• Evaluating Coaches Across Continents’ 2015 Impact So Far

    “The best thing about working with Coaches Across Continents is the unique and special impact of the CAC program.”

    Paul Lwanga, Football for Hope, Peace & Unity participant, Rwanda.

    August 17th 2015. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) plays an important part in everything we do at Coaches Across Continents: baseline/endline surveys involve every coach, and quantitative and qualitative data is collected at every program. CAC uses its data and statistics to evaluate current practice as well as to inform future developments.

    Comprehensive needs analysis allows CAC to identify the greatest social impact needs and priorities and to design locally relevant programs for partners. Baseline statistics demonstrate the initial attitudes, skills and knowledge of the coaches, including what they know about child protection, their understanding of football for social impact, or their inclination towards gender equality in sport.

    For example, only 15% of participants had ever coached a game of football for social impact before working with CAC in 2015 and only 7% of coaches have had training in how to protect children on the sports field. In many communities, less than a third of local coaches were coaching or planning on coaching girls prior to working with CAC in 2015. In some programs, none of the participants were coaching or planning on coaching girls.

    CAC’s WISER M&E model makes it possible to follow the growth of the organization as well as to identify the successes and impacts programs are having year-round in communities.

    Since the beginning of 2015, 19,376 On-Field coaching education hours have been dedicated to local communities. CAC has worked with 51 implementing partners, 823 community partners, and 2,225 local coaches. In total so far, CAC has reached 180,879 youth in 2015. At this time of year in 2014, CAC had only worked with 42 implementing partners, 685 community members, 1,859 local coaches and had reached 132,375 youth.

    In addition to On-Field coaching education, CAC delivers year-round support to partner programs such as Online Coaching Education, curriculum development, strategic planning, M&E development, social media support or sharing of best practices. This maximizes social impact and allows for the incredible impacts our partners achieve in their local communities.

    Some of the successes so far this year have included:

    – local coaches implementing the CAC curriculum with indigenous children to educate on drug abuse in Mexico.

    – the launch of a menstruation awareness and sanitary towel collection campaign to “encourage men to be more involved in what the adolescent girls and women go through in their menstruation cycle” in Nairobi, Kenya.

    – the creation of an entirely new NGO, ‘Green-Kenya’ for better implementation of the CAC curriculum in Kenyan communities with a specific focus on the environment.

    – the expansion of implementing partner Uni Papua to 28 communities in Indonesia.

    – the start of numerous new female empowerment through sport initiatives in Cameroon, Kenya, Zanzibar, and India.

    – the incorporation of CAC HIV games into daily trainings in Hyderabad, India, a topic that was previously avoided due to cultural sensitivities. Local coaches are now openly discussing sexual education in Hyderabad through sport for social impact.

    – the Mbarara community in Western Uganda working to build primary and secondary schools with playgrounds in order to provide children with sport for social impact education.

    For more information on Coaches Across Continents’ impacts in developing communities, you can read the ‘2014 In Review’ report.

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  • A Vision for Local Sustainability

    August 14th 2015. Léogâne to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Nairobi to Marsabit, Kenya. Tacloban to Baybay, Philippines. Nyanza to Kigali, Rwanda. Tanzania to Uganda. Uganda to Kenya. Cambodia to Philippines.

    These are some of the movements of our Community Impact Coaches (CICs) so far in 2015. We have had 16 CICs from 9 countries, directly impacting 28 CAC programs, and consequently nearly 100,000 children.

    The locations and numbers are compelling, but the stories behind those facts and figures are far more inspiring.

    So who are these CICs? How have they enhanced our work? And what have they brought back home to their communities?

    The CIC program pulls in the best of the best from our implementing partners. These are the coaches who have demonstrated their commitment to using sport for social impact at home with their local organizations, On-Field during past CAC trainings, and in year-round communication with CAC staff. These coaches, once selected as CICs, are part of On-Field teams for 1-3 weeks in various locations in their country or internationally. They assist us with the training of other leaders while learning more from our SDL Coaches, and soaking in everything they believe will empower them back home.

