• Mariah Lee Reflects on Trip to the DRC

    Step Up Athlete and professional soccer player, Mariah Lee, talks about her first on-field experience with CAC, advancing gender equality in the DRC. 

    I have just returned home after spending two weeks in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While I have been a part of the Choice For Women team for more than a year now, this was my first on-field experience with CAC. For the majority of my time in the DRC, I led trainings on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention at the Malaika Community Center in Kalebuka as part of a global initiative with EngenderHealth to address UN SDG 5: Gender Equality. 

    In other words, I used Purposeful Play (i.e., sport/games/play) to teach community leaders about SRHR and GBV Prevention. They will go on to lead sessions in their communities, impacting hundreds of youth across the DRC. Elvis, head of the Malaika Community Center and long-time CAC accredited coach spearheaded the sessions, and together we graduated more than 40 leaders over the course of one week. 

    Reading and hearing about what CAC does is one thing, but experiencing it firsthand is entirely different. There is something really powerful about experiential learning and using play to spark dialogue and introduce concepts. This could look like a game of tag where taggers represent a sexually transmitted disease and the safe area represents a condom. This could also be a game of soccer or handball where scoring a goal symbolizes pregnancy and goalkeepers symbolize different types of contraception. Each game is designed to stimulate discussion and incorporate participants’ ideas and solutions. 

    You might think adults wouldn’t be that excited to get outside and play games all day, but the folks we worked with were incredibly enthusiastic! Our cohort had so much energy– we danced and chanted and laughed together every day. We had our share of serious moments, too. During the week we touched on topics such as reproduction, family planning, contraception, HIV/STI protection, reproductive rights, stereotyping, inclusion, opportunity, power dynamics, and safe choices. For many participants, this was their first time broaching some of these subjects. 

    Fortunately, we were able to create a safe environment where participants were able to ask questions about stereotypically taboo topics. I was able to correct misconceptions participants held about reproduction, contraception, and female athletes. Interestingly enough, the men in our cohort were more accepting of women in sport, and it was the women who were more apprehensive. Most of the women had played soccer when they were younger but eventually stopped because of pressure from their community. They were told playing soccer would make them become infertile, turn into a boy, lose their virginity, lose their breasts, etc. I gladly busted those myths!

    Outside of our SRHR and GBV Prevention trainings, I spent the majority of my time running soccer sessions with coaches and players– including girls from the Malaika School and boys from the surrounding community. In the DRC there is no public education. Parents either have to come up with the money for school fees or their children sit at home all day– or for many– at the local football pitch. I coached many boys who had little to no formal education, where football is one of the few pathways to a better life. Malaika is a tuition-free private school for girls founded by international supermodel Noella Coursaris Munsunka. Noella, who is Congolese and Cypriot was born in the DRC, but raised in the UK after her father died. Noella’s mother, like most Congolese women, had no education and could not support her. This reality fueled Noella’s desire to create opportunities for girls and women in her home country. 

    E-meeting Noella and being welcomed by the administrators at Malaika was incredibly inspiring and further cemented my passion for empowering Black girls. Being able to impact the girls and women of the Kalebuka community is something I will never forget! 

  • Goals, Voices, Choices

    Coaches Across Continents (CAC) is excited to be collaborating with fellow experts in leadership through youth sports- The Sports Creative (TSC). We both believe in the importance of giving young people the confidence to use their voices and tell their unique stories. Together we have co-designed a play-based curriculum guidebook which The Sports Creative coaches will be able to use in their 6 community programs worldwide in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Villa Hermosa, Dominican Republic; Valle de Chalco, Mexico; Mexico City, Mexico; Doha, Qatar; and Philadelphia, USA.

    Called ‘Goals, Voices, Choices’ the curriculum aligns with core Sports Creative model themes such as Our Community, Our Voices, and Our Culture, and will allow educational topics, typically delivered in a classroom setting, to be facilitated on the sports field. The Sports Creative have an existing activity pathway for all program participants which includes individual storytelling, personal development exploration, and creative art opportunities. This curriculum will link those activities to play-based games which empowers youth with confidence, and supports them to identify viable goals in well-being, education, and their lives. Balancing play-based activities with discussion-based activities will ensure youth with varying interests will engage with the program and benefit from the opportunities it provides.

