Each fall, Career Day is the culmination of nearly a year's worth of career exploration for girls in their second year of Kisa Project. Scholars work in groups over several months to select and research future careers. On Career Day, Scholars give a presentation about their selected careers to professionals who work in those fields. Afterward, professionals stay to answer questions and share advice on how Scholars can reach their career goals.
Lily* is a Form 6 Scholar at Maasae Girls Lutheran School. For Career Day, she joined a team of Scholars that wish to become fashion designers.
Inspired by Christian Dior, she created a wedding gown, complete with accessories from earrings to sandals, made completely out of newspaper. This is how she came up with the idea:
“In my leisure time, I look on Instagram for Christian Dior, and I see many designs of clothing and shoes. I wanted to design a wedding gown. But I didn't have a piece of clothing. So, what can I do? What I can afford right now is using magazine [newspaper]. After making that gown, I also used magazine to make the earrings, also a necklace. I became a woman in the wedding.”
After their presentation, Lily and her team of fashion designers had the opportunity to meet with a professional designer via Zoom. She was inspired by advice she received from the professional to think about her designs a lot, and to let them evolve. When a design is in one’s mind, she learned, it can sometimes be very different once the work begins to apply that design. She learned to be open to opportunities to change and iterate her designs as she creates them.
When Lily grows up, she wants to become an important fashion designer, just like Christian Dior. She will apply the lessons she learned today as she advances her education and training.
“I think today I got something more than which I could never wonder to get. So, thank you for Kisa and thank you for this Career Day. They inspire me to do much!”
Do you know someone with Christian Dior? Reach out to email@example.com to let us know! We'd love to connect and let them see how they inspired Lily to reach for her dreams!
*To protect her privacy, Lily is not this Scholar's real name.
On October 11, 2022, the International Day of the Girl, AfricAid’s sister organization, GLAMI, received the 2022 UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education. GLAMI implements, measures Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu, mentoring programming for secondary school girls in Tanzania that is supported by AfricAid, thanks to you!
GLAMI was honored October 11 at a ceremony at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, which was followed by a panel discussion with prize laureates on the theme ‘Her rights, our future: Transforming girls’ and women’s education.’ The recognition comes with a $50,000 prize that GLAMI will use to expand their reach into the Morogoro District of Tanzania in 2023, through their Binti Shupavu program for younger girls in their first four years of secondary school.
This tremendous honor for our partner began 20 years ago, with the simple desire of AfricAid’s 16-year-old founder to help girls her own age secure educational opportunities. Today, after two decades of partnership, trust, hard work, and dedication, GLAMI’s mentoring programs, supported by AfricAid, are helping more girls transform their own futures – and are now winning global awards! The AfricAid/GLAMI story is one of true partnership and is something to celebrate. This programming is possible thanks to donations from generous individuals like you.
Learn more and view photos from the event, as well as a recording of the ceremony at https://africaid.org/unesco/
Your gifts help AfricAid support Kisa Project, a 2-year socially responsible leadership course managed and led by our local Tanzanian partner, GLAMI. At the end of a girl’s time in the Kisa Project, she works together with her peers to identify and address an issue affecting her community. This 2 Day Challenge is the capstone of the Kisa Project, the culmination of many months of planning, observing, advocating, and working together as a team.
Throughout this project, Scholars apply knowledge and skills gained in the classroom in a real-world setting, directly benefiting their communities. The 2 Day Challenge often inspires Scholars to turn their ideas into action once they graduate the program and become proud Kisa Alumnae, demonstrating to the world that girls and young women are more than capable of initiating widespread positive change.
This year, GLAMI supported several 2 Day Challenge projects across Tanzania. Here are examples of their work:
ASHIRA SECONDARY SCHOOL (Group 1)
Scholars from Ashira Secondary School planted fruit trees to encourage better nutritional health among the school’s students. The trees are expected to fruit in the next two years! Access to fresh fruit on campus will vastly reduce the amount of money spent on produce, improve the health of students by providing essential vitamins, encourage environmental conservation, and educate students on how to care for crops.
ASHIRA SECONDARY SCHOOL (Group 2)
Scholars from Ashira Secondary School addressed the issue of insufficient menstrual hygiene education in their community by holding a workshop on making reusable sanitary pads. This project also addressed the issue of insufficient funds for menstrual products faced by many girls and women in the community. Knowing how to make and use reusable pads helps women achieve independence, encourages problem-solving skills and personal hygiene, and has a positive impact on the environment.
