• Localizing Solutions with The Sanneh Foundation

    September 9th 2015. SDL Coach Nora Dooley shares her thoughts on our growing partnership with The Sanneh Foundation and our recent training in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

    The United States and Haiti have a delicate relationship. From suspect political maneuvers to the post-disaster onslaught of NGOs ‘doing good’, I am often more convinced of the harm we have caused than the progress we have helped.

    This is a bit glass-half-empty, yes. But it comes from a place of concern. I am from the US (Boston, MA), and Haiti was the first ‘developing’ country I ever visited. I was there in 2012 and have been back twice with CAC in 2014 and 2015. I have been exposed to groups wanting so badly to ‘do good’ and actually causing harm, as well as organizations committed to long-term, locally sustainable, and the-US-does-not-know-best type of initiatives. One of the latter is led by The Sanneh Foundation (TSF).

    TSF is a non-profit based in the United States. They have programs running locally in Minnesota communities and internationally in Haiti with their Haitian Initiative (HI). CAC first began partnering with TSF in Haiti, running trainings for their HI coaches and supporting their work year-round from January 2014. We hit it off, so to speak, identifying early on that our passions and values lined up, laying the foundation for a great partnership. Later in 2014 we launched our On-Field relationship with the team in Minnesota, training TSF Dreamline leaders in CAC Self-Directed Learning methodology. Since its inception, the relationship has matured, exploring new ways to support TSF programs at home and abroad.

    Having personally led the Haiti trainings with HI for the past two years, I was excited to visit Minnesota (for the first time), learn more about TSF’s base, and work with this year’s batch of Dreamline coaches.

    The week was brilliant. I could not have asked for a better group of young leaders to teach and learn from; they were enthusiastic about life and education, they were intelligent and thirsty for new ideas, they were welcoming to an outsider (who kept championing the Patriots), and they were open and creative when asked to rise to various challenges.

    One of said challenges was particularly inspiring. Although we only had three days of training, the first two went so swimmingly that I decided to change the plan for the third and final day. Rather than continuing to teach new games to this group of coaches that was so sharp and quick in the uptake, I had them form small groups and come up with brand new games to teach each other about any social issue they chose. The outcome was – as we say where I’m from – wicked awesome. A couple groups chose to invent a game about the economic divide in the US and understanding privilege, others taught about bullying and discrimination, and still others about trust, leadership, and communicating to solve problems.

    My eager hope for this team of educators, a hope I share with the leaders of TSF, is that they continue to build off of this amazing creativity, sharing ideas with one another, inventing new games, and striving to find new solutions to the problems they see in their communities every day.

    My half-empty glass overflows when I get the chance to work with people like these Dreamline coaches. The Sanneh Foundation operates in the United States, and they have a project in Haiti. Their work sets a new standard for the relationship between the two countries; a standard centered on local people, with local knowledge, and local solutions. With a more complete picture of TSF, my excitement waxes for the future of our partnership, the promise of their projects, and the progress of the role our country is playing on fields foreign and domestic.

    IMG_3100

  • Homegrown Impact

    August 31st, 2015. SDL Coach, Nora Dooley, reflects on running her first program in the United States.

    I’ve been working for CAC for almost exactly two years. I have run trainings in dozens of countries and scores of communities – all foreign to the country in which I was born and raised: the USA.

    August presented a new frontier for my work with CAC. Although I know the States well when it comes to my personal lens, my professional lens had yet to glimpse our work on my home turf.

    Our first US partnership began in 2014 when Chevrolet built a portable field for Beyond the Ball in Chicago, Illinois as part of their #WhatDoYouPlayFor campaign. We have been involved in this initiative in many countries now, training local leaders in our curriculum in order to provide the communities that receive Chevrolet’s fields with resources capable of making the most of the new space.

    I recently returned to Little Village, Chicago to pay a visit to Beyond the Ball (BTB), work closely with their coaching staff, and further their training in sport for social impact. That portable field that Chevrolet built? A community treasure. It was amazing to see proof that this gift of sport was received by an organization fit to capitalize on the opportunity presented to them.

    During my week with BTB I learned a great deal about their organization, the people who work there, and the community they work in. With all of our programs there is a portion of training dedicated to discussing what it means to create a safe space for children to play and learn regardless of any differences they might have. Often, due to the poor conditions of the physical spaces our partners are tasked with using, the bulk of these discussions centers on the role of the coach in nurturing emotional safety. Beyond the Ball, however, opened my mind to the potential of a physical space to have incredible positive impact on an entire community.

    BTB has been running free programs in the Little Village community of Chicago for nearly 20 years. Their mission is community empowerment. They have created a niche where all members of the community are welcome, involved, and valued as part of a growing family. The results that they have seen over time and with great sacrifice are impressive. Like a business, they identified a gap in the market, filled it with passion, and are humbly plodding on, aware of their homegrown success and ever eager to do more.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my time getting to know this small organization with big ideas and the people capable of bringing them to life. Crossing the threshold from the known (foreign countries) to the unknown (the US) I was, honestly, more weary than I’d like to admit. I wasn’t confident in my ability to adapt to this seemingly alien culture in which I was once a part. A week with Beyond the Ball and my insecurities vanished. People are people no matter where you are. We all love to play, to learn, to love, and to laugh – especially at ourselves.

