Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls

by AfricAid, Inc.
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Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Life-Changing Training for Tanzanian girls
Mr. Niyimpaye Kataze leads training at AfricAid
Mr. Niyimpaye Kataze leads training at AfricAid

To kick off the New Year, the very first activity on the 2019 AfricAid calendar was Counseling Training. New Mentors from both the Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu program took the 4-day course as part of our orientation to working for AfricAid. Some had been mentoring for AfricAid for six months, but most were brand new employees, so it was a great way of becoming acquainted. The class was held at the Kilimanjaro office, so those from Arusha stayed at the homes of Moshi colleagues, and through this experience, Mentors really started to get to know each other as people.

The training was facilitated by a professional counseling trainer, Mr. Niyimpaye (or Nickson) Kataze, and included main topics such as: self-awareness, basic mental health, various types of abuse, counseling skills, and stress management. Mr. Kataze’s participatory way of conducting the training gave Mentors a safe space to express ideas and thoughts. Mentors were encouraged to share emotions. He also made sure that the team was energized by playing relevant games after every session.

To be a good Mentor, you must be a good listener...

During the training, Mentors reflected on their own strengths and weaknesses, building their awareness about who they are as people. Mentors got a chance to explore how different personalities can be described and grouped, and how this understanding can help them work more effectively with other people. The training touched on basic mental health knowledge. Mentors learned to recognize the symptoms of abuse in order to protect a child against different types of abuse. Mentors talked of their responsibilities in the initial assessments of Scholars and the importance of active listening. The training discussed the causes of stress and how Mentors can manage our own stress levels. Mentors practiced how to manage their own reactions when strong feelings arise.

AfricAid’s Social Worker, Veronica Kilala, discussed the rights of the child in great detail. This reminded the Mentors about their responsibilities with regard to children’s rights. Upholding the rights of a child is not an easy task when most people in a society are not aware of these rights. A primary focus of the training was to better understand how to protect children.

Einoth J., Kisa Mentor, stated "I am really impressed by the training that AfricAid provides to its staff. To me, it is a great way to expand my knowledge and add new skills. The training provided to the AfricAid Mentors not only helps us to deal with our Scholars in the Kisa and Binti Shupavu programs, but is also a great help in mentoring others in our daily life. It has been of great help to me personally. I can easily handle things now without falling into too much stress and depression. It has also paved a way for me to use more techniques to understand my Scholars and provide basic counseling assistance when needed. To me, it is really a forever investment."

The training gave Mentors the skills to make them confident, patient, and good listeners. The training taught Mentors how to deal with a wide range of problems in life, which is very useful for everyone at any stage in life. We agree with Einoth that the type of knowledge gained through the Counseling Training provided for our Mentors is a "forever investment".

New AfricAid Mentors pose for a photo afterwards
New AfricAid Mentors pose for a photo afterwards
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Kisa Alumna Chiku is Making Waves!
Kisa Alumna Chiku is Making Waves!

We cannot think of a more perfect example of the ripple effect that results from AfricAid’s model of mentoring than Chausiku.

Chiku, as she is affectionately known by friends and co-workers, has benefitted greatly from being mentored. In turn, she has mentored many others. A member of the very first class of Kisa Scholars at Arusha Secondary School in 2010, she returned to AfricAid after earning her university degree as a role model to Scholars and fellow staffers in her positions as Kisa Mentor and Binti Shupavu Program Manager.

Get to know our charismatic Chiku, those who have influenced her, and those she has impacted, in this interview. These wonderful connections can come about when an opportunity to learn to be a leader is extended to just one person.

Please tell us a bit about your childhood and family.
I was raised by my uncle (from my father’s side) and his wife in Dar es Salaam, from the time I was in primary school (4th grade) until I graduated from university. My parents did not stay together as far as I remember, although I met them sometimes during school breaks. My mom couldn’t raise me because she was in poor health and I was adversely affected seeing my mother suffering. That is when my uncle and his wife took the responsibility of raising me.

How did you learn about the opportunity with AfricAid?  What was your experience like as a Kisa Scholar?
When I joined high school (Form Five), the Kisa Mentors at that time Madam Tina and Madam Hellen came to our school and introduced AfricAid and the Kisa Project to us. They said the leadership training would help us to be future leaders of both ourselves and our communities. They spoke about public speaking and that captured my interest. I was intelligent, yes, but I really couldn’t express myself in front of people. Through Kisa trainings, I was able to learn many new things that made it possible for me to accomplish my goals, such as public speaking.