    We kicked off the year with a CIC exchange of sorts. Our 3rd-year partners, GOALS Haiti in Léogâne sent two coaches to work with our team in Port-au-Prince with 2nd-year partners The Sanneh Foundation’s Haitian Initiative (HI). The following week two coaches left the city to join our staff for the third year of the On-Field component to our partnership with GOALS. These two weeks are a great representation of what the CIC program is all about. The GOALS coaches were essential in helping us train 173 leaders in Cité Soleil. The HI coaches visited Léogâne and were able to see how far along a third-year partner is, while learning from them and being challenged to advance beyond the work we had done in their community.

    2015 also saw the return of our first-ever CIC, Nico Pota, who traveled from his home in Tanzania to help us run three programs in UgandaWhile in Uganda, Nico met the second-longest serving CIC, Salim Blanden. Soon after the Uganda programs, Salim traveled to meet our team in Kenya where he helped us train two sets of leaders. After his final week with us, one of the participants had some encouraging words to say about the CIC program: “It is very good for us participants to learn about other cultures and it can help to improve the life of the people in the community. It also encourages members of our community to try to achieve that as well, because when you have been in another community you come home with new ideas. To see Salim also encourages me to do my work and help to improve my own community in Rapogi.” – Michael Ouma, Migori County, Kenya.

    In early May we had some fiercely empowered Filipino women join us for our first time working in Baybay, Philippines after our second year with partners Football for Life in Tacloban. Hazel and Patty were running the show with a group of physical education teachers, and we hope to get one or both of them assisting us internationally in the near future.

    One of our Zimbabwe partners has finished the Hat-Trick Initiative, and after the third year several of the coaches applied to the CIC program. Of these candidates, Frank Chivawura was selected and joined CAC On-Field near his home in Harare with a first-year partner, helping us introduce our methodology to the new participants.

    One of the most incredible stories from our CICs takes us back to Kenya. David Mulo and Charles Otieno have been CICs with us for two years, helping us train leaders in various parts of their country. These inspired leaders work with long-time partners Vijana Amani Pamoja in Nairobi, and since joining us as CICs, they’ve wanted to do more. They started their own NGO called Green Kenya where they use CAC games to teach youth about all sorts of social issues, i.e.: “teaching participants how to conserve the environment using CAC environment games.” Another such issue is the empowerment of women. We have just been informed by David that they recently launched their new Girl Up initiative where, among other things, they are having men go out and buy sanitary towels to better understand and support women. David was part of our training in Marsabit, Kenya with Horn of Africa Development Initiative (HODI) – a program that needs little introduction when it comes to empowering women and girls.

    An excerpt from David’s blog sums it up beautifully. After witnessing the gap between men and women in Marsabit and learning of certain human rights violations, David writes:

    I decided that I want to do something for the girls when I get back to Nairobi… I will assemble the girls in my community and let them talk about the issues that they are facing and how they think we can tackle them. I want to let them have a voice to be heard. This idea would not have grown in my head if I did not get the chance to be a Community Impact coach (CIC).

    And now Girl Up is born.

    This is just one example – albeit amazing – of the work that our CICs are doing with us, and more importantly, without us. As David and many others have taken the time to thank CAC for the opportunities we present to them – I’d like to take this moment to thank our Community Impact Coaches across the world: Thank you for taking advantage of this opportunity and owning it; thank you for being exactly who you are and allowing it to inspire so many people; and thank you for not being afraid of the unknown.

    With a packed program schedule for the remainder of 2015, we cannot wait to unleash more CICs onto our partners. And moreover, we cannot wait to unlock more of these stories that are waiting to be lived by people who continue to dream despite overwhelming obstacles.

    To find out how you can support the Community Impact Coach program please go to this page or contact us.

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  • A Successful Journey With CAC

    May 12th 2015. CAC Community Impact Coach Salim Blanden, from Uganda, blogs about his trip with CAC to Kenya.

