• Olympic Legend Michael Johnson Unveils New Initiative

    May 3rd 2016. Olympic legend Michael Johnson recently announced the launch of his Foundation. The Foundation’s initiative, spearheaded by the four-time Olympic gold medal winner, aims to provide young people from around the world with the tools they need to fulfil their potential through sport. By developing an in-depth, sustainable programme focusing on sporting performance, leadership development and community engagement, the Michael Johnson Foundation will give specially selected young people – all of whom come from a diverse range of challenging backgrounds – the confidence, skills and resources to make a positive impact on their futures.

    The young leaders once-in-a-lifetime journey will begin with an intensive course at the Michael Johnson Performance Center, Michael’s one-of-a-kind training ground in Dallas, where they will be provided cutting-edge support to enhance their sport performance skills, receive in-depth leadership training and get time and support to develop their ideas about how they can contribute to their communities and make a genuine difference for fellow young people back home. The young leaders will be travelling to Dallas this month from all over the world – Mexico, Nepal, UK, Cambodia, Armenia, Kenya, Uganda, India, Brazil and Tanzania – and were carefully selected not only for their potential to develop sporting talent but their capability to lead and a desire to contribute to their community.

    Regarding the desired outcomes for the young people on the programme, Michael said: “It’s not about finding the next Gold Medallist – although if someone has the potential then Michael Johnson Performance will identify and nurture that talent. It is our hope that successful young people from the course will become community leaders, or be the first of their family to go to college, or start their own sports charity or clubs. Success here means that every single young person who has gone through the course will have the skills and opportunity to achieve a better future.”

    Participant Freya Levy from the UK, who overcame muscular dystrophy to represent GB at wheelchair basketball, said; “I feel incredibly honoured to be chosen to be part of the program. To go to an elite top level performance centre and learn from a former Olympic Legend such as Michael Johnson is an incredible opportunity. I’m hoping the lessons I can learn will help me as I continue to pursue accessibility for disabled sport back in the UK. There is so much more I want to do in this area and I am so excited that the Michael Johnson Foundation will help me achieve it.”

    Coaches Across Continents is delighted to be a part of this initiative. As a global leader in sport for social impact, the organization was honored to be asked to facilitate the recruitment and selection of qualified young leaders for the project as well as supporting them before, during and after they take part in the course in Dallas. We are pleased to have been able to work with some of our implementing partners and offer this opportunity to their most promising young leaders. The selected young leaders have the capacity to become strong role models in their community and make the most of this life-changing project. We are extremely grateful to Michael Johnson, Beyond Sport and others who are helping these young people reach their full potential.

    Thanks to project partner Beyond Sport for the majority of this post.

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    Fatma, from Zanzibar, is one of the selected young leaders.

  • What Do Soccer, Mines & Jars Have in Common?

    CAC SDL coach and monitoring and evaluation strategist Sophie Legros talks about her week in Laos with Spirit of Soccer.

    February 13th 2015. I have to confess that prior to this past week, I knew very little about the country of Laos. Laos has the unfortunate distinction of being the most heavily bombed country per capita in the world. In consequence, Laos has one of the most extensive unexploded ordnance

    (UXO) problems in the world. The workshop with Spirit of Soccer (SOS) was taking place in Xieng Khouang Province, one of the most heavily contaminated provinces in the country.

    SOS is the international NGO that uses soccer to empower and educate young people about the dangers of mines in places that have experienced either past or current conflict. They use soccer as a vehicle to pass on crucial mine-risk education (MRE) messages to children and communities. The key messages of the week were “Keep Away” (or ‘Yu Hang’ in Lao), “Don’t Touch” (‘Ham Jub’), “Report” and “Communicate.”

    In addition to understanding more about Lao culture and history, I learned about the different types of weapons, the mine clearance process, the risks a community faces and what constitutes good and bad behaviors from experts from all over the world. The management team consisted of a multicultural delegation of experts in various fields from Iraq, Lebannon, the UK, the USA and Hong Kong. If that wasn’t enough, SOS brought together 40 female coaches from four countries across South East Asia (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar) to train them in how to use soccer to help stop children from being killed and maimed by land mines and UXO across the region.

    Alternating soccer sessions and classroom workshops in coaching and MRE theory, provided the participants – and the staff – with a comprehensive toolbox to provide quality MRE through soccer, impact their community and save lives. The five-day workshop culminated in a soccer and MRE festival for 200 local Lao girls where the female coaches led soccer and MRE sessions.

    Many of the women are already leaders in their communities and it was inspiring to hear their perspectives and see them integrate MRE messages that they will use to educate the children in their community that are at daily risk from the millions of unexploded bombs and landmines that litter South East Asia.

    SOS’s philosophy is that because of the huge popularity of soccer in the region, it is a powerful way to attract children and communicate vital safety messages. I truly appreciated the experience working with SOS and the entire management team and learning about new ways soccer is impacting lives around the world. Although Lao and MRE are less of an unknown to me, I continue to ponder the mystery of the giant stone jars that are scattered throughout the region. Most common legends are that they were used for brewing huge quantities of rice wine or that they contained human remains. Interestingly, only a few of the plain of jars sites have been found because of the multitude of UXO that have not yet been cleared.

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  • CAC Attends Trust Women Conference, 2014

    November 18, 2014. Dr. Judith Gates, CAC Board Member, attends the 2014 Trust Women Conference in London over the next two days. Trust Women is an opportunity for leaders from different sectors around the world to unite around a shared commitment to empowering women.

    Coaches Across Continents, global leaders in sport for social impact, puts commitment to action every day on fields around the world with our football for female empowerment curriculum. This is a great event for CAC to be a part of, networking with like-minded organizations to take strides in the quest for gender equality, but also for a range of outlets, from government to foundations to corporations and media, to learn about what CAC is doing from a women’s rights pioneer.

    Dr. Judith Gates has been an integral part of Coaches Across Continents from the organization’s inception. She is not only a key member of the Board but also the mind behind our ‘Chance to Choice’ curriculum and Self-Directed Learning philosophy. There is no better person to be representing CAC and all that we stand for in the name of female empowerment at such an international event.

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