Today’s Challenges in 2 Days
AfricAid mentors girls to develop leaders in order to transform communities. Yes, one thing leads to another. However, these important activities are also happening simultaneously. The 2 Day Challenge, or 2DC, is a prime example.
The 2 Day Challenge is a capstone project that is done, as the name implies, in two days, by Kisa Scholars before graduating from the program. Once this project is completed, the Scholars become Kisa Alumnae. The general objective is to demonstrate teamwork and leadership to address an issue that negatively impacts the girls’ community. They research a problem and develop a solution that can be implemented in the two-day timeframe.
Before embarking on the 2 Day Challenge, Kisa Scholars conduct a community assessment. They explore the different issues generally in order to choose one to research thoroughly and develop an action plan. A few examples are: youth unemployment, water scarcity, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and road accidents.
The Scholars then work as a team to identify the available resources. These may be people with certain education or expertise, land, or water sources. Upon creating a plan, they use their presentation skills (learned and practiced the previous year in Year 1 Presentations) to propose their solution to community members. In many cases, the projects involve awareness building for a particular topic so the Scholars present to large groups of youth at schools and/or parents.
2 Day Challenge projects generally fall in a few categories: environment (planting trees/vegetable gardens, clean-up), health and hygiene (constructing toilets, teaching young girls what to expect in puberty), and social entrepreneurship (teaching youth how to make a product that they can sell). The students in the photo above are from Weruweru Secondary School. Their project was called “Mazingira,” which means Environment. They cleaned up the area around a water source where people had been improperly disposing of trash. Here are two other excellent examples of Scholars’ efforts this year:
“It is Happening Project”
The Year Two Scholars at Arusha Secondary School (shown also in top photo) found a problem right at their school and fixed it! It focused on renovating a damaged floor in a class and required them to mix and haul heavy cement. Salma describes before and after, “The floor was a mess. The students from this class used to call it a mining area and they felt very isolated. We know they will be so happy when they find the class reconstructed when they return to school and will be grateful to the Kisa Scholars for solving this challenge.”
“Recycling Energy Project”
One recent project crosses two categories. Kisa Scholars from one Partner School raised awareness within the community about environmental conservation by showing women how to make fuel briquettes for their cooking stoves out of recycled paper. These are better for the environment (curbs tree cutting for firewood, which is a huge problem worldwide) and extras that are made beyond the family and business needs could potentially be sold. What was also unique about this project was the location.
The Scholars in this group were so determined! At first it seemed impossible because they wanted to implement their project in a busy, congested, dusty market area. Magreth explains, “When we arrived at the market, all the people were busy doing their activities. It took time to get their attention and bring them together to listen to what we wanted to tell them. Our whole group was so happy when we succeeded and were able to help the entire community around the market.” Her classmate Namnyaki adds, “We really wanted to do what we did. And, most of the women around promised to use the charcoal made by paper waste as a source of energy for their businesses.”
It is exciting and satisfying to read some feedback from the Tanzanian community (both men and women) about the 2DC projects. Their overwhelmingly favorable and appreciative response shows the important place that the Kisa Project has in society. It proves that girls who are trained through Kisa can give back to their communities to bring about positive change.
“I used to hear about Kisa in this school, but I never thought the girls would be capable of thinking and doing great things, like helping in the construction of new school toilets. They have contributed in buying some materials and on top of that they have helped the builders in their work. It is so impressive when the girls are doing something for their school, they motivate their fellow students to do and be the best.” – Teacher from Enaboishu Secondary School
“Today I have learned how to make charcoal by recycling the papers, I used to see these on television and hear people talking about it but now I can do it for my family, thanks to the Kisa girls.” – Woman from Kilombero market
“These girls are well trained, so confident, and courageous. I wish my daughters could get the Kisa trainings as well.” – Woman from Kilombero Market
“Kisa girls have been a big help in our orphanage. They have visited countless times and done a lot, like starting the vegetable garden, cleaning the surroundings, giving menstrual hygiene education to the girls, and sometimes helping them with cleaning their clothes.” – Guardian from Samaritan Village orphanage
“No one in this community has ever helped us in cleaning this dispensary. We thank the Kisa girls for their support and we welcome them again.” – Nurses from Msitu wa Tembo Dispensary
Teamwork. Leadership. Organizing. Communication.
Apart from marking the end of Kisa training for Year Two Scholars, the 2 Day Challenge gives the students a chance to work as a team. This is where their leadership skills truly emerge and they get to learn how they best work together, putting each girl’s different leadership style to best use. They also have to do a lot of planning and organizing, including budgeting. This is exactly what they prepared for in the Kisa Project. Look out world, here they come!
Kisa Project is a two-year leadership course that prepares girls in their last two years of secondary school to attend university and create positive social change in their communities.