January 2nd, 2010.
The World Cup in South Africa in 2010 provides many opportunities for the world to learn about the wonderful people from the African continent. And for Coaches across Continents, 2010 will be a year full of exciting challenges.
When we initially started Coaches across Continents based on our ‘Chance to Choice’ soccer education curriculum we had two particular goals.
- We wanted to create an educational teaching model that promoted local ownership and long term sustainability .
- We wanted everyone who was part of our program to have life changing experiences.
In 2009, we made significant steps towards achieving these goals.
We added two new programs, one in Monze, Zambia and one in Blantyre, Malawi. Both partner groups were outstanding and our coaches were able to develop new teaching styles and new curriculum games to add value to the existing local programs. In Kigoma, Tanzania our pilot community entered its second year with the same great enthusiasm as year one and more than 100 teachers became part of our program. Our partners saw some encouraging social successes, including an increase in school enrollment, decrease in school crime and a reduction in young teen pregnancy.
In 2009, the work of our coaches was recognized when Coaches across Continents won the prestigious Beyond Sport Award for the Best New Global Project for Sport for Social Development. Additionally, we were a finalist for Best Global Project for Diversity at the SCORE4africa awards.
Since winning the international Beyond Sport Award for the Best New Project for Sport for Social Development, we have been approached by communities in 5 continents to run our Hat-Trick Initiative program in 2010. Whilst our work is replicable and sustainable, the demand for Coaches across Continents programs far outweighs our current capacity to meet that demand. As well as continuing our work in the US, our Boards have had to be selective in making strategic business decisions to add programs on the African continent to build on the momentum of World Cup 2010. We have accepted some particular and unique challenges for 2010.
In Uganda, we have partnered with two organizations who are working with child soldiers, girl sex slaves and orphans. Using sport, we plan to develop community driven programs that build new social norms for these children.
In Kenya we have partnered with two FIFA Football for Hope programs to develop their teaching styles to tackle issues like HIV and gang violence. We have also accepted two partner programs in the townships of Nairobi and are building programs to cope with gender violence and tribal differences.
In Tanzania we have added a second program alongside our Kigoma Municipal Education partner and have agreed to work with student teachers in Kasulu who will take teaching jobs all around the country thus disseminating our Soccer for Social Development curriculum, games and teaching styles to children throughout Tanzania.
In Malawi we will start our second year with another FIFA Football for Hope program to develop their curriculum and teaching style in order to reduce threats of violence against children.
In Zambia we are working to make an existing program even more effective by helping them transition from a reliance on foreign volunteer training to a locally owned program where local teachers and coaches train foreign volunteers, thus ensuring the consistency of messages to the local children.
In the US we continue to work with the Urban Soccer Collaboration and US Soccer Foundation to develop educational games for inner city children that concentrate upon prevention of gang violence and health and wellness.
Our Coach Advisory Board has decided that there are 4 main areas that we will concentrate on from our on-line curriculum.
The first is Football for Health and Wellness, a way that we can teach whole communities how to stay healthy despite extreme conditions. Within this program we teach about HIV prevention and discuss the social stigmas attached to HIV.
Secondly, we continue to grow and evolve our Football for Female Empowerment program with the aim of giving girls and women ‘a voice and choice’. We are delighted to add Sara Noonan Simonds as the leader of this program. In 2010, we will be partnering with existing women’s programs to teach how sport can be used to improve lives and roles of women in developing communities.
Thirdly, we continue to grow our work with Football for Conflict Resolution. The games and teaching styles from this part of our curriculum help address gender, tribal and religious differences to enable communities to solve differences collaboratively, thus moving forward together
And fourth, we maintain the stance that allows children to laugh and enjoy themselves. So we continue to grow our Football for Fun games from our on-line curriculum. Some foreign NGO groups deliver social messages very strictly, thereby alienating the children. For all coaches delivering our programs, the power of sport can best be seen in fun and laughter. Our teachings are on the field, with ‘play’ and demonstration rather than abstract instruction.
Our Business Advisory Board recognizes challenges to our opportunities in 2010. Our most immediate challenges are:
- Transporting coaches and educational equipment throughout Africa .
- Developing our on-line ‘soccer for social development’ educational program in order to provide year round development opportunities.
- Developing basic sports community educational facilities to ensure sustainability.
- Connecting our partners and donors through our social media outlets.
The Business Advisory Board has developed a unique Corporate Social Responsibility 2010 Program to find solutions to these exciting challenges.
So, we look forward to 2010 and thank everyone for their support of all the programs around the world who are using sport for social development. We look at 2010 and see exciting challenges to be overcome in order to optimize the many life enhancing opportunities presented.
The Boards and Coaches from Coaches across Continents.