How did your Mentor influence your life?
I met Anande Nnko for the first time eight years ago in June 2010. I was inspired by the way she dressed – she was wearing black trousers and a grey blouse and she looked very smart. She was invited to speak to us about university life during a special one-week session we did during school break. I immediately decided I really wanted to get to know her more. Fortunately, a few months later Anande started to work as our Mentor in the Kisa Project! Every time I saw Anande, I would picture myself like her in few years to come. Apart from the topics we were discussing in class, Anande used to encourage us how we could continue on to university and a career like her.

During that time, the only thing I could think of was what I would do next after graduating from high school – and that was going to university. I did not know what to expect when I got there though. Anande created a roadmap for me on what to expect at university and what I was supposed to do when I got there.

How did having a Kisa Sponsor encourage you?
I used to communicate with my sponsors (Anne and Dan) twice a month through the Kisa web page. I was always very happy when I saw there was a message from them in my inbox. Dan and Anne steadily encouraged me to work hard in school and told me how happy they would be to see my dreams come true.

Tell us about one of your favorite memories from Kisa.
A few months after we joined Kisa, we had one-week internship and the memory of  it will always stay with me. During that time, I was exposed to different things that I did not know before… it was my first time to know about Facebook and YouTube, the first time to share my story with other girls, the first time to think about the challenges in our communities and how we could be part of solution. We got to know each other better and we started treating each other like sisters.

Will you share about a challenge you had to overcome?
When I was in Form Three, we moved with my uncle to a different house that was very far from my schoolThat was the time I experienced the greatest hardship of education. I used to take four buses in the morning to get to school and five buses in the evening to get back home. Evening was especially hard because of the traffic jams and it could take me three to four hours to get home. I used to get home around 8 to 9pmThat motivated me to work extra hard in school so that I would earn high marks and be selected for a good boarding school. I performed strongly academically and did have the opportunity to go to boarding school for my high school studies.

How do you feel about being part of the very first Kisa class and what the program has become today?
I feel very proud of being in the first group of Kisa Scholars. There were only 22 of us back then!  And over 1,700 today! (There are over 4,300 if Binti Shupavu Scholars are included.) I always feel confident speaking about how the Kisa Project has grown since the program started. This means we have more girls who will be accomplishing their dreams and we understand as women we can be part of solutions to the challenges facing our communities. We now have Kisa members (Alumnae and Scholars) in almost every part of Tanzania. I see a bright future for our country with so many Kisa graduates doing big things. And I am one of them!

Why did you decide to come back and work with AfricAid as a Mentor?
The main reason I wanted to join the organization as a Mentor is because I wanted to share my story with other girls. So many girls in Tanzania come from backgrounds where girls do not matter. They do matter! I wanted to be part of other girls’ success stories because I always appreciated the support my own Kisa Mentors offered me. I wanted to give back to many other girls in our country.

How is working as a Binti Shupavu Manager different from being a Kisa Mentor?
From being supervised to having four people to supervise has been a great professional accomplishment for me. I really do not have enough time to get to know the Binti Shupavu Scholars individually as I did to the Kisa Scholars. The Binti girls are younger so I have to adjust the way I communicate with them, using simpler language for them to understand. They like games and listening to stories so when I have time I do share my story to inspire them.

Now that you are a mom, what are your dreams for your daughter?
I love my daughter so much and I want her to have the best in life! If it wasn’t for the education and supportive environment that I had while I was growing up, I would not be where I am today. I want her to get the very best education that I can afford. I want her to know she has me, I want her to be confident, and I want to her know girls are capable of doing great things in the world. 

What’s next? What does your future hold?
The experience I got from participating in the Kisa Project established in me the strong desire to give back to my community.
It gave me confidence to know that I have power to make a difference. The additional work experience I got at AfricAid has given me many ways to make that possible. My plan is to become a member of Parliament representing my home community. I want to show people in my community that educating girls can bring quick and positive changes in the community and to the country at large.

Chiku speaks at a Parent Engagement Meeting
Chiku speaks at a Parent Engagement Meeting


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Fides gives a speech showing the power of women
Fides gives a speech showing the power of women

AfricAid is proud to announce that a Kisa Scholar has become student body president at her university.  Let’s meet her and learn about her leadership journey.

Fides was born and raised in Arusha and is the last born of nine children. She lost one of her siblings and now there are eight in her family. Fides enjoys spending time watching sea and water views, exercising and listening to music.

Fides’ leadership capabilities were strengthened when she joined the Kisa Project at Enaboishu High School in 2014 for two years. Fides attributes Kisa to the maturing of her attitude toward life, gender, and social perspectives. She was able to run for the position of Head Girl at school because Kisa empowered her to believe in herself and convince students that she has what it takes to lead. Fides won the majority of votes and became a school leader for the final two years she was in high school.

