Irish coaches in workshop on sport for social impact
2017-10-15 06:15:00 -

By Ken McCue

A global leader in the movement of sport for social impact movement, Coaches Across Continents (CAC) landed in Dublin earlier this month for a series of workshops with their strategic partner Sport Against Racism Ireland (Sari). 


The sessions, led by the US-based initiative’s on-field coach Nora Dooley, involved boys and girls drawn from Sari’s Soccernites and Hijabs and Hat Tricks programmes, facilitated by Sari coaches Amina Moustafa and Azeez Yusuff.


Sari expressed their delight at being selected by CAC as a European partner as its own work plan and development programmes for marginalised youth fits very well with the philosophy of the multinational outfit. 


CAC supports community-based groups from 95 countries, enabling them to utilise year-round strategic resources to design, develop and implement sustainable social impact programmes through sport. In doing so they focus on local issues such as female empowerment, including gender equality; conflict prevention, including social inclusion; health and wellbeing, which includes changing behaviour around HIV/Aids; children’s rights; and vital life skills.


The key to their success is a unique, self-directed learning model that teaches people to identify, address and solve problems specific to their communities. Mentoring helps equip such communities to question harmful traditional, cultural and religious practices, responsibly choose their own futures, and create sustainable change.


Self-directed learners possess attitudes such as independence of mind, confidence in their own judgment, a greater sense of self-esteem, and the ability to co-operate and collaborate with others. They are independent thinkers who can define and solve problems, reason logically, engage in their own ideas and imaginations, and set plans to achieve them. They also have the ability to reflect upon experience and learn from it.


The predominant approach to change in developing countries is typically top-down, outside-in, and deficit-based. In the case of NGOs, this frequently manifests itself in a ‘west knows best’ approach, by which foreign experts identify what they perceive to be local community issues, and expect their recommendations to be adopted for change to happen. This process rarely includes local perspectives or input.


Conversely, the guiding principles of CAC’s theory of change are that it should be based on building community capacity. Change is fostered from within by empowering local partners. The CAC curriculum is structured to create self-directed learners who can identify, analyse and address local concerns, and to see the world in a fundamentally different way.


The ‘training of trainers’ element of the workshop engaged the Sari coaches and youth leaders in a ‘From Chance to Choice’ module, focusing on the principles of moving from the chance and conformity of an unquestioned lifestyle through deepening insight to the recognition of potential choices. Personal life skills are required to make and act upon these choices.


Following intense but very enjoyable workshop sessions, Dooley presented the participants with their completion diplomas and had high praise for the dedication of the Sari youth leaders and coaches.

TAGS : SARI Sport Against Racism Ireland
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