We’re very happy to provide you with another update on AfricAid’s Kisa Project, which with your support, provides life-changing training and mentoring for secondary school girls in Tanzania.
In addition to the regular curriculum, taught through the weekly two-hour long Kisa Class, Kisa Scholars take part in a number of other training and development activities. One of the most important ones is the End of Year One Presentations.
Year One Presentations allow Scholars to draw on much of what they have learned throughout their first year by undertaking a community assessment. With the support of their Kisa Mentor, each Scholar identifies an issue or problem of particular concern to the community they assess and then identifies a creative and sustainable solution. They then present their community, issues and solution to a panel of three judges and an audience of their peers. Common issues include poor sanitation, lack of educational opportunities, poor health facilities and violence against women.
The Presentations allow Scholars develop and practice skills such as research, evaluation and public speaking. While most are quite nervous about giving their presentation, the celebrations afterwards are always enjoyed by all.
In mid-January AfricAid staff returned to work after a well-earned break, and 423 dedicated Kisa Scholars returned to their respective schools and resumed their Kisa leadership and life skills training.
One of the schools we partner with to deliver the Kisa Curriculum is Orkeeswa Secondary School, a unique rural school serving a mostly Maasai population. Orkeeswa students come from a community that is marginalized and impoverished, with very limited access to education.
The Kisa Curriculum is normally taught to girls in their final two years of secondary school – Forms 5 and 6, also known as Advanced Levels. But at schools like Orkeeswa, very few girls enjoy the kind of circumstances that allow them to make it that far. So in 2013 AfricAid decided to recruit Form 3 and 4 girls and teach the Kisa Curriculum to them. Just having made it to secondary school is a massive achievement and these girls are already considered potential community leaders. So teaching them leadership and life skills is very appropriate and is proving to be a great success.
The new school year for Forms 3 and 4 commenced in January and we have recently finished recruitment at Orkeeswa. 12 girls have just started Year 1; last year’s Year 1 girls (18 of them) have just started Year 2 of the program. Kisa Mentors Eligrania and Gladys have been delighted with the progress of the Scholars to date and are looking forward to the year ahead, as they watch the transformation of these young women, especially in terms of confidence and self-belief.
Reaching out to girls like those who attend Orkeeswa would not be possible without the generosity shown by our Global Giving donors. Again we say thank you very much. We hope that each donor gets as much satisfaction out the success of the Kisa Project and the achievements of Kisa Scholars as we do. Please keep giving – to date we have raised almost half of our Global Giving target of $75,000 to keep the Project going.
We are delighted to be able to report on the ongoing success of AfricAid’s Kisa Project, which with your support, provides life-changing training and mentoring for secondary school girls in Tanzania.
The most important event on the Kisa calendar is undoubtedly Career Day. Career Day brings together current Kisa Scholars, inspirational Tanzanian women leaders and a wide range of career professionals for a full-day career and leadership forum. The aim is to create a networking opportunity for scholars, give them access to individuals already well-established in careers that are of interest to them, allow them to hear from passionate and successful Tanzanian female role models, and to allow them to share their challenges and successes with their peers.
Career Day 2014, held in October, was a huge success! 430 enthusiastic current Kisa Scholars attended the event, along with a further 70-odd special and invited guests. Upon arrival, each girl was given a t-shirt (which are very highly valued by Scholars), a notebook, and a pen. Each of the three guest speakers was warmly welcomed, and their key messages about resilience, strength, courage and determination in the face of adversity were taken on board by scholars, who tell us that the day both inspired and motivated them to follow their dreams. Scholars later participated in small group sessions led by career professionals. They also had a lot of fun catching up with each other, and very enthusiastically enjoyed the performance of well-known Tanzanian entertainer and female activist Nakaaya Sumari. Quite a few girls took to the stage with her, perhaps indicating the success of the confidence-building component of Kisa!
When you support the Kisa Project, you allow us to hold incredibly beneficial special events like Career Day. We have seen the great benefits the event brings to scholars, and we thank all our donors very much for helping us to hold the event in 2014.
The 2013-2014 school year was a great success with 120, the total amount of year-two Kisa Scholars, graduating from the two-year leadership program! Even better, all 120 girls passed the national exams and are going to university to pursue their dreams. This is outstanding for a country in which less than 1% of women have any education past secondary school. Our Kisa girls are resilient, confident young women who are determined to get a higher education and pursue a worth-while career.
" I really give a word of thanks to AfricAId for having found this organization which aims in strengthening the women in our society. I am proud and I appreciate the Kisa Project because I believe I am going to be a very courageous girl and a good leader. The world is always waiting for just a single person who can be able to stand for all the people and for the girls of Tanzania. Through AfricAid we will be abel to stand on our own feet to live a good life full of courage. Thank you!"
- Rebecca (AfricAid Kisa Scholar)
Potential Partner School Outreach
As mentioned in the March Report, Kisa is expanding to Moshi, Tanzania. So far, the Tanzanian staff has conducted meetings with five of the original eight schools we targeted to approach as potential partner schools, and an additional school which has been added to the list. These meetings were all incredibly positive. All six schools were enthusiastic about the mission of the Kisa Project, the potential benefits of Kisa for their students, and several administrators had heard positive feedback about AfricAid from colleagues. The mentors and staff in Arusha are extremely encouraged by the response to these meetings.
Most Kisa Scholars are competent in the most common form of technology in Tanzania - cell phones. Unfortunately, they are often not able to gain access to computers with basic word processing and web browsing programs. Almost all Kisa Scholars are A-Level students, and though A-Level studies are college preparatory years, applied technology training is not well-integrated into the curriculum. When Kisa Scholars reach university (90% of Kisa Scholars move onto university), they will be required to conduct research online, as well as submit all written work typewritten, using a word processing program.
This is why it is critical to incorporate computer literacy into the Kisa curriculum as we strive to give Kisa Scholars the tools to thrive in their academic lives. The schools with whom AfricAid has partnered with have also seen the value of computers, not only for the Kisa Scholars, but for all their students. Providing computers has historically been an important incentive when reaching out to new partner schools. The schools we have approached to partner with in Moshi almost all have existing computer labs, but all are eager to add additional computers and programs to improve their existing labs.
Both the AfricAid staff in Tanzania and the US are happy with the positive response received from potential Kisa partner schools. The Arusha staff will be meeting with the head masters again soon to finalize partnerships. We are so thrilled to be expanding to reach new girls and their communities.
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