When Fides graduated from high school, she wanted to continue her community development work in a leadership role. She said, “I think leadership is a passion. When women are empowered to change the status quo, they have the courage to change the perception of people about female leaders. Leadership is not limited by our biological differences. We have great examples of female leaders. We have our mothers, sisters and role models like Samia Sululu (Vice President of Tanzania) who are living proof that female leaders not only exist but play a big role in making this world a better place.”


Fides is now a student at St. Augustine University of Tanzania in Mwanza studying for a bachelor’s degree in education. She continued her leadership journey and contested for the president of student government in May 2018.  She is only the second female in the history of her school to hold this position.  The last female president, now a BBC broadcaster, was in 2004.


“It wasn’t easy to stand in front of the university administration. The attitude of SAUT was that a woman can never lead and since it started, there has never been a woman who has won the election. I faced challenges from both the administration and fellow students that I could be the first female president and get things done.”

Fides explained that one of the biggest hurdles was finding a male candidate who would accept running alongside a female. In all previous cases, a man ran for president and a female as vice president. The administration told her “it doesn’t look good for a man to be led by a woman. It will hurt your chances of being voted in.”

Fides also received little encouragement from others and many times was actively discouraged from pursuing the post. People told her she was wasting her time. Fides said “The university community discouraged me in every way possible. They told me no woman can be president anywhere. They told me even if I tried my very best, I would lose.” However, these naysayers seemed to encourage Fides even more. “I didn’t want to let their noise stop me. I knew exactly what I was doing. With the skills from Kisa and life experience, I knew what my goal was and that biological differences don’t define my abilities in leadership. This made me so frustrated, so I went ahead and contested. I won all the interviews with the administration. I went ahead and campaigned. I was prepared not just to win, but I wanted people to see and understand that women should never be underestimated.”

Fides is very good with words, so let’s listen to what she has to say about how determined she was: “When I stood as a contestant, I carried the spirit of leadership of all other women with me, because I knew I wasn’t just standing for myself, but for the rest of us all. After I finished giving my final speech before the vote, I knew that even if I didn’t win, I had planted a seed for change on how society looks at women. Guess what? When the results came, I was won with 82% of the votes and now I am the first female class president at St. Augustine University of Tanzania!”

Fides has some advice for all of us: “My advice for all the women out there is we should support other women. There is so much power in a woman supporting another woman. We should honor the fact that we are the mothers of tomorrow and leaders of today. I feel so honored that I was born female.”

Fides ended her story by acknowledging that there were many different factors that contributed to her becoming a leader, but that Kisa is one of her main turning points. “Kisa is my family everywhere I go and it would be an injustice for me not to mention how helpful the leadership skills have helped me though this journey.” She still keeps in touch with her Kisa Mentor, Chausiku Mkuya, every now and then, and through the Kisa Alumna Network, we hope to follow her unfolding story.  As someone who knows Fides, I am convinced her voice and desire for change will inspire a lot of people around the world.


Fides as a Kisa Scholar at Enaboishu High School
Fides as a Kisa Scholar at Enaboishu High School
Fides' father is proud of her as Head Girl
Fides' father is proud of her as Head Girl
Fides' campaign poster for student body president
Fides' campaign poster for student body president
Students supporting Fides' presidential campaign
Students supporting Fides' presidential campaign


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Kisa Alumnae Network Group Photo
Kisa Alumnae Network Group Photo

The number of Kisa graduates is expanding so much that in a few years they could be considered a social movement. They come from all areas of the country and as they take individual paths in their lives, they can be found in most professions and areas of employment. Their networks will only get bigger and more complex. They have found strength in numbers. Presently, one of the ways they all stay connected is through AfricAid hosting Kisa Alumnae Network (KAN) meetings.

On a day in early April, 191 Kisa Alumnae women came together in different parts of Tanzania. AfricAid arranged simultaneous lunches in three urben centers- Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, and Arusha. They enjoyed each other's company, met new people who have had similar experiences, and consolidated their identities as Kisa graduates. Evelyn, a Kisa Alumna from Monduli expressed many people's experience when she said, "It was nice to see my old school friends as well as friends from university. I so rarely see them face to face. It was also a suprise to see younger girls from my school that I did not realize were in the Kisa Program too. It was such a wonderful time to get together and talk about our lives."

For the official program, discussions focused on communication should go forward and how alumnae can all play a part in sharing opportunities with each other. Information was gathered about the community through the completion of Alumnae Survey Forms. Some shared their most significant change stories, and the more entrepreneurial showed the group their wares and were happy with the business that they made.

Hadija, the KAN meeting organizer in Dodoma commented about an important issue that spontaneously developed at the lunch there. “Kisa Alumnae Network has been very helpful to our girls. These meetings give them a chance to share ideas, learn from each other, broaden their minds and start to think how creative they can be to start small businesses while they are still in college. I believe these lunches are good platforms to keep improving entrepreneurial skills as the girls realize how difficult it is to get employment.”

