• The World Cup starts in Mamfe

    June 29th 2014. Hello from Mamfe! We arrived here Sunday afternoon after a long, adventurous trip from Ngaoundere. We took the overnight train on Friday from Ngaoundere and arrived in Yaounde on Saturday morning. Then, we took a bus from Yaounde to Bafousam, then another bus from Bafousam to Dschung where we stayed the night Saturday night. Sunday morning we woke up and took another bus from Dschung to Bamenda, and then a private car from Bamenda to Mamfe. What an experience! I couldn’t believe how many people can fit into those busses!

    Mamfe is HOT and HUMID. I dont know that we’ve ever sweated so much in one week, but not even this sort of heat could slow us down. We hit the ground running on Monday to begin UAC’s third year of CAC training. There were about fifteen participating coaches at the beginning of the week, including several returning coaches from UAC. By the end of the week we had closer to 25 coaches, both male and female. Our trainings were hosted at Mamfe’s brand new FIFA Football for Hope center. We found out shortly after arriving that our CAC training would be the first event ever held at the center. It is a really beautiful facility, equiped with a classroom, a computer room, and an office next to the football field. Wallace, a Community Impact Coach from CFDP in Kumba, joined us in leading our Coaches Across Continents training. He did a great job of leading and coaching games and was great company to us this week. We are looking forward to seeing him in a week when we head to Kumba for CFDP’s training from June 23-27.

    It was fun to lead CAC program in it’s third year. For this week, we focused on environment care, HIV, child protection and gender equality. The HIV games were a huge hit with this group. These games brought out a lot of laughs and a lot of great discussions. There is a game we played called Adebayor In The Community that the coaches really enjoyed. This game represents how quickly HIV can spread and also how making good choices like getting tested for instance, can protect you from contracting the virus.

    The coaches that participated in our child rights training session Wednesday morning brought a spark to the discussions that carried us through the rest of the week. The new addition to the CAC curriculum was a great opportunity for coaches, teachers, and volunteers alike to discuss, openly and honestly, some of the ways in which children in Mamfe are marginalized. We talked about how sometimes children are expected to work for their families and that those responsibilities are engrained in cultural expectations but can impede on that child’s right to play. We discussed the possibility and importance of not ignoring thst cultural norm but working within it, within reason. If a child is expected to perform chores or work for their household, some of the coaches stressed that it is important that they support these roles at home but thst they intervene if these chores become problematic for that child’s social development. It was great to hear coaches talking about how to tactfully and respectfully interact with parents and work to resolve the issue so that the child can enjoy the benefits of play and contribute to his/her household.

    Another fun thing to make mention of is that the World Cup started this week! We had the opportunuty to watch it with some of the coaches here in Mamfe on Thursday and Friday night at a nearby restaurant that played the game on a big projector screen. The power went out just before the opening game on Thursday, but thankfully the restaurant was able to find a generator quickly so that we didnt miss more than the first few minutes. Cameroonians sure love their soccer!

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  • The Half Year in Review

    June 11, 2014. The FIFA Men’s World Cup is upon us and Coaches Across Continents has teams of coaches working with local partners in Kenya, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and starting shortly in four locations in Brazil. Even with all this activity founder Nick Gates also has found time to speak tomorrow morning for 25 minutes on Sirius radio on the Wharton Business network, channel 111 (Thursday, June 12th, 8:00 AM EST).

    With the world focused on the showcase event of the world’s greatest game, it seems like an opportune time to reflect on the real power of sport and how Coaches Across Continents is using football to create self-directed learners all over the world to educate about conflict resolution including social inclusion, female empowerment including gender equity; health & wellness including HIV/AIDS behavioral change, and life skills.

    One of the biggest stories of the year is our partnership with Chevrolet FC and Manchester United and their “What Do You #PlayFor?” campaign. This will be a two-year, ten-program, multi-country initiative that sees revitalized football pitches and sport for social impact education for local organizations all over the world. The first two “What Do You #PlayFor?” programs of the year were fantastic. Videos have been released detailing the work of Rumah Cemara (Indonesia) and their use of soccer to combat stigma against HIV/AIDS. In total these videos have garnered over 7.3 million views! Within the next month another set of videos will be released regarding our latest training in this campaign with fellow former Beyond Sport Winner Beyond the Ball in Little Village, Chicago, USA.

    This year has also seen our coaches on the ground with our Hat Trick Initiative partners in Haiti, Colombia, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Indonesia, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania (including Zanzibar), Cameroon, Zimbabwe, and the USA. Overall CAC is projecting that we will conclude 2014 having worked on field with our partners in 28 countries with an estimated 75 local organizations using sport for social impact. This will educate over 3,000 local leaders who will further impact 250,000 children. Even when CAC is not on the ground with our partners we are thrilled to see their progress and work with them through on-line resources. Recently our curriculum was adopted in schools in Nepal and Tanzania. On March 8th, our female empowerment games were played by our partner programs for International Women’s Day. CAC has also signed on with Peace One Day for their One Day One Goal initiative when our games will be played by organizations in over 130 countries on Peace Day, September 21st. The final global day that we support with our global network will be World AIDS Day on December 1st.

    Off field in 2014 Coaches Across Continents has spoken at top events including the Next Step Conference in India, the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia, Reach Out to Asia’s “Empower” Conference in Qatar, and the Hofstra Soccer Conference in New York where our Chief Executive Strategist, Brian Suskiewicz, had the great privilege of speaking with Pelé.