    B2B's field, courtesy of Chevrolet FC

    B2B’s field, courtesy of Chevrolet FC

    IMG_0741

  • US Women’s Team On The Brink…

    July 1st 2015. Last night the US Women’s Soccer team reached the World Cup final after defeating Germany 2-0. The team, which triumphed thanks to second half goals from Carli Lloyd and Kelley O’Hara, is now on the cusp of making history. They will play the final on Sunday July 5th against either England or Japan, who play tonight in the second semi-final. For some Coaches Across Continents staff and supporters there may be some split loyalties if the lionesses of England go up against the US! However, if the US win the final they will become the first team in Women’s World Cup history to win the tournament three times following their victories in 1991 and 1999. Can this team which includes stars such as Abby Wambach, Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe emulate their predecessors heroics in 4 days time?

    If you are supporting the US Women’s National Team on Sunday you could be in with a shot of completing a very impressive soccer double by entering our competition. There are only four days left to enter and be in with a chance of winning a signed 1999 US Women’s soccer team shirt! This unique shirt, signed by legends such as Mia Hamm, Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy, is an incredible piece of history. The competition draw will take place on Sunday just before the final kicks off at 7pm EST with the winner announced on Monday July 6th. Go to this page and enter the competition today to have a shot while also supporting CAC’s work on global female empowerment.

    You can win a piece of 1999 history on the same day the 2015 US Women’s soccer team try to create new history!

    ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE!

    2015-07-01t005806z_1446337228_nocid_rtrmadp_3_soccer-women-s-world-cup-semifinal-united-states-at-germany

  • 2014 In Review

    May 14th 2015. Coaches Across Continents are pleased to present ‘2014 In Review‘. In 2014 we had our most successful year yet. On-Field we worked in 26 countries with 74 implementing community partners and 1066 member partners. We educated 3,157 coaches who positively impacted 280,396 children. We implemented our Self-Directed Learning methodology which encourages participants to critically assess the needs of their community and create sport for social impact games to teach youth about these needs. Our child rights policy was signed by all 3,157 coaches who agreed to always protect children in their care. We increased the number of Community Impact Coaches who worked with us and partnered with organizations in 44 countries to implement games on Peace Day about resolving conflict peacefully.

    Off-Field we developed a mutually beneficial partnership with Chevrolet and One World Play Project based on their ‘What Do You #PlayFor?’ campaign. Pitches were developed in Indonesia, USA and South Africa where we ran sport for social impact programs. This partnership won Chevrolet the ‘Corporate of the Year’ award at the Beyond Sport awards. We also presented at high level conferences and events in places from India to Qatar and the USA. In addition we continued to develop our monitoring and evaluation system which has tracked significant changes in places in which we work. For example, 99% of coaches in Rwanda now know a soccer game to teach young people about how best to resolve conflict, compared to 33% prior to the CAC training.

    Take a look at ‘2014 In Review‘ for more information on 2014 and our plans to grow even further in 2015.

  • CAC Launch ASK for Choice Curriculum

    March 9th 2015. Soccer is the most loved sport on earth, played by over 265 million people worldwide. In 2006, only 10% of those 265 million people were female, the dominating 90% were male. In 2014, female participation was up to 14%.

    We are motivated to help this number grow.

    In light of International Women’s Day yesterday, we are launching our new female empowerment curriculum called, “ASK for Choice”. Our curriculum as a whole addresses why there is a need for gender equality worldwide. The games we have created challenge participants to start thinking about why things are the way they are in their communities… Like, where do women wish to have more choices in their life? Do women have a voice in their community? Can women be leaders in their community? We want people to begin to question what traditions have told them about the role of women in their society.

    Where do certain ideas come from? What has kept these ideas around? And can these ideas change?

    Choice is at the core of our work. Having the freedom to make our own choices in this world is a privilege that not everyone is granted. All across the globe, women are discriminated against. For years brave women have fought for equal rights and for years we will continue to fight for a world where all human beings are treated the same. Through our ASK for Choice curriculum, we have created games to give women the tools to become active participants in their own lives, and men the tools to include women in their society as equals; recognizing that society as a whole functions better when men and women have the same opportunities.

    Each segment of the ASK for Choice curriculum, Attitudes, Skills, Knowledge and Choice, contain 5 games. Tied to each game is a fact for each of the 5 countries we chose to highlight; Brazil, USA, Rwanda, Indonesia, and India. Each game has either a positive or negative fact tied to it about women. For example, “approximately 70% of the worlds poor are women and girls” or “women reinvest 90% of their income into their families while men invest only 30 to 40%.” Often times these facts spark discussion among the participants, and it gives them the opportunity to reflect on how women are treated in their community. The facts are crucial in understanding where we are in the world in terms of gender equality as well as recognize that although we have a ways to go, we have been and can continue to move closer to gender equality. ASK for Choice will be implemented in the 26 countries we work this year and aims to impact the 3,500+ participants we work with, along with the approximately 300,000 boys and girls the participants teach and play soccer with in all of our outreach areas.

    Alongside our ASK for Choice curriculum, we have started our own HeForShe campaign. Emma Watson’s goal with the HeForShe initiative is for men to advocate, break the silence and take action for the achievement of gender equality. Since the inception of CAC in 2008, it has been our mission to encourage men across the globe to empower women to rise up for the betterment of society as a whole, and we are inspired to see someone with a major influence in today’s society bring it to the forefront of world issues. We are happy to be a part of this movement and share our HeForShe efforts with the world through our new ASK for Choice curriculum. Happy International Women’s Day!

    To the fathers, sons, and brothers out there, show your support today and everyday, by standing strong for the amazing women of this world; for you are half the sky.

    To the mothers, daughters and sisters out there, everybody deserves to have a voice and a choice in this world; lets use ours to stand up and ASK for it; for we are the other half of the sky.

    We hope you had a great International Women’s Day! Go give a woman in your life a hug!

    Watch our latest female empowerment segment from our 2014 documentary below! To support this curriculum and be in with the chance of winning a signed 1999 US Womens’s World Cup jersey go to this page.