“Not everyone gets an opportunity to be in the Kisa Project and those who get that opportunity will find that it changes their lives completely”. That was the message shared by the Year Two Scholars (Form Six) when they were introducing the program to the new Form Five students who were being recruited.
Since 2010, the Kisa Project has expanded from two schools to twenty in the Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions. About 815 students in these partner schools have shown an interest in becoming Kisa Scholars this year. However, due to limited resources, only 592 students will get to experience the two years of leadership, personal development and community service training. At many schools, admission is more selective and the Mentors have to decide who can join. If there are too many Scholars in a class, the mentoring process will not be as effective.
Kisa Mentors consider these criteria to select the new groups of Scholars:
The recruitment process starts with introducing the project to the new Scholars. Those who are inspired enough then fill out the application forms. This is followed by an interview, and lastly, the names of the selected Scholars are posted on the school notice board.
During the interview, the most important question we ask the potential Scholar is what she expects from the Kisa Project. When answering, most of them spoke about the benefits shared by the Form Sixes during the introduction session. These include being confident, learning teamwork, fulfilling your personal goals, and achieving the vision you have for your community.
“I was inspired with the way the Kisa Scholars did the introduction for us. It seems Kisa enables girls to achieve their personal goals and be a part of the solution towards the challenges facing their societies.They spoke confidently and in a very strong and powerful voice. I can’t do that,” said one new recruit. Not yet, but before long, she will too!
Kisa Scholars learn about leadership, in part, though stories of great leaders around the world. One of the leaders they learn about is the great Nelson Mandela. We use his leadership principles in our Kisa Curriculum, including:
After two years of training, the students get a chance to start writing their own leadership stories by helping their communities solve different challenges. This program is called the 2 Day Challenge. On their own, scholars are required to research their communities’ challenges, come up with a project, organize the community members and do the project with them.
This year, the Kisa graduates did 37 different projects in communities throughout Tanzania. These projects included: fighting drug abuse, combatting Malaria, addressing issues of early marriage and early pregnancy, motivating other students to read different books, and tackling environmental issues, just to mention a few.
For these girls, it was their first time to do something like this. They had fear inside them, but that did not stop them from planning the projects, introducing themselves to the community leaders and stopping strangers on the street asking them to join the projects. They learned that Nelson Mandela was once scared on many occasions, but he overcame the fear. He believed that “courage is not the absence of fear, but overcoming the fear and in turn inspiring others to do the same.”
Like any other situation where you are doing something for the first time, the Kisa Scholars faced lots of challenges, but they persevered using the lessons learned in the Kisa Classes on Nelson Mandela. One group helped secondary school students prepare for their exams by educating them on self-awareness and time management. Their approach was to let the students first come up with possible solutions to this challenge. At the end, the Kisa Scholars concluded by giving them their suggestions. They applied the Mandela principle of “leading from the back” to show the students that they have solutions for their problems inside themselves; they only need to think deeper and work together.
Nelson Mandela has been an inspirational leader to many people, including our young Kisa Scholars. They use his principles to bring changes in their communities – and to become outstanding women.
End of Year One Presentations are done by Kisa Scholars after they conduct community assessments during their school breaks. The aim of the Year One Presentations is to see to what extent Kisa lessons have impacted Scholars in terms of their confidence, public speaking skills and, importantly, the ability of giving back to their communities.
During the school break last September, Kisa Scholars conducted community assessments and came up with several challenges facing communities. These included challenges such as drug abuse, early pregnancy, female genital mutilation, poverty, road accidents, polygamy, lack of toilets and the position of women in the society.
Kisa Scholars also identified the existing assets which could be used to address those challenges. This process is one of the first steps towards their leadership careers. Supported by their Kisa Mentors and the Kisa Curriculum, Scholars were able to come up with win-win solutions and sustainable social entrepreneurship projects.
On 30th January, 2016 the presentation event was conducted for Kisa Scholars at Moringe Sokoine and Orkeeswa Secondary Schools. The venue was Moringe Sokoine Secondary School in Monduli. The event was conducted in two sessions. The first session was about the Scholars presenting those challenges along with their creative solutions in front of the two judges and ten audience members in each room. Judges were AfricAid friends from different NGO’S in Arusha, and audiences were friends of presenters, including both boys and girls.
The second session was a small celebration that was conducted in the school hall, during which the judges gave feedback on Scholars’ presentations. Most of the judges spoke about personal development within the Scholars, such as improved confidence. Judges also complimented the Scholars for being creative with the solutions they proposed to address the challenges. One of the judges said “it is such an inspirational thing to see young women, being upfront to find out what are the challenges facing our communities and come up with unique solutions”. The judges also selected the best Scholar from each room.
A representative from Moringe Sokoine Secondary School, Mr. Haruna, provided Certificates of Completion to the 26 Scholars who did their presentations. He congratulated the Scholars for being active and committed not only to Kisa but also their studies.