An example of this sharing occured when one of the alumna who is a business woman in Dodoma graciously shared her skills with print making. The following day after the official lunch, many of the alumnae met at Sarah's home where she showed her fellow Kisa friends who to do tie dying. This is a lovely example of how coming together can enrich all our lives, and how we can be inspired by each other. 

At the end of the day, people were reluctant to leave. Small groups remained chatting, exchanging contacts and lingering over half drunk soft drinks. Alumnae were informed about the upcoming events such as the Job Readiness Training, and many of the younger girls had their copies of their Scholarship Application Formins in their hands. It was a very pleasant day, and everyone felt that something special had happened. The power generated by proud Kisa Alumnae coming together renewed bonds and formed new ones.

Catching up and sharing stories at Lunch!
Catching up and sharing stories at Lunch!
Filling out Kisa Alumnae Surveys!
Filling out Kisa Alumnae Surveys!
Subira Manyama and Mary Maika arranged lunch!
Subira Manyama and Mary Maika arranged lunch!


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Try to imagine many lives of young people lost only because they don’t have access to right information regarding health care. Imagine seeing a 15 year old girl dropping out of school and cutting her dreams short because of pregnancy. It is also sad to think of a large percentage of young boys and girls addicted to alcohol and drugs.  There are many heartbreaking stories that could so easily have ended differently.

Organizing Health Symposia is AfricAid’s way of minimizing these unwanted issues for Scholars who come under our influence.  In 2018, 736 Tanzanian girls in their mid-late teens have been equipped with knowledge about HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse and reproductive health through the Kisa Project.  They will share this learning with their families and friends for an even wider impact.

Health Symposia were conducted on February 3rd and 10th. During these events, Kisa Scholars received the opportunity to learn from professionals who joined us to openly talk about these topics. Our panel of speakers were professionals from local NGOs, as well as independent nurses.  NGOs represented were Kisongo Sober House, Bomang`ombe Sober House, Dunia Moja Pamoja (Together in One World) Foundation, VOYOTA (Voice for Youth in Tanzania) and Health Integrated Multispectral Services.

Kisa Scholars had a lot of questions regarding the three health topics and the speakers took enough time to answer all of them with clarity.  The Youth Development Officer from Monduli District’s  message particularly resonated with the girls. Meshi told them “A total number of 47 pregnancy cases were reported from Secondary and Primary Schools in Monduli Districts. These girls are very young and dropped out of school. As a Youth Development Officer in Monduli, I am very happy to see we are joining forces to fight against these issues, especially early pregnancy, to keep our girls in school so that they can achieve their dreams and participate in the national development.” She told the girls they are all unique and that “you should use your uniqueness to impact your communities and to protect yourselves.”

Salum, a former drug addict who is currently helping other people affected by drugs caught all the participants’ attention when he told the group how drug addiction affected his life.   “I always feel sad when I see young people engage in the use of drugs. I have been using drugs for more than 10 years and I did not gain anything other than feeling guilty for all the bad things I did. I used to threaten people and put their lives into danger only to get money for drugs.”

Alcohol and drug abuse speakers made everyone think deeply, but it effected one Scholar from Moringe Sokoine Secondary School in a personal way. She emotionally shared the story of her brother who is a drug addict, and her family who doesn’t know what to do to help him get out of that situation. “I am sad and happy at the same time. I get sad when I think of my brother’s condition but I am also happy because I now know where and how we can help him to become sober. Salum`s story is very emotional but it has opened my eyes. I will share the experience with my family and contact the Sober House for other procedures,” said our young Scholar.

Giving back to the community and being a part of positive change in Tanzania is a goal of many of our Kisa Scholars. Topics discussed at the Health Symposium inspired many girls to respond in a way similar to Subira from Arusha Secondary School. “I will now be part of change in my community through acting as a role model.  This involves abstaining from drugs, unsafe sex and behaviors that lead many people to health challenges.” Another Scholar from Makumira Secondary felt she could use what she has learned in Kisa to make a difference.  Aisha said, “After attending the Health Symposium, I will become an advocate for these health issues through provision of education.  I am going to create a campaign by preparing different songs and print materials with messages about causes and effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse and early pregnancies.”   

AfricAid’s Health Symposium certainly got our girls thinking about their own vulnerabilities and ways they can help others. It is rare they have the opportunity to speak so freely about these important threats to their wellbeing. The Symposium challenged them, opened their minds, inspired them and hopefully will protect them from harm. In the future, we hope to hear more stories about empowered young people living the life they intend to live.

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AfricAid, Inc.

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