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Entries in Sport for Development and Peace (2)

Wednesday
Jul092014

Coaches Across Continents

I recently wrote a piece discussing the challenges of adding critical pedagogy to Sport for Development programs due to the obstacles these programs face. Simply garnering community support for girl’s athletics, attaining and shipping equipment, and then developing program infrastructure are giant hurdles. When looking at the day-to-day issues, coach training and pedagogy too often become lower priorities on the list. However, it is the coaches with their incredible cultural insight and local knowledge who make the program possible. Inherent to their role is the task of supporting participants in challenging times.

 

The coaches are in the trenches improving their communities and as such, shouldn’t we be whole-heartedly investing in them? The first week of June, we did just this when we partnered with Coaches Across Continents, a non-profit organization that trains coaches in the SDP field. Forty-five coaches and potential coaches from BGF and other sporting programs within the region attended the workshop hosted by Breaking Ground. The curriculum covered various methods coaches can use to address topics such as health, conflict resolution, and social inclusion through football. CAC will continue to work with these dedicated coaches for three years.

 

The coaches responded positively to the program. BGF Coach Mamboula Nziengle Prisca stated, “Before I had the idea of associating social issues with sport, but I didn’t have strong arguments for approaching parents and other interested community members. Now I can explain that this is a life tool for our children. My role as the coach isn’t just about sport, but to raise social awareness.” Former professional footballer turned coach, Aoudo Serge Nico, agreed that the program was beneficial remarking, “This training helped bridge the gap between sport and social education. It’s a great tool for football programs in the region.”

 

Breaking Ground is based on community initiative. Thank you to CAC for giving BGF’s coaches new ideas and tools to apply to their community. This is an exciting time and we look forward to seeing the program develop! 

Tuesday
Jul082014

Thanks Chevrolet! 

Every few years Breaking Ground reaches out to donors, soccer clubs, and athletic companies for our girls’ soccer program—Breaking Ground Football. Writing letters and making calls on behalf of these brave girls is, however, just a small step in the process. Ngaoundere, where the program operates, is located in the Adamaoua region below northern Cameroon. It’s geographically and culturally the crossroads of this region in Africa. The main paved road from southern Cameroon to northern Cameroon passes by the city, and it’s only a few hundred miles south of Nigeria and west of Central African Republic.

 

With this location, one would think getting equipment here would be a breeze. But this isn’t so. Once equipment is donated, it must be shipped from North America across the Atlantic to arrive in Douala. Once in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital, it must be inspected and cleared by customs; a process that too often includes an argument over attempted bribery—this time it took six months! Then, it must travel three hours by bus to Yaoundé to be put on the only viable transport option through this region, the train.

 

Our players anxiously waited for One World Futbol’s indestructible balls. These balls will last a lifetime on Cameroon’s rough football fields. Breaking Ground is fortunate that Chevrolet— the automtive company— not only donated the balls, but assisted in getting them through customs and on the field. Breaking Ground thanks Chevrolet and their Corporate Social Responsibility team for supporting our girls on the field!