    We will use the curriculum as a starting point for the collaboration between CAC and TSC. Our partnership goal is for more communities worldwide to benefit from collaborative support from TSC’s sport and storytelling partnership model alongside CAC’s sustainable consultancy.

    The Sports Creative and Coaches Across Continents are proud to both be program partners of the Rexona Breaking Limits Programme, developed in partnership with Beyond Sport. Following our work on the Rexona BLP The Sports Creative and Coaches Across Continents recognized the potential value of a collaborative capacity-building model leading to this partneship.

    Psychologist and Board member of The Sports Creative, Dr Renée Pirkl said:

    “This new curriculum offers a powerful positive development path for youth, based on their goals, voices, and choices. To play safely and inclusively, be heard and valued, and have choices and agency through opportunities. These core experiences increase self-awareness, self-esteem, and social skills; learning problem-solving and collaboration; experiencing community and connection; and building compassion, purpose, and resilience.”

    Coaches Across Continents Board Member and Educator, Dr. Judith Gates said:

    “We are honored to be given the opportunity to work closely with The Sports Creative. Having known about their unique process for the past 2 years it is clear they offer a level of youth empowerment that has not been seen before in the sport for social change sector. The importance of highlighting the voices and choices of young people can not be underestimated in a world where youth increasingly feel powerless. We are excited to collaborate to enhance each others work.”

    About The Sports Creative

    The Sports Creative believe every young person should have access to the power of play in their community. They create community-led sports & arts programs for youth, supporting their physical, social, and emotional well-being. They believe in the power of sport, the importance of creativity, and the voices of young people. A key starting block is accepting that young people understand their own context and needs. This empowers youth with confidence, and supports them to identify viable goals in well-being, education, and their lives. Their programs contribute to multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

    About Coaches Across Continents

    Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in using Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to address the UN SDGs and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our two brands work at all levels, from advising governments and creating corporate social purpose to advancing community organizations, developing coaches, and educating young people. CAC Instruct develops coaches and educators to deliver Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom by providing On-Field training, child safeguarding, and curriculum.

  • CAC Launches Women Led Choice For Women

    Choice For Women, a specialized women-led organization working within Coaches Across Continents, was unveiled today. Choice For Women aims to equip girls and women with the tools to become global Active Citizens, achieve UN SDG 5.1, and create a more gender-equal world. By utilizing CAC’s extensive resources, Choice For Women will amplify the voices of girls and women, and empower women-centered organizations, corporations, and initiatives across the globe. 

    While Choice For Women is new, CAC’s work in this area is not. UN SDG 5.1 (to end discrimination against women and girls) has served as a target for CAC since its inception, and has inspired many initiatives over the years. CAC’s ASK for Choice Curriculum: Attitudes Skills and Knowledge for Choice, was designed in 2014 and has since been used by over 100 of our community-based partners. Our Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) curriculum was created in 2019 as part of a nationwide initiative in Tanzania and is now used internationally. Additionally, the Step Up program, which focuses on career development for female professional athletes, is the first of its kind. Step Up provides athletes with the opportunity to gain vital work experience while developing their social voice with global impact! 

    In addition to the aforementioned initiatives, CAC serves many female educators and coaches, women-led organizations, and girl-focused groups. Choice For Women grew out of a need to consolidate all of CAC’s existing women’s-centered programming under one umbrella, and have a space solely dedicated to advancing the lives of women and girls that operates with the full thrust of CAC. 

    Thus, Choice For Women’s structure mirrors that of CAC, and is divided into four divisions: Influence, Innovate, Impact, and Instruct. Choice for Women Influence advises governments, confederations, global NGOs, policy makers, and key donors. Choice for Women Innovate creates Corporate Social Purpose and Cause Marketing legacies for corporations and foundations. Choice for Women Impact advances local organizations by delivering year-round sustainable, strategic resources. Choice for Women Instruct uses Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to develop women as leaders and educate young people through on-field activities and gender-sensitive curriculum. 

    If you would like to support Choice For Women, one opportunity is to participate in our live Auction and Raffle. Our esteemed auction item is a 1999 Women’s World Cup Ball signed by the championship-winning US Women’s National Team (including signatures from Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain, Brianna Scurry, Michelle Akers and Tracy Noonan). We are also raffling a mini-ball signed by the 2021 NWSL Champions: The Washington Spirit, led by Kelley O’Hara, Andi Sullivan, and Trinity Rodman. Bidding and raffle ticket sales close on December 13, 2021 at 11:59pm EST. 

