With AfricAid’s expansion to serve 6,000 secondary school girls in Tanzania in 2019, there are also many new faces in the office. A number of these new staff members have come from entirely outside of AfricAid, without having been beneficiaries of the programs themselves. We believe this diversification is a healthy aspect of our organization!
Kisa Alumnae, of course, are a rich pool of talent from which to recruit for Mentors and other positions, once they have graduated from university. Since the Managers all started as Mentors, they had a chance to observe these very capable candidates when they were Scholars. They know which ones were the stand outs in their last two years of high school.
Here is a snapshot of the composition of the staff (below Director level and excluding our two drivers) today. Note that most Managers were hired as Mentors before Kisa Alumnae were experienced enough to be hired. (The Kisa Project began in 2010 with just 22 girls at 2 schools.) However, program graduates have begun to be promoted into Assistant Manager positions.
The different ideas and experiences of the non-Kisa Alumnae strengthen our programs. These women bring energy to the team in their own unique ways, complimenting those Mentors who experienced the Kisa Project as Scholars. They bring new suggestions and ways of teaching to the program, creating different methods and approaches according to their own experiences at school and beyond, and encourage a balance. (To see the qualifications a candidate must have to apply for a Binti Shupavu Mentor position, scroll down.)
Non-Kisa Alumnae Mentors bring solid work and volunteer experience with them, demonstrating their leadership and organizational skills. For instance, Sophia Belela was a member of the Girl Guide Club and served as a Patrol Leader. Esther Naiman volunteered at the National Bureau of Statistics for one year.
Chausiku Mkuya, Binti Shupavu Project Manager in the Arusha office, finds the recruiting process invigorating and welcomes the diversity. “During recruitment I am filled with excitement as prospective Mentors bring in passion from their own experiences. These include both Kisa Alumnae and non-Alumnae. They are all looking forward to giving back to their fellow girls in Tanzania.”
Meet Naomi and Zulpha
This year, Naomi Petro and Zulpha Rajabu are among the lucky non-Alumnae to have landed a job as Binti Shupavu Mentors. In their interviews, they demonstrated their passion about girls’ potential and belief that girls can ignite change if they have the opportunity for an education. Since starting their jobs in January, they have been working hard to make sure that Binti Scholars in the Arusha Region receive the skills and knowledge they need to stay in school for the full four years and complete their lower level secondary education.
Naomi and Zulpha love passing on their wisdom and knowledge to their Scholars and seeing their Scholars grow and take on more responsibilities. Binti Shupavu Scholars become the role models in their schools and their communities. Through mentoring girls, both women are helping to build self-awareness and a positive approach to the inevitable challenges that youth face as part of growing up.
Naomi Petro loves being part of the AfricAid team and strives to be effective, efficient, and innovative. She has experience as a teacher, entrepreneur, and Young Life mentor. She encourages her Binti Scholars to create their destiny by using positivity as the path to success. She empowers her Scholars by telling them not to allow fear and challenges to stop their dreams. She loves seeing them reach their goals and become leaders for the future. As a Mentor, she believes that success is all about growing yourself. She says, “we rise by lifting girls.”
Zulpha Rajabu started working with AfricAid as a data entry intern and was soon encouraged to apply for the Mentor position. She is extremely enthusiastic about the chance to mentor girls through the Binti Shupavu program and sees it as a platform to tell girls that they can be anything they want to be… engineers, lawyers, or even President. She thinks every girl needs someone to advise them on the process of growing up. “It was always been my dream to work for AfricAid, since I heard a lot about their positive impact on girls in my community. Now being part of the AfricAid team as a Binti Mentor, my passion toward educating and empowering girls is in motion!”
Two other new staff members, Debora Rodgers and Einoth Justine, who is a Kisa Mentor, were both aware of the Kisa Project and missed the chance to be part of it themselves. (Debora and Einoth are pictured at the top of this article. L-R: Zulpha, Einoth, Naomi, Debora.)
Debora saw the value of the program at her school and made it her own mission to work toward girls’ empowerment. “I love helping girls and I realized this mostly during my Advanced level education at Arusha Secondary School. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to join Kisa due to my late arrival at school, but I eagerly wanted to know what the Kisa Scholars were being taught during their sessions. Their positive energy made me realize that I was missing opportunities, knowledge, and someone to direct me on how to go about the challenges I wished to overcome.”
The Kisa Project was introduced to Einoth’s school the year after she graduated. “I would have loved to be a Kisa Scholar! But I am grateful that I get to experience the program now, nurturing the transformations in younger girls. It could be somewhat intimidating to come into an organization where the majority of staff members are actually alumnae of the program, but everyone has welcomed me into the AfricAid family. We receive great support through trainings and the Peer Mentoring program too.”
AfricAid is proud to receive such positive energy from both Kisa and non-Kisa Alumnae Mentors alike, each of whom brings unique perspectives to mentor girls, develop leaders, and transform communities.