• Football for Female Empowerment

    Why is it important for girls to play sports? This is a question we ask all of our participants, all over the world. Our female empowerment initiative here at CAC is all-inclusive… meaning we hold ourselves to higher standards than we hold the rest of the world. Our team is made up of at least 60% female coaches, and we do not accept partner programs that do not include women in their activities. It is important to understand, however, that gender equity is the ultimate goal. Yet, so often we hear the phrase, “she doesn’t play like a girl.” What does this mean? How do we move away from this type of mentality that so generalizes and devalues female potential?

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    The need for female empowerment on a global scale is urgent. We recognize that need and in response, allow it to permeate throughout our organization on and off the field. On-field, aside from leading programs with female senior staff and the most female-empowering men you’ve ever met, we have injected it into our curriculum. Every player has a Gender Equity game. An example of one of these games is Messi for Gender Equity. This game addresses violence with particular attention to violence against women and girls.

    In order to bring these issues to the forefront we play a game with variations that point to specific topics. In the first round there are the taggers that represent different forms of violence – physical, emotional, verbal, sexual – that chase the others around a box that represents their community. If tagged, the player has to freeze with one hand covering their mouth, signifying the inability to speak. We will stop and have a brief discussion about that round and how difficult it was for the players being chased. We will ask who in their community can help put an end to violence against females and those answers will elicit a ball. The footballs can be passed among the players being chased, representing members of the community that can help prevent violence and also assist those that have been victims of violence. The players in possession of a ball are safe, and those that are frozen can be freed if a ball passes through their legs. The final round of this game allows the frozen players to call for help, demonstrating that an act of violence did not take away their voice.

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    Messi for Gender Equity is a terrific game of tag that incorporates the ball and captures the essence of violence – the affects, how to stop it, how to help each other, how to help ourselves. The game embodies the message, and the details come through in the discussions, which, as always, vary as the culture varies. A group of sixty middle-aged men in the toughest neighborhood of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Cité Soleil, Haiti, is going to have a different discussion from a group of twenty teenage girls in downtown Mumbai, India.

    With this game, and many others, an obvious target is the voice. A massive part in all that we do, the voice is the most powerful tool that we can use to make our own decisions in life, to make our own choices. Every person, young or old, female or male, is entitled to a voice and a choice, and we work to empower them to claim those rights.

    Our Monitoring & Evaluation shows us that participants who know how to use football to give young girls a voice and to have confidence to make personal choices jumps from 17% before to 96% after a CAC training.

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  • International Women’s Day is Approaching!

    1240558_515175748565176_1430260826_nMarch 3, 2014. International Women’s Day is just around the corner on March 8th and Coaches Across Continents is supporting it in full force. Inspiring change is the theme for International Women’s Day this year, and people around the world will be celebrating social, political, and economic achievements of women while focusing on further promoting women and girls everywhere.

    All of CAC’s partners will be participating on March 8th, highlighting an important female figure in each of their respective communities or countries that they feel have made an impact in their everyday lives.  This past year women throughout the world have been making waves, and Women’s Day is a time to celebrate and to shout out loud that women have the right to equality.

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    CAC partners have many monumental moments from 2013 that they can highlight on March 8th. This past year has been an inspiring year for women including events like the phenomenal speech that Malala made at the United Nations, and the mass crowds and supporters standing up in India and around the world to raise awareness and stop rape. Women and girls across the globe fight everyday to be treated equally in society, and March 8th is just another day to be heard, and to show girls they deserve the chance to become anything they choose.

    Many CAC partners will be playing female empowerment games this year and hosting tournaments for the young girls and women in their communities. GOALS Haiti will be hosting their second Women’s Day tournament this year while also hosting a boys tournament to incorporate both genders and have an even playing ground. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for pictures and stories that we will be sharing from our partners’ Women’s Day events.

    And look out for CAC’s Official Documentary of 2014 being released this Women’s Day. A beautiful video capturing our partnership with Slum Soccer of Nagpur India, it also fittingly highlights some incredible young women changing the game in their community.

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  • Girls participating in the Kisumu event

    Using Sport to Celebrate International Women’s Day

    Girls participating in the Kisumu event

    March 24, 2012: International Women’s Day is celebrated differently all around the world with the common theme of focusing on the achievements and contribution made by girls and women in their communities. That is also how Coaches Across Continents celebrated this important day with the launch of the initiative – Soccer Moms Across Continents, to encourage former and current players to lead projects that contribute to the work of Coaches Across Continents. We have had many women express interest in volunteering their time to Coaches Across Continents so this gives us a platform to funnel these efforts.

    Many of our partner programs proudly shared with us the activities they organized for girls in their communities on March 8th. Each program focused on providing soccer based activities for the girls in their communities and they conveyed to us great success stories.

    Kisumu celebrates IWD with skills testing

    In Kisumu, Kenya, 50 girls from 6 teams participated in a soccer skills challenge. This was the first time the organization hosted an event on IWD and the group was very pleased with the results. Girls’ efforts were rewarded with soccer equipment and each participating team received recognition for their participation.

    In Tanzania, Coach Nico continued his outstanding work in schools and in the community by working with women sex workers and female school children to educate on life skills and health and wellness.  In Buwate, Uganda the leaders of the program are challenged by the fact that many girls and women are under threat of harmful traditional practices that affect their physical integrity. For many reasons, sports play an important role in empowering the women to take control of their bodies and make their own decisions. Buwate offered training based on the Marta activities from CAC’s Chance to Choice Curriculum.

    Girls from the Buwate Youth Sport Academy

    These activities are named after one of the best female players in the world and are designed to encourage girls to work hard individually and collectively. The games create environments where girls are challenged to think creatively to solve problems.

    Focusing on female achievement and contribution shouldn’t be a one day theme and at CAC we work hard to create environments through our chance to choice curriculum where female coaches and players are not only always included but encouraged to take on leadership roles, make good choices, think creatively while addressing problems and practice essential life skills through football activities.