    It’s been another exciting year for me after hearing the news that I would be working with CAC in another country. It was the 19th of April; I was already in Kisumu, Kenya, waiting for the CAC program leader, Markus and another CAC coach, Turner. Two hours at the ferry station, Markus and Turner arrived. I was so excited to meet Markus again since we had met in Uganda at Mbarara Sports Academy in 2014.  I knew I would have a good time with Markus, knowing he would be the leader of the programs in Kenya.

    We went to Mbita, a small village on the shores of Lake Victoria in Homabay County. It was a great week for me at Boychild Agenda International. We started the first program with a lot of energy while I enjoyed the fish from the lake every day.

    After one week, we set off to Rapogi to CREATA where we would spend another week. The Centre for Regeneration and Empowerment of Africa Through Africa (CREATA) is a Non-Governmental Organization in Kenya that provides opportunities for young people to be creative and explore their potentials. They encourage them to find solutions to their problems and inspire the people of Kenya to love and build their country through sports.

    It’s year two for CAC  and CREATA to work together and we hit the pitch on Monday morning 27th April. After a brief introduction from Markus, Turner and I, we went straight to the pitch. Turner was the leader of the week in Rapogi and we were joined by Markus’ friends Vincent and Daniel from Germany, as well as Sindiswa Ntlangulela from South Africa. They all had come to join the On-Field program and celebrate Markus’ 30th Birthday.

    I was excited to get on the pitch on Monday morning after a heavy breakfast provided by CREATA. Turner ran our first game, ‘Circle of Friends’, one of my favorites. It was clear that many coaches recognized this game as a good number of them were returners. We started with high energy and the new coaches understood the idea of the game very quickly; playing the game with a lot of fun and loud voices. Turner took us through other games like Wilshere Skills for Life, where the coaches learnt and practiced different ways of passing the ball, as Arsenal FC and England midfielder Jack Wilshere does.

    I was then given a chance to lead a game called ‘Mingle Mingle’ and I was excited about the response of the coaches when I taught this game. Mingle Mingle is a fun game where players jog around the field and the coach yells a number and then participants quickly get into those groups. The remaining players had to dance or do a goal celebration in front of other participants. The participants loved to dance ‘Kuku dance’ and this made everyone happy, making the game fun for everyone. This gave me confidence, because they all understood what I taught them. I also played another game called Wilshere for Fun and my last game on Monday was Rwanda for Skills. The fact related to Rwanda for Skills was the highlight of the day for me, because it was new to most coaches. They kept asking me if it was true that Rwanda has more women in parliament than men.

    It was a great experience for me to teach the CAC games to other coaches and to know that they understood what I taught them. I would like to thank Markus for always talking to me after the games and encouraging me. This gave me the courage to teach the next games. He thanked me for my work and asked me how I felt after teaching the games.

    Off the pitch, I enjoyed staying in Rapogi at Paul Ogalo’s home, the CREATA Director. I played with a lot of kids around Paul’s home and enjoyed the good food. The food in Kenya was nice, lots of fish, Chapati, Ugali and meat. Although I did not understand the Kiswahili language very well, I understood the language of delicious food at Paul’s house.

    I was also excited about the various programs CREATA is running as part of engaging the young people in Rapogi. I was impressed by the ‘Pacific group’ which is a dancing group of young people that entertained us on Wednesday when we celebrated Markus’s birthday. Afterwards we visited the Rapogi Rock and took photos on top of the rock. Wednesday night gave me more motivation as we danced until midnight, celebrating Markus’ birthday. It was a great party as Daniel and Vincent sang Sorbian birthday songs for him which they always sing back at home honoring the person’s life and wishing him/her all the best.

    On to the pitch again, the coaches enjoyed the games and did coach backs every day. It was clear that most coaches taught the games well during coach backs and it was a good indication that they would teach these games and impact more children in their local communities. The coaches liked fun games like Mingle Mingle, 95% football, Scary soccer, and Animal game. Others also liked playing scrimmages. Female empowerment games were also responded to very well. They had so many questions about the topics we raised. Markus always asked more questions to make the participants think about different ways to empower women.