     

    For all inquiries, please contact us at

  • Our New Collaborative Initiative With EngenderHealth

    Coaches Across Continents and EngenderHealth Receive Gift to Develop New Collaborative Initiative

    Tracy Noonan, member of the ’99 Women’s World Cup championship team, is proud to support the partnership between Coaches Across Continents and EngenderHealth to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality in communities worldwide.

    “We are supporting the collaboration between EngenderHealth and Coaches Across Continents because we believe in the strength of cooperation and the power of sport and purposeful play to deliver critical messages concerning sexual and reproductive healthcare,” said initiative donor Ben Kahrl. “We are particularly impressed with Coaches Across Continents’ innovative approach and the work they have done already in Tanzania. We are also impressed with EngenderHealth’s programming, transparent leadership, and commitment to promoting local leaders and honoring meaningful partnerships.”

    For 14 years CAC has been using our play-based and question-based educational methodology to provide a unique alternative to sexual health education with partners in more than 100 countries.  We are thrilled to be combining our efforts and integrating our approaches with EngenderHealth to amplify our collective impacts. Thanks to the Kahrl family, more young people and more communities will have access to the resources and information they need to lead safe and healthy lives.

    Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in using Purposeful Play and Education Outside the Classroom to address the UN SDGs and UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Our two brands, Creating Legacies 17 and CAC work at all levels, from advising governments and creating corporate social purpose to advancing community organizations, developing coaches, and educating young people. 

    EngenderHealth envisions a gender-equal world where all people achieve their sexual and reproductive health and rights. To achieve this vision, EngenderHealth implements high-quality, gender-equitable programs that advance sexual and reproductive health and rights. All of our work is guided by five core values—reflection: we question, challenge, learn, and adapt; inclusion: we are committed to equality, justice, and leaving no one behind; integrity: we are principled and honest, and we walk our talk; respect: we value the wisdom and agency of our collaborators, and appreciate our differences; and transformation: we seek bold ideas and opportunities to innovate for progress.

  • 1 Organization, 2 Brands, 4 Divisions

    Coaches Across Continents is thrilled to share our 2020 Annual Review! See how our diverse partnerships navigated one of the most challenging years in recent history. Find out how 1 organization, 2 brands, and 4 divisions work together to create brand legacies and impact 15 UN Sustainable Development Goals and 52 targets in over 132 countries.

    Click here to check out our 2020 Annual Review.

    If you work for a corporation, foundation, government, confederation, or professional sports club interested in a partnership with CL17 please email us at . Our Creating Legacies 17 brand is innovating Corporate Social Purpose (CSP). We help organizations design their CSP initiatives with every penny spent used to address the UN SDG’s.

    If you are an individual looking to donate to Coaches Across Continents please visit this webpage.

    If you are an organization interested in a partnership with our Impact division please visit this webpage.

    If you are an individual leader interested in a partnership with our Instruct division please visit this webpage.

    Thank you for your incredible support in 2020! Our work would not be possible without you.

     

  • COVID-19 Recovery

    In 2020, Coaches Across Continents (CAC), with the Commonwealth Secretariat, created a play-based educational resource, covering issues such as anxiety, self-esteem, and stress. 96% of CAC partners reported the mental well-being of youth they engage has been affected by the pandemic. The resource seeks to benefit any organisation, community, coach, or teacher who interact with young people. The activities are adaptable to participant numbers and restrictions (distancing, hygiene etc) so they can be used in contexts where social distancing and hygiene measures are necessary.  

    In many ways COVID-19 has brought the world together as we adapt to the lack of travel and group experiences by connecting online and through messaging platforms. We can increase access to sport for development by designing interactive learning techniques accessible for all such as global video sharing and collaboration, active sport for development video games, and virtual reality technology.

    COVID-19 has denied people the ability to socialise, play, and move, causing everyone to re-assess what really matters.  One of the key opportunities the COVID-19 pandemic recovery presents to sport and play is that its benefits have been reinforced in people’s minds. We can build back better post COVID-19 by re-emphasising sport and play’s role in the emotional and social development of young people as opposed to primarily its role in elite talent development. Coaches using resources such as our Mental Health through Sport curriculum in their work will transform the perception of play in the minds of young people, parents, teachers, and communities.