KIBOSHO GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL
Scholars from Kibosho Girls’ High School addressed the issue of youth unemployment in their community by holding an entrepreneurship seminar and educating youth on making popular local snacks that can be sold for profit. Taking entrepreneurial initiative creates a ripple effect within the community, raising the overall employment rate and introducing essential business skills to those who may not be able to continue to tertiary education
KIFARU HIGH SCHOOL
Scholars from Kifaru High School built a clothes line at their school to address the issue of skin irritation experienced by many of the school’s students. Students often resorted to laying out clothing on the surrounding grass and trees due to a lack of a proper drying place, which caused rashes, insect bites, and even UTIs from wearing damp underwear. Now, all students have a safe, clean place to dry their clothes, improving the overall hygiene of the community.
LANGASANI HIGH SCHOOL
Scholars from Langasani High School were inspired to act by the study skills that the Kisa Project so widely encourages. They noticed that there was a lack of space for students to study and do homework on campus, leading to poor academic performance. Scholars constructed benches out of local materials to solve this problem. The results were better than anticipated – as well as improved academic performance, students increased their peer collaboration and cooperation with teachers!
MACHAME GIRLS’ SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Machame Girls’ Secondary School decided to improve student health and safety by constructing a new clothesline and renovating the fence around their dormitories. The old clothesline was made from rope, which often remained damp, causing skin irritation. The old fence contained many gaps, encouraging students to skip class or take walks where they weren’t supposed to, damaging the surrounding environment. There were also concerns of keeping out dangerous animals and trespassers. Now, with a reconstructed fence, students feel that their safety is much improved and are more inclined to attend classes. It also provides greater privacy around the dormitories.
MAGADINI SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Magadini Secondary School constructed and filled a library at their school to enhance student engagement, performance, and literacy. They constructed the floor and bookshelves, painted the walls and doors, and even filled it with donated textbooks!
MAJENGO SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Majengo Secondary School constructed an incinerator at a neighboring school to improve environmental pollution and student health. Previously, students lacked proper waste disposal, creating a safety hazard. Now, students can safely and effectively dispose of garbage, leading to a cleaner and healthier academic environment!
MAWENZI SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Mawenzi Secondary School constructed a notice board at their school to display announcements and timetables. Previously, such notices were pinned to classroom walls, causing damage and risking the safety of the building. Now, information is centralized on campus and more readily available to all students!
MKUU SECONDARY HIGH SCHOOL
Scholars from Mkuu Secondary High School constructed a notice board to combat the issue of miscommunication among the school’s students and staff. With the notice board being displayed at the school’s entrance, all students are now able to easily get correct information about exam results, school rules, and schedules.
MSANGENI SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Msangeni Secondary School installed a water tank and faucet on campus. Previously, the school’s students had to walk over a mile one-way to the nearest water source for hydration, leading to physical and mental exhaustion. Now, water is easily accessible to students, allowing them to focus their energy on their studies!
MWIKA SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Mwika Secondary School installed a clothesline on campus. Previously, the school’s students were drying their clothes on the grass, on tree branches, and even on rusty wires, leading to the breakdown of their clothing and to skin rashes and irritation. Now, overall student health is much improved, there is more drying space, and clothing remains intact!
NURU SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Nuru Secondary School took on a big job of renovating the dormitory bathrooms! They repaired floors, walls, and doors, and now have a much cleaner bathroom facility for everyday use. This led to improved privacy and health among the students
OSHARA SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Oshara Secondary School rehabilitated their school’s kitchen, eradicating health issues caused by dirty food and utensils and establishing a safe waste disposal system. Previously, the kitchen had no proper floor, windows, or chimney, but now it contains all three! The 500 students who use the kitchen daily are now able to prepare clean food in a safe environment.
TARAKEA SECONDARY SCHOOL
Scholars from Tarakea Secondary School installed a clothesline at a neighboring school, eliminating the risk of skin irritation and damage to clothing due to drying laundry in unsafe conditions. Previously, students were hanging clothing from the gutters, blocking the flow of rainfall to the water tank. Now, there is more space for drying laundry and the water tank remains full!
WERUWERU SECONDARY SCHOOL (Group 1)
Scholars from Weruweru Secondary School installed new sinks on the school grounds in order to improve public health and hygiene. Previously, the area was surrounded by stagnant water from poorly constructed wash basins, providing a breeding ground for mosquitoes and leading to a risk of malaria. Now, the stagnant water has been eliminated with the construction of new sinks!