    It was a great week for me and the whole CAC team. I found a new home; I could not have asked for something better than this. Thanks to Markus and Turner for the advice and encouragement throughout my time in Kenya, and to Paul and the CREATA staff for hosting us all.

    More importantly, I would like to thank the CAC founder Nick Gates for the Letter of Commendation and Recognition. I will continue educating young people and other coaches in my community. I look forward to work with Coaches Across Continents again whenever I’m given the chance.

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  • Finding Beauty Through Soccer

    May 4th 2015. Some days it’s walking into the Indian ocean and watching the setting sun paint the sky different shades of the earth. Some days it’s swaying in a hammock on a mountaintop looking over the Caribbean as a flock of pelicans soar by in the wind. Some days it’s curling up in my big blonde furry friend and taking sloppy licks to the face in exchange for belly scratches and ear rubs. Some days it’s sharing a football juggle and a smile with a child because it’s the only language I can use to tell him he’s loved in this world. These moments of pure bliss in my life make the worlds problems disappear in the moment, but when my time is up… the harsh reality of the world we live is still very much there. The 14-year-old boy is still getting raped by his father. The 12-year-old girl is still trying to figure out how to live a normal life after living half of it as a sex slave. The 10-year-old child is still being forced into holding a gun. The 40-year-old woman is still getting blamed for her husband beating her. Massacres are still happening on school grounds. It is the nature of my job to face the ugly side of the world we live which has made me appreciate the beautiful moments even more.

    After 4 weeks on the field in Kenya and Uganda talking with adult coaches about the social issues they face in their communities, we walked onto a football pitch in Kitale, Kenya with a cluster of 80 boys and girls running around with footballs. This wasn’t a usual CAC week of training as our participants were no older than 17 years of age; the youngest being 9. The last time I worked with young leaders was in Cambodia about 8 months ago during my first volunteering program with CAC.

    Training young leaders is different than training adults. When the topic of drugs and alcohol, HIV/AIDS, child abuse, and early pregnancy come to the forefront, it’s clear that we are talking to the most vulnerable age group.

    I could tell there were stories hiding behind the blank staring faces when we arrived on Monday. Throughout the week I spoke with many of them- individually and in groups- casually and about more serious issues. They taught me Swahili and they asked me to teach them my national anthem, I tried but didn’t get very far. I told them my story and some of them told me theirs…I tried to relate in every way possible, even though we come from very different backgrounds; Even though FGM isn’t a common practice in my country and beastiality is a fairly new term to me; even though I was never hit with a stick for answering a question wrong in school, or was never married off to a man at age 13 in exchange for a few cows; and even though I was never told that a mans life was more valuable than a woman’s; I still tried to find ways to relate.

    Coming from outside of Kenya, it would be silly to act like I know what life is like here. I can imagine though, that growing up in Kenya is not easy for women and children. Abuse is more common here than not.

    Some of them opened up to me as the week went on- some found their voice on the field- some lit up with smiles everyday- others just simply participated and that was enough to reach them with the football.

    TYSA(Transznoia Youth Sports Academy) is the program we worked with this week. They are led by Gichuki, or otherwise known as Francis. He has committed over 30 years of his life to ensuring that children in his community can live happy lives. He realized his best tool to get children off the street and into schools was football, so he started his own youth academy. Boys and girls play together, children get scholarships to attend schools, and through the sport we all love, they are learning to become leaders in their community.

    It has taken great leadership to get to where TYSA is today. One of TYSA’s former students called OG says that Gichuki found him at a bad time in his life when he didn’t have much, and brought him into his academy to play for his team. OG, now in his late 20’s has grown up to become a coach at TYSA and will soon be running the organization with his fellow peers. Gichuki knows that his time is soon up with TYSA and It will surely be difficult for him to part with something so near and dear to his heart. But his vision from the beginning was to pass the leadership down to the next generation, who would then do the same when their time was up- a very thoughtful way to internally sustain the values and excellence demonstrated by passionate, committed people.

    Programs like TYSA, who believe in their young leaders and use football and games that we have taught them to give opportunity and a life to children beyond the streets, are changing lives for the better in Kenya and make this world a more beautiful place.

