Lead Us Today

Vision A generation of engaged and socially responsible citizens in Africa. Mission To inspire, mobilize and empower Zimbabwean young people to work together beyond socioeconomic barriers and lead community development efforts. Values Initiative. As an organization, we believe in taking the initiative to address pressing issues that young people face in their communities. Moreover, we are deeply invested in building the capacity of young people to take initiative in addressing their own challenges. We believe that taking initiative is critical in practicing leadership in communities and is integral in developing young people's capacity to be socially responsible and engaged citizens. I...
Mar 5, 2014

Lead Us Today goes global in 2014!

Medal won by LUT in UAE Forum
Medal won by LUT in UAE Forum

Dear Lead Us Today Supporter,

 

The year 2014 has been off to a great start and we would like to share this with you.

At the end of last year, our students completed the first part of our curriculum, which has a strong emphasis on training them on adaptive leadership and strategic thinking and planning. They also began the project brainstorming process in which they identified community development projects they would like to implement. Additionally, we held student seminars in Bulawayo, Gweru and Esigodini at the end of the 2013 academic school year, in which student representatives from our partner schools met to share and exchange ideas, experiences and thoughts on Lead Us Today and community work.

 

Continuing from this foundation work, students have started compiling project proposals and reaching out to various stakeholders in preparation for the socially innovative projects they will implement over the next few months. Some potential projects include equipping physically challenged individuals with arts and crafts skills and empowering orphans. The former involves teaching physically challenged individuals to make unique bags using natural resources such as reed grass. These green bags will be sold and the profits will be used to sustain the growth of the project while providing income flows for the physically challenged. The latter will see students teaching orphaned children how to make candles and sell these in order to finance their education. The candles are in great need in many areas due to the frequent power outages experienced in many areas in our country.

We established the Alumni Association for former Lead Us Today students to stay engaged even after they graduate from high school. They had a training session in which they gained basic skills on project management and problem analysis. In their efforts, they will continue with community work and have also started identifying activities to initiate in and around their communities. A few initiatives include generating alternative energy sources for high density areas which are most affected by power cuts; and teaching pre-teens in less privileged communities critical thinking skills through playing chess.

 

The most exciting news we have to share is that Lead Us Today was invited to participate in the 1st Global Forum on Drug Use Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The Forum which ran from 10-14 February was organised by the Colombo Plan Advisory Programme and the National Rehabilitation Centre and was created to address the ever growing risk of drug experimentation, use and abuse among the youth. There were 47 countries represented with over two hundred delegates in attendance.


Lead Us Today’s representatives were the CEO and Founder, Dalumuzi Mhlanga; one student from Nkulumane High School, Priviledge Nyathi and one of our leadership facilitators from Gweru, Philip Ndaba.

 

Most exciting, Lead Us Today came first place in the project proposal competition, which was part of the forum. For us to come top in a competition of such global scale speaks to the high quality of our work and our potential to develop many more young leaders and entrepreneurs. The proposed project aims to engage young people to lead enterprising lives and to steer away from using illicit drugs. Youths will undergo a series of trainings that educate them on the negative effects of drug and substance abuse.

 

Lead Us Today’s participation at the event is a means of demonstrating that engaging youth in various initiatives will build a generation of engaged and socially responsible citizens, who will steer away from irresponsible behaviour and adopt positive attitudes and to lead personal and community development efforts.

 

All of this would not be possible without your continuous support. Thank you for helping us raise close to $5,000 in the month of December. We greatly appreciate this support.

If you would like to donate to our project, please do so here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/train-1000-zimbabwean-students-on-leadership/

LUT Alumni in training session
LUT Alumni in training session
Dalumuzi, Philip and Privilege in UAE
Dalumuzi, Philip and Privilege in UAE
LUT presentation during Forum
LUT presentation during Forum
Dalumuzi giving a presentation in UAE
Dalumuzi giving a presentation in UAE
LUT students in Bulawayo student seminar
LUT students in Bulawayo student seminar

Links:

Dec 2, 2013

LUT embracing diversity and creating opportunity

KG VI Memorial LUT students brainstorming project
KG VI Memorial LUT students brainstorming project

Dear Lead Us Today supporter,

 

Building on your generous donations, Lead Us Today has grown in tremendous ways. Today, we work with close to 1,000 high school students in 20 schools across three of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces, providing them with one of the country’s most innovative and practical leadership and entrepreneurship training. Before sharing more specifics about our progress, we’d like to let you know of a unique opportunity to stretch your donation. Today, December 3, we are part of a matching campaign starting at noon, EST. Microsoft will match your donation to Lead Us Today, 100%! Please donate from as little as $10 on our active project page: http://goto.gg/12608.

 

Thank you for your generous, continued support!

 

An update: since our last report to you in October, our team of facilitators has worked diligently to deliver our training program, every week in our partner schools. This year, we are especially excited about expanding our programs so that they impact underserved youth with disabilities and those living in rural Zimbabwe. Here are two key highlights from some of our work:

 

  • At King George VI Memorial School, we are working with a lively group of 30 students. Every week, they meet with their facilitator, Michaela Farquhar and go through their workbooks learning about leadership, social innovation and simple strategy tools such as SWOT analysis. Our work with the 30 students with disabilities is very unlike many programs in Zimbabwe, many of which focus on donating clothes and food to special needs schools. By fully embracing the diversity we value, we are empowering both able bodied and disabled young people with the tangible skills that they need to excel as leaders and entrepreneurs.

 

  • Last year, two of our students, Jonathan Davies and Tatenda Madzorera, attended the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC. Coming back from their trip, they organized a version of the conference for our students to experience what engaging with young people from all over the world was like. Since then, we have developed a commitment to creating more opportunities for our students to gain international exposure. One of our students, who has been involved in our programs since Lead Us Today’s founding in 2010, Privilege Nyathi, has been selected to attend the first GoForth Leadership Forum on Drug Prevention in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in February 2014. One of our facilitators, Phillip Ndebele will accompany her. We are excited for the exposure she’ll get and how her experience will inspire others.