WERUWERU SECONDARY SCHOOL (Group 2)
Scholars from Weruweru Secondary School renovated their library in order to improve academic performance and focus among students. Now, students have a designated study space and are able to prepare well for their exams, increasing their post-graduate opportunities.
Girls in Tanzania do not typically have easy access to health information through schools or other channels. GLAMI, Girls’ Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative, fills the gap, hosting Health Sessions three times each year for Kisa Scholars that cover topics put forward by the girls themselves.
Nuru, an Arusha-based Mentor for AfricAid's local partner, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), shared how these sessions come together to give girls access to health professionals who can answer questions about their physical and mental health.
Could you give us an overview of what happens during these Health Sessions and why they’re so important for girls?
Health Sessions are these beautiful sessions we plan for the girls so they can learn more about their health and why health is so important. You can’t do anything if you do not know how the body operates. Through the impact of the sessions, Scholars really have the chance to change society. The education they receive about their health systems and how they operate is often passed down to the communities the Scholars live in as well.
Can you tell us about how Health Sessions have changed since you were a Kisa Scholar?
Way back in 2016 and 2017, a large group of students from different areas of Tanzania came together to meet in one place. We had topics that were pre-selected, so we learned about the same or very similar things each year. Now, we conduct them in each individual school. We have several sessions about the menstrual cycle, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. We also bring health professionals to the schools to teach the material, we don’t teach it ourselves. When Scholars have questions, they can ask doctors directly. Because we are Mentors, our professional work differs a lot from that of doctors, so it is really beneficial for questions to be addressed by people trained in medical science.
We also now prepare Scholars prior to the sessions and ask them questions. What topics do they want to hear about? What are they going through physically or mentally? What questions do they have about health they cannot ask in school? What and who do they want to listen to? So the girls suggest the topics and we write them down, then we sit together as a group of Mentors and determine the topics that are requested most.
What are the most popular topics that you see girls asking questions about?
The most popular topic the girls are really concerned about is mental health. We discuss mental health in all the schools because we believe it’s okay not to be okay. People can get depressed, committ suicide, and it’s not talked about in schools. Girls go through a lot and sometimes they don’t know how to express themselves. In Tanzania, it’s often believed that you only need mental care if you’re crazy or insane, so most people don’t receive education about mental health. Scholars wouldn’t get a chance to learn about this topic if they weren’t enrolled in GLAMI’s programs. If I didn’t participate as a Kisa Scholar, I myself wouldn’t have had the chance to learn about my mental health. I too believed that the only people who need such care were people who are ill in the head. But I realized it’s so much more than that, you need to express your emotions, handle your thoughts well, and understand when and how to react to certain situations. I learned a lot.
What kind of feedback have you received from Scholars?
Students often ask for more frequent Health Sessions! They were really grateful and said that more girls outside of the program should be able to have access to that knowledge, so we let them invite friends from their communities and they were so impacted by this. They’ve asked if it can be like that each time, as it really helps so many more girls. Through all these girls, the things they learn will be shared with their families, future coworkers, and the world. There’s a real meaning to this all and they’re so touched. Another thing Scholars are grateful for is the chance to connect with the professionals who come to speak, because they share their contact information. So for example if a girl was not able to speak about what is really going on in her life in front of a lot of people, or if she needed more help, they have contacts to communicate with professionally.
Is there a topic you have in mind that you would like to expand on during future Health Sessions?
I would like to speak more about cervical cancer and breast cancer. They’re topics that are rarely spoken about and most girls and young women do not know how to examine themselves or recognize symptoms. Another topic is how to take care of yourself during your menstrual cycle. Here, girls really suffer when it comes to their menstrual health. It’s really painful, and they don’t know how to deal with that when they’re in environments such as school. So I would like to see more emphasis on that as well.
How do community members such as the medical providers, teachers, and administrators react to GLAMI hosting these Health Sessions?
At one school I went to for Health Sessions, there was a doctor who was invited to speak, and he was really moved and intrigued by what we do. He insisted that we continue with the program, and that he was always open to help in the future. The professionals who attend are always willing to help, as they know how important it is for people to know about these issues. The school teachers are also really moved and always express what a great job we have done with the program.
In 2020, the annual Career Day held for Kisa Scholars was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so everyone involved with the Kisa Project, from the Scholars to the Mentors to the guest speakers, was ecstatic about the return of the special event last fall. Memories from Career Day are among the favorite of any Kisa Scholar. The day helps solidify a girl’s dreams and helps her believe in her ability and create a path to achieve them.