    My heart was heavy when I left Kenya on Friday because the friendships I made with the people of TYSA, from a small city just over the border of Uganda, was just what I needed to find beauty in this sometimes unexplainable world.

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  • K is for Kampala

    CAC Self-Directed Learning coach Turner Humphries (Hooch) writes about returning to his colleagues at Soccer Without Borders Uganda in Kampala.

    April 14th 2015. When I first arrived in Uganda in July of 2013 it was apparent that my name was going to cause many people trouble. For whatever reason my name just did not roll of the tongue well. After introducing myself I would undoubtedly be met with something along the lines of, ‘Nice to meet you Tony.’ Any attempt to correct the error was futile. In fact, even some of my colleagues at Soccer Without Borders (SWB) believed my name to be Tony months after my arrival. Eventually my real name began to take hold and at last ‘Tony’ was a thing of the past, at least I thought. When I started with Coaches Across Continents in 2015 in Haiti ‘Tony’ was resurrected as many of the participants also had trouble saying my name. I have no problem with ‘Tony,’ I’m sure many great people sport the name; I simply prefer not to be one of them. The name Turner came from my parents love for the Tom Hanks classic, ‘Turner & Hooch,’ a film that was somehow snubbed at the Academy Awards. With this knowledge my CAC colleagues declared me Hooch, a nickname that has yet to find a person incapable of its pronunciation. When I returned to Uganda and Soccer Without Borders my nickname was one of many things that had changed. A fresh coat of purple paint covered the classrooms, a new reading room had been built and two female coaches were added to the staff. Most notably that around forty participants received scholarships to private schools.

    Soccer Without Borders primarily serves the large urban refugee population in Kampala; providing English instruction, life skills and soccer coaching to around 300 youth.  Many of the participants come from the Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DR Congo is extremely wealthy – and extremely big. Similar in size to Western Europe, it is rich in diamonds, gold, copper, cobalt and zinc. Unfortunately for the people of DR Congo, its resource wealth has rarely been harnessed for their benefit. The amount of wealth has attracted many competing factions including government interests and warlords, and has been the root of many violent clashes and ethnic wars across the countries in the region.

    This instability has caused many families to flee into Uganda in pursuit of a better life. Most arrive lacking the English skills necessary to attend school or find work in Uganda. SWB attempts to prepare them by offering three different levels of English classes. Last year I taught the level one English course comprised of around fifty 5-10 year olds, most of whom are learning English for the first time. Walking back into my old classroom I could picture the faces of my students as they puzzled over a difficult vocabulary word or cheered after a board game victory. Undeterred by the numerous hardships they have faced, these children continue to strive to further their education and have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. It was these students that made my time in Uganda so memorable and made my job as a teacher and coach enjoyable.

    A special moment for me was seeing my former colleagues demonstrate games they had learned that week to the rest of the coaches. Jules Mayele, the youngest SWB staff member at eighteen years old, confidently stepped up to lead ‘Lines Game.’ This game requires players to think quickly while still working together in groups, awarding teams that develop creative solutions to a problem. With his Crest commercial smile, Jules delivered clear and concise directions that were crucial to the success of the game. Jules began with SWB as a student in English level one. As he developed his English language skills he demonstrated a natural ability to lead. Jules has become an excellent teacher capable of teaching both youth and adults. Before long I have no doubt he will be able to add top flight football coach to his resume.

    I enjoyed every second being back in Kampala. Soccer Without Borders and the other Kampala area coaches showed a great desire to continue their education in soccer for social impact. I look forward to seeing more positive changes being made in Kampala next time I find myself in the Pearl of Africa.

