with CAC for more than four years. In these four years CAC has helped Childreach to be recognized as a leading organization in Nepal that uses the sports for social impact methodology, which has enabled us to reach out to thousands of children in Nepal.

    On the 18th of August I left Nepal for the Philippines, to be a part of the Community Impact Coach program. The next three weeks I would assist CAC Self-Directed Learning strategist Charlie Crawford to run on field programs in three different places and working with different organization in the Philippines. Our first week training was with Gawad Kalinga, a local NGO that uses football as tool to improve the lives of youths and children. We traveled to a small city called Tacloban which was about an hour flight from the capital of Manila. We were warmly greeted by Dennis and Bart who works with GK. The next day we arrived at the AFC village, built jointly by Gawad Kalinga and the Asian Football Confederation after the Typhoon Haiyan, also known as Yolanda in the local language. Haiyan killed more than 10,000 people in the Philippines. The GK village is home to more than 200 families. This reminded me of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal where more than 8,000 people lost their lives. Looking at the work that the AFC was able to do I could imagine the possibilities for the AFC collaborating with a local Nepalese NGO or government bodies to build a similar village for the survivors of the earthquake. The GK/AFC village also provides a safe playing space for the children (football pitch), where we would be working with the local coaches for the next five days.

    The majority of the coaches attending the program were from the long-term partners of CAC, Football4Life. Coming from Nepal a big challenge was the heat and humidity, I started having skin problems from the second day, but that didn’t stop me from being on the field with Charlie. Two things in common with Nepal and Philippines, we are never on time and we eat a lot of rice. The coaches who were late would brag about the Filipino time, something we would do if we were late. The next two weeks will take us to Cebu and Manila, which I am looking forward to.

     

  • From Phnom Penh to the Philippines

    May 6th 2016. CAC Community Impact Coach Makara Sopheak from our partner ISF in Cambodia writes about his time with CAC and FundLife International in the Philippines. Thanks to ISF who first published this blog.

    My name is Makara Sopheak. I am one of the senior coaches at Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF). I always dreamed of being a football coach and developing football in Cambodia. I used to be the leader of my high school football team and then I was a volunteer coach. I have learned many things since I came to ISF in 2011, I got to know many other football organizations and worked closely with them, especially Coaches Across Continents (CAC). For some years, CAC has been working with ISF to teach coaching and football for social change. They also do international exchanges when coaches from different countries train each other. This month, I was selected to be a Community Impact Coach in CAC’s program in The Philippines with FundLife International.

    After working with CAC for a few years, in the coaching program and doing the Online Education initiative, I was thrilled to hear that I was selected to join the program in The Philippines.  I immediately started to prepare documents and exercises to do during the training. The CAC program in the Philippine is similar to Cambodia and they organize an exchange to share sport for social development skills with other coaches.  The training is based on doing fun games to teach about social issues. In this case, the CAC program was focused on child rights and gender equality.

    The reason that I wanted to be part of the program was because I want to work closely with CAC in order to learn more about football and share it to other coaches both in Cambodia and other countries. Charlie from CAC and I provided training to 82 coaches in Tacloban and BayBay. First they learnt about some of the games we developed and then they got to create games by themselves. Some Filipino Community Impact Coaches helped us with the sessions.

    Besides sharing and coaching them, I also learned a lot from the Filipino coaches. They taught me some English football terms and new methods to create football games about social issues like HIV. Joining this program taught me about being flexible and improved my communication skills with foreigners. I also learned a lot more about football for social change.

    It was the first time for me to travel abroad and I really like The Philippines: the green environment, nice food and very friendly people. Even though some things (like flying for the first time) were a bit challenging, I would like to work with the CAC team in the future to do more training abroad. After coming back, I talked to our coaches about what I learned in The Philippines and what skills they need to also do an international exchange. On top of that, I will talk to our Football Programme Manager to arrange a training course that I have done in The Philippines to share with other coaches.  I hope other coaches will get the opportunity like me to work with the CAC staff and exchange ideas with others coaches.

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  • Rebuilding Tacloban with F4L and UNICEF

    October 15, 2014.  Most people have only heard of Tacloban, Philippines because of Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda in the Philippines) which struck on November 8th, 2013.  It was one of the strongest tropical typhoons ever recorded to strike a populated area with the official death toll reaching well over 6,000.  However, if you ask any local, they will tell you that the actual numbers are much higher; some bodies were still being found two months after the storm had passed.  Just under a year has passed, and we have found ourselves working alongside many other aid agencies in Tacloban. Partnering with Football 4 Life, UNICEF, and the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), we have come to Tacloban to provide sport for social impact training to coaches and teachers as they continue to rebuild their community.

    Yolanda has left most of the worlds’ consciousness as we start thinking of more immediate global concerns, but in Tacloban they are still recovering and will continue to rebuild for years to come.  The visits of celebrities like David Beckham have passed, but tens of thousands still live in temporary bunkhouses, buildings (including schools, hospitals, and businesses) are still being constructed, and neighborhoods are adjusting to their new daily lives.  It is because of this rebuilding that we were so excited to work alongside three great partners who see sport as an avenue to restore normalcy to daily life but also to use it as a tool for education and social empowerment.

    Football 4 Life has started operating in eight locations around Tacloban, targeting the most in-need children.  They run football sessions for them in this basketball-mad country, but see the opportunity to use sport to empower these children who have been marginalized.  F4L also brought together over 50 school teachers to participate in our training, knowing that these sport teachers are crucial to the use of sport as an active tool for social change and development of their community.  These coaches and teachers lived through Yolanda, and are the best people who have the vision and enthusiasm on how Tacloban should be rebuilt.  One of the F4L coaches, Margarette Susing, is featured in this video showing the process of rebuilding the community is undertaking and is a perfect example of the effect that a natural disaster can have on a community and on individual lives (4:18 minutes).

    We knew on our first day that this group of teachers and coaches, as well as the experience itself, would be special.  Meeting in a room that still utilizes a warped, water-damaged floor, we began our journey with them.  In fact, there are still very few structures which do not show the lasting damage of the storm.  On-Field our first game is always Circle of Friends.  It is used both as a physical warm-up, but also to get coaches and children to use their voices (and be comfortable with their voices) in a variety of ways.  On the first water break it was explained to me by a teacher that he preferred the students not to speak, so that he could maintain control.  After resuming Circle of Friends and Ronaldo Skills (another game which stresses voice), the same teacher came up to me to tell me that he was wrong, and that these were two of the most fun games he had seen.  And we had just gotten started!  By the end of the week these coaches and teachers now have an arsenal of fun games which address life skills such as developing children’s voices and confidence, but also games which educate about early pregnancy (a major issue in the Philippines due to cultural and religious influences), educating about the environment, and creating self-directed learners through problem-solving games.

    Although Yolanda only lasted one day, the effects will be felt for years.  Tacloban is still at the start of their rebuilding journey, but with dedicated teachers and coaches, as well as organizations like Football 4 Life, this process will be a success.  In total the coaches and teachers that we worked with will impact nearly 10,000 children around Tacloban through school and soccer activities.  These children will become the lasting legacy of Yolanda.

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    One of three large boats still grounded in the middle of Tacloban

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    Celebrating a great week with CAC!