 

For us to be able to continue our work and scale our impact, we need to effectively deliver our programs this year. Please support us today and stretch your donation, which will be matched 100% if you donate a few moments after noon, EST. Donate here: http://goto.gg/12608.

 

As always, thank you for your continued, significant support. It is changing so many lives in Zimbabwe!

 

With deep gratitude,

Dalumuzi H. Mhlanga

Founder and CEO

Maranatha LUT club discussing social innovation
Maranatha LUT club discussing social innovation
Colorful LUT 2013/4 student training workbooks
Colorful LUT 2013/4 student training workbooks
Privilege Nyathi headed to Abu Dhabi, Feb 2014
Privilege Nyathi headed to Abu Dhabi, Feb 2014
Dec 2, 2013

Hear about your growing impact in Zimbabwe!

KG VI Memorial LUT students brainstorming project
KG VI Memorial LUT students brainstorming project

Dear Lead Us Today supporter,

 

Since your generous donation months ago, Lead Us Today has grown in tremendous ways. Today, we work with close to 1,000 high school students in 20 schools across three of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces, providing them with one of the country’s most innovative and practical leadership and entrepreneurship training. Before sharing more specifics about our progress, we’d like to let you know of a unique opportunity to stretch your donation. Today, December 3, we are part of a matching campaign starting at noon, EST. Microsoft will match your donation to Lead Us Today, 100%! Please donate from as little as $10 on our active project page: http://goto.gg/12608.

 

Thank you for your generous, continued support!

 

An update: In the last four months since the beginning of our 2013/4 programs in August, Lead Us Today has been off to a really great start. I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from the last few months, which set a promising precedent for the rest of the year:

  • Our first big undertaking as we started the year was celebrating the great successes of the 2012/3 programs cycle through a student project expo, which was attended by eighty of the students in our program. During the expo, our students reflected on their experience of the program and shared the process of designing and implementing their community development projects. The impressive projects, which they presented on include:
    • A catering business in Mpopoma High School with an enrollment of 2,000 students. Lead Us Today students recruited unemployed youth and arranged for them to receive catering lessons from professional caterers. Thereafter, our students helped the unemployed youth to open a canteen in the school that provides hot, nutritious meals to student and staff for only $1 – a much healthier alternative to the junk food students usually bought.
    • A community recycling project in the Nkulumane area, in which Lead Us Today students partnered with a recycling company in Zimbabwe, the National Waste Collectors (NWC). NWC regularly collects recyclable waste that students gather from schools in their area.
    • A business that makes and sells educational blocks that develop children’s analytical skills. The students make the educational blocks from scrap wood, which they cut into different shapes and sizes, and paint with different colors. The students sell these blocks to underresourced Early Childhood Development Centers around Bulawayo at very affordable prices.
  • In August, we recruited a deeply committed and diverse team of nineteen facilitators who went through a rigorous two-week training program. The team of facilitators includes a jazz artist, young businesspeople, recent high school graduates, college students and professionals. We are excited to see how this diversity enriches our students’ learning. During the training, the facilitators learnt extensively about leadership, social innovation, teamwork, monitoring and evaluation and how to communicate their ideas for social change through pitches and comprehensive project proposals. I invite you to meet our facilitators whose profiles are on our website:

http://www.leadustoday.org/our-people/zimbabwe-team/programs-staff/bulawayo/

http://www.leadustoday.org/our-people/zimbabwe-team/programs-staff/esigodini/

http://www.leadustoday.org/our-people/zimbabwe-team/programs-staff/gweru/

 

  • For the first time since our founding in May 2010, we are expanding! This year, we have increased the number of schools we are partnering with from eight to twenty. We are very confident making this leap especially because we have spent the last three years developing and refining our model. Our expansion has made it possible to reach groups of students who have great need for our programs. For the first time, we are working in rural schools where young people face challenges that greatly diminish their opportunities for leading innovative and entrepreneurial lives. Also, we are working in one of Zimbabwe’s very few schools for the disabled, King George VI Memorial School. Indeed, through working more with underserved young people, we are increasing our impact and transforming many more lives in unprecedented ways. Through this expansion, we are working with close to 1,000 students in twenty schools across three out of Zimbabwe’s ten provinces.

 

  • At the beginning of the school term in September, our facilitators began training our students in the schools where we operate. Over the next year, facilitators will meet with students every week for up to two hours and share our curriculum and their experiences, using the workbooks we have developed as a guide to students’ learning.

 

Please take time to look through pictures of our facilitators, students and staff which demonstrate their passion for our work.

 

In the coming year, we are excited to share with you how your support is making an impact in our students’ lives.

 

For us to be able to continue our work and scale our impact, we need to effectively deliver our programs this year. Please support us today and stretch your donation, which will be matched 100% if you donate a few moments after noon, EST. Donate here: http://goto.gg/12608.

 

As always, thank you for your continued, significant support. It is changing so many lives in Zimbabwe!

 

With deep gratitude,

Dalumuzi H. Mhlanga

Founder and CEO

Maranatha LUT club discussing social innovation
Maranatha LUT club discussing social innovation
Lead Us Today 2013/4 facilitators
Lead Us Today 2013/4 facilitators
The colorful 2013/4 LUT student training workbooks
The colorful 2013/4 LUT student training workbooks
Dalumuzi with 2012/3 LUT project beneficiaries
Dalumuzi with 2012/3 LUT project beneficiaries
2012/3 Sizane LUT students with educational blocks
2012/3 Sizane LUT students with educational blocks
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