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  • Community Impact Coaches Collide in Mbarara

    April 6th 2015. Our bus stops frequently on our 4-hour journey west to Mbarara, and every time it does, local vendors holding baskets of sodas and snacks above their head, flock towards us and sprint to keep up before jumping aboard the slowing vehicle, in hopes of finding some hungry travelers. On a bus full of Ugandans and clucking chickens, I’m an obvious target for the vendors. I’ll take a water please. I’ll pass on the fried fish…

    We are off to our second training site in Uganda with a program called Mbarara Sports Academy run by Salim Blanden. Salim is paving the way for future coaches and future leaders through his academy and it wont be long before more leaders in Mbarara emerge in the football for social impact world. Salim founded Mbarara Sports Academy in 2010 and ever since he was introduced to CAC two years ago at our training in Kampala with an NGO called, Soccer Without Borders, he has been using our curriculum. He has become a special part of our Coaches Across Continents family as one of our Community Impact Coaches. Last year he travelled to South Africa with Coaches Across Continents for 2 weeks, and later this year he will travel with CAC to another country. But the work Salim does with CAC in other countries doesn’t tell enough of his story.

    Upon arrival we are welcomed into Salim’s home with open arms by “Momma Salim” who takes extra good care of us in her humble abode all week; cooking us hearty meals to start and end our days. Salim’s office is in his garage at the end of his home. The cement walls are plastered with pictures of the 200 youth he coaches in his community among the line of CAC certificates that he proudly displays. You can tell by the hanging “Football for Social Impact” Posters that fill the white spaces on the walls, where Salim’s vision lies. Children lounge around in his office daily; sometimes just hanging around while Salim does his work, other times working away on a pair of sandals or string bracelets. Most of the revenue for Mbarara Sports Academy comes out of Salim’s pocket, the other percentage comes from donations to the academy and the shoes and bracelets the kids make and sell to locals. Salim works as a University coach on the side to make some extra money to run his youth development academy. He coaches 200 boys and girls through his academy, boasting some of the top talent in the area, but that is not what Salim is most proud of. Through football young boys and girls have received scholarships to primary and secondary schools, which Salim values above everything else. All 200 of Salim’s players attend school, and he fully funds roughly 67 kids who aren’t able to pay school fees on their own. His passion for helping the children of Mbarara is unusual to see in a 29-year-old male footballer in Uganda. Salim was one of the greatest players Mbarara has ever seen in his playing days as a goalkeeper. Unlike many of the top players in Uganda however, Salim recognizes that using football as a tool to send social messages to his players goes much further than coaching just football alone. There is life after football and Salim makes sure his players are prepared for that.

    Training in Mbarara this year attracted many of the same participants as last year. In seeing the impact that Salim has made on the community, it is apparent that many others have been positively affected and inspired by his presence. This year we chose games to address Female Empowerment, HIV education and Child Rights, which Salim felt were especially important to address. With Nico being with us this week, the participants were able to speak and learn from two of our most top level Community Impact Coaches. Nico comes from Kigoma, Tanzania; the first-ever training site in which Coaches Across Continents worked, in 2008. Nico is now the District of Sport Officer in Chamwino, Tanzania and has been using our games over the past 6 years to educate youth in his community. Nico’s energy is felt through every community he enters. It was a special week in Mbarara working with two leaders who have shown their passion and leadership through the work they have done for their communities, for their countries, and for the world through Coaches Across Continents. Our last day of training we were able to watch the players coach their peers the different games they learned last year, and throughout the week this year. It is always impressive to see the players transform from player to coach within a day. When they were put to the task, they certainly put on a show!

    Our last day in Mbarara, Momma Salim invited us to her farmhouse, which was about a 20-minute drive from the city. She cooked us lunch and toured us around the farmland which was owned by her mother and father before they passed away. The farm is now home to her workers, and her livestock. Among the 400-acre plantation, she grows corn, potatoes, plantains, cassava, peanuts, beans, fruit and sunflowers. She sells some of the crops to town along with milk from her cows and honey from her beehives. On over 500 acres of land, Momma Salim’s home sit halfway up a mountain, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of rumbling “boda-boda”(motorbike) engines and screeching tires; an escape from our normal daily encounters in Mbarara. It was sitting in the calmness of nature; listening to the sounds of the birds and the thunder rolling over the mountains that made our week spent on the field in Mbarara feel so far away.

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