    Furthermore CAC is one of six organizations selected by UNICEF to develop a global child rights policy concerning children in sport. We are proud that in 2014 every participant of our coaching courses has had a practical and locally relevant Child Rights education session. Off field has also seen the launch of a new website, new branding and logos with the phenomenal work of the Taiji Group, and a more focused mission towards creating self-directed learners over the course of our Hat Trick Initiative.

    It is for all these reasons that Coaches Across Continents is the global leader in sport for social impact. Coaches Across Continents will continue to push forward as the global leader in sport for social impact as we continue our mission of enabling communities to create lasting social change through sport. As we move forward, we are working towards our vision of realizing the day when all governments, municipalities, schools and communities have the skills to use sport as a social impact tool and make the choice to do so.

    If you or your organization want to get involved or support Coaches Across Continents, please contact us at or find the information you are looking for on our new-look website, built by the Taiji Group!

     

    Pelé gets a chance to meet Coaches Across Continents Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz. (photo credit Zack Lane, Hofstra University)

    Pelé gets a chance to meet Coaches Across Continents Chief Executive Brian Suskiewicz. (photo credit Zack Lane, Hofstra University)

    Coaches Across Continents Communications Strategist Nora Dooley makes a friend in Haiti

    Coaches Across Continents Communications Strategist Nora Dooley makes a friend in Haiti

    Ginan (center) is the star of the new Chevrolet FC video highlighting the partnership with Coaches Across Continents

    Ginan (center) is the star of the new Chevrolet FC video highlighting the partnership with Coaches Across Continents

     

  • Make your World Cup predictions today!

     

    June 2nd, 2014. It is only 10 days until the World Cup starts in Brazil with the hosts playing Croatia in the opening fixture. That means there is only 10 days to join the Coaches Across Continents World Cup prediction bracket on Indiegogo! Do you think England will deal with the heat and go all the way? Can the US beat the odds and get past Ronaldo and the Germans? Or will Brazil be celebrating a home victory? Show us your predictions!

    By making a small donation to the Coaches Across Continents programming in Brazil during the World Cup you can get CAC and soccer related gifts alongside the entry to our World Cup prediction competition on ESPN. Former US men’s soccer World Cup player Tony Sanneh and famous US soccer broadcaster Seamus Malin have already made their predictions. Now it is your turn to see if you can beat the experts!

    Your donation will go directly to the Coaches Across Continents programs in Brazil through the six coaches who will be creating sustainable social change in Brazilian favelas throughout the World Cup. While the elite players compete on the worlds biggest stage the favelas will still be very dangerous places for youth and children. Drugs, gang violence, police brutality and social unrest have been ongoing problems for the 11 million Brazilians living in these areas.

    HELP TO MAKE THIS THE REAL LEGACY OF THE WORLD CUP AND SOCCER IN BRAZIL!

     Join Today

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  • CAC Empowers Leaders in Qatar

    IMG_9360March 31, 2014. Reach Out to Asia (ROTA), a member of the Qatar Foundation, hosted a three-day event in Doha, Qatar called EMPOWER 2014. CAC’s Chief Executive Strategist, Brian Suskiewicz, was invited to represent our organization as a key player in the field of sport for development.  This was ROTA’s 6th annual youth conference on leadership, service learning, and global citizenship.  For 2014 the underlying theme was Sport for Youth Empowerment.

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    Panel (l to r): Dr. Auma Obama (Sauti Kuu), Mark Haig (Liverpool Foundation), Pratik Kumar (Magic Bus), and Brian Suskiewicz (CAC)

    Over the course of these three days Brian participated on a panel, held a workshop, and ran an on-field session. The panel discussion was on “Sports for Education and Youth Empowerment” and Brian’s fellow panelists included Pratik Kumar, the CEO of our new partners, Magic Bus India, as well as Mark Haig, the director of the Liverpool FC Foundation and Dr. Aumu Obama from Sauti Kuu in Kenya. During this panel Brian told our story, answering questions such as, “How did your organization get started using sports as a way of engaging youth?” and “What is the biggest accomplishment that your organization has achieved by using sports?” He also spoke of the “power of sport” and what it means to our organization.

    The members of this conference were young leaders from the USA, Brazil, and the throughout Middle East between the ages of 16 and 26. A huge part of what we do at CAC, working with young leaders has its challenges but is infinitely rewarding. Brian took the participants through a classroom workshop centered on our self-directed learning model.  After speaking about how self-directed learning can be taught through sport, Brian engaged the participants in creating their own sport for social impact games, targeting social issues that exist in their own communities.  These games were presented to the group at the conclusion of the workshop.

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    On-Field sessions were held in the world-class Aspire Zone

    And save the best for last, Brian’s final task at the ROTA youth conference was the on-field session at the world-class Aspire Zone. Brian taught the up and coming games from CAC’s sport for social impact curriculum.  The identical three-one hour sessions with new groups of participants focused on using their voice to gain confidence and leadership while playing Circle of Friends, Ronaldo Skills, and then implementing the learned social message of voice into a game of Ronaldo for Fun.  The young leaders learned on-field how to integrate social impact messages in a fun and soccer-intensive way during their brief time on the field.  One young girl from Qatar came up after the session and told Brian, “That was the most fun I’ve ever had playing soccer” which was the highlight of the day for our Chief Executive.

    All in all, this was a great opportunity for CAC to share our work with a great group of young leaders and network with like-minded people and organizations that have similar aims – using sport to make the world a better place.  This conference comes on the heels of our recent participation in the Next Step Conference held in India in February and just prior to our upcoming presentations at the first-ever Hofstra Soccer Conference which will be held in New York in April, where Pele will be the guest of honor and receive an honorary degree.

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    Young leaders from around the globe after participating and learning on-field with Brian