EYOP: A First Big Step Toward Change
It all comes down to this – the final session for Kisa Year One. It is the final day for Kisa Scholars to present in front of the judges and their fellow students what they have learned during the entire first year of the Kisa Project. After successfully completing this activity, they are able to proceed to Year Two of the leadership program.
AfricAid calls this momentous occasion the End of Year One Presentation (EYOP). A Scholar identifies a challenge faced by her community, analyzes its causes and proposes a sustainable solution. The exercise demonstrates her ability to synthesize information and present it in a coherent and compelling manner.
Excitement and energy fill the room. The pressure is on for everyone to bring something to the table to convince the judges and audience in a ten-minute presentation that their community plans are logical, well thought through and worthy of special mention. The presentations are the accumulation of weeks of effort for AfricAid’s Mentors too, who have been traveling to all the Partner Schools to coach individual Scholars to present their work confidently.
Meet Rahma (and hear her in her own words)
The day of EYOP at Ashira Girls Secondary School in Spring, 2018 was a very big occasion. There were 75 girls presenting and 35 external judges (friends, colleagues, Kisa Alumnae, and AfricAid Mentors from other schools). One of the most impressive presentations was made by Rahma. She received an award for best presentation in her group.
In her EYOP, Rahma spoke passionately to three judges about the lack of awareness and value for the importance of education in her home community of Mabogini, which is in the Moshi Rural District. “Among the 25 youths in my community who were supposed to be in Advanced Level, I am the only girl to reach Form 5. I feel very terrible to see many youth in my community are not in school,” Rahma said.
To capture the audience’s attention and compassion, Rahma started her presentation with a true story of her friend who failed Form Four exams two years ago and decided to stay at home cooking and selling chapati (a type of round, flat bread that is made on a griddle) for her livelihood. This situation is a common fallback position for school leavers in her community and because Rahma is educated, she wants to play a role in encouraging other options for young people.
Keeping to the requirements of the presentation, Rahma then spoke of the reasons for the problem and the impact of the problem on her community. She analyzed a number of reasons why many youth her age are not in school: poor parental care, peer pressure from friends and few available opportunities. According to the research done by Rahma, the societal impact of kids out of school include early marriage, substance abuse and jobs with low appeal, such as selling local beer. The overall negative result is young people’s potential being limited.
It is encouraging to see our girls thinking deeply about reasons why things are as they are and strategizing how to make the situation better for their communities. This is a big picture goal of EOYP. To Rahma, education is the key: “That is why in the future I am aiming at raising awareness about the importance of education in my community. I am educated and I want to play part of changing the future of my fellow youth.” Rahma plans to use her friend’s story as a way to motivate kids to stay in school. She also believes that entrepreneurship programs should be made available to out of school and idle youth. “I want them to have hope and believe they can change and be someone. With my Kisa experience, I feel like I can motivate and inspire someone.”
We are sure Rahma will be a good role model and eventually reach a position of leadership and power where her compassionate eye can make real changes. Then young people like her friend can have better options. “I am so thankful to be in the Kisa Program. I am aware that my community needs me, have learned how to be a responsible leader who knows how to reach my goals. I have a big task to give back to my community and create lasting change. I believe everything is possible,” says Rahma.
At Ashira on the day of EYOP, 75 young people presented positive plans for the future of their communities. With this many bright young minds putting their plans into action, we agree with Rahma that everything is possible.