Like the Health Symposium event, GLAMI staff worked tirelessly to find a way for the special experience to be brought to the girls in their schools (in the past, hundreds of Scholars traveled on buses to an offsite venue). In Kilimanjaro, Career Days were held at 15 Partner Schools, while in Arusha, staff were able to conduct events in 3 Zones (girls from some Partner Schools around Arusha did travel to other schools to experience Career Day). In all, 964 Year Two Kisa Scholars and 57 Kisa Alumnae participated, along with 121 guest speakers, 39 Kisa Project Liaisons, and at least a dozen government officials. That is a huge impact and excellent opportunity for community members to volunteer and to observe firsthand the valuable leadership and life skills lessons of GLAMI.
At previous massive Career Days, the girls would listen to the speakers more than the speakers would listen to them. That changed this year with the addition of an important new component of the program, “Career Exhibitions.” This was a chance for the Kisa Scholars to demonstrate what they already know about a career path that they are interested in. The process of preparing for Career Day started early and Scholars showed an immense amount of creativity and hard work toward showcasing knowledge about various careers. Mentors played a big role in making sure that the Scholars had the necessary information. They helped those who didn’t have a specific career in mind to explore and to go deep within themselves to match their strengths and interests.
Then, in small group break-out sessions with representatives of those professions, the girls had their preconceptions affirmed and/or clarified. Some Scholars had virtual discussions with their career speaker through the use of Zoom video conferencing if the professional could not be there in person.
GLAMI program participants respond well to the excitement of contests, so it was structured in that way (at past Career Days, there was a poster contest). The Scholars knew that winners would be awarded gifts and every girl was motivated to do her best. The atmosphere was fun and celebratory as the guest speakers cast their votes for most creative, most informed, and best presentation.
Kisa Mentor’s Perspective
“Back in 2013 as a Kisa Scholar, I attended Career Day and was happy to meet someone who talked to me about career options. I received so much helpful information on that day. Now, in 2021, I had a different experience planning Career Day for my Kisa Scholars. As their Mentor, I pushed them to think outside the box to prepare their Career Exhibitions. One of my girls said, ‘Through Career Day, we realized our potential. And I personally have come to realize that I am so creative and can be whoever I want to be.’” - Chonge, Kisa Mentor
Kisa Scholar’s Perspective
“It was enjoyable to do the exhibitions. At first it was tough to go through the preparations, but our Mentors encouraged us so much to keep our heads and believe in ourselves. Knowing that whoever does the best will be awarded a gift made the exhibitions even more exciting since every one of us wanted to know what the others had prepared.
It was encouraging to have professionals show me where to go. I was told by the speaker that ‘no environment can limit your creativity, it can only enhance it.’ I learned that nurses are helpers. This means it is not a matter of just working as an employee, but as a helper who loves what they are doing.”
- Janette, Year Two Kisa Scholar, Mlangarini Secondary School
“I personally can relate to how Career Day has been of use to me. I learned that only I can direct who I want to become and that I will only be successful by putting effort into what I want. Having the different professionals here shows how much Kisa is really concerned about our success. The exhibitions were the other exciting part of Career Day. I wanted to know who would be the winner! We surely did put effort into gaining knowledge about our careers – the exhibitions proved this.” - Sara, Year Two Kisa Scholar, Enaboishu Secondary School
Guest Speakers’ Perspectives
“I came knowing that I had to teach the students something, and not knowing that they would teach me a few things instead. I would like to appreciate GLAMI for what they do for these girls. It takes a mistake to realize what is right, but what GLAMI is doing is making sure that these girls learn from the mistakes of those who have made them already.”- Nurse Midwife
“Some people struggle when it comes to realizing who they really want to become in the future. When I was called to come talk to the girls, I thought to myself ‘they are very lucky to have torch lighters light GLAMI.’ As a lecturer, I’ve had several students in their third and final year of university come to me asking who they can be after they’ve studied. That is not an easy path. GLAMI is paving a very bright way for these students to help them discover career possibilities and realize what they can bring to the table early on.” - University Lecturer
GLAMI believes that Career Day is the best platform for Scholars to learn about their careers and that their future is surely in their hands! It is the perfect way to help these girls realize how much they need to consider what they want for their future before it gets here. One of the things that will help these girls to determine what they really want and what drives them as individuals is hearing from people who have been there already. Career Day is the way!
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