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We are Not Alone

A Culture of Building Relationships Enhances Achievement of Goals

 

“AfricAid is our partner and we have worked with them for years now. They are very supportive to us in educating our girls and bring a visibly positive impact to the community. A few of our teachers are involved in the process and this is good.”

 

This positive testimonial came from the headmaster of Mkuu Secondary School, Mr. Kitileja Mashimba, during Form Six Kisa Scholar graduations. Feedback from school administrators and teachers encourages us very much. A strong partnership with them can really make a difference in the effectiveness of our program and our ability to expand it.

 

Head of school at Mkuu Secondary, Mr. Kitileja Mashimba, with a group of Kisa Scholars and their teacher.

 

Kisa Project and Binti Shupavu Mentors make lot of effort to cultivate good relationships with their teacher colleagues. So much so that relationship building has become a cultural backbone of AfricAid. We greet teachers and staff as we report to each school each day, and we share stories with them. We understand that building trust and strong relationships will enhance support from them, as well as open up two-way communication. They know what we are doing, and in turn, we can get useful information from them. Over lunch together, we receive feedback about the programs’ impact on the girls and this is a happy moment for everyone. One head of school shared this during a casual moment:

 

“It has been just eight months since the introduction of Kisa at my school.  Already, I see girls in my school have self-confidence, express themselves well, and they have good goals and time management. The materials support for those in need is also so helpful.”

 

Sharing a joke also comes easily when you have developed a lighthearted interaction with people. We call some of the male teachers “Wanaume Shupavu,” or “Courageous Men” for supporting Binti Shupavu, our “Courageous Daughters.”  Sociability like this builds loyalty and the teachers become champions for our work.

 

Three Kisa Scholars (L-R: Lowema, Antasia, Beatrice) stand with one of their favorite teachers, Mr. Ben, at Weruweru Secondary School.

 

When headmasters talk to other headmasters or headmistresses about the program, there cannot be a better advocate. Expanding Binti Shupavu from eleven schools to fifteen schools in 2019 was not been difficult as our excellent reputation spreads and those making decisions hear positive things from their colleagues.

 

“I am a friend of the headmaster from Kifaru Secondary School,” said one of our new partners,  “and he told me a lot about your work.  This made me wish to have the Kisa Project at my school too. Now I am happy to have this opportunity for the Advanced Level girls at my school. Please think also about bringing Binti Shupavu for the Ordinary Level girls.”

 

Mr. Mashimba shares a laugh with some of his best students – Kisa Scholars!

Through our partnership building, the administration at Partner Schools is ready to lend a hand when we need it and heads of school and teachers give their full support to AfricAid’s Mentors. A recent example of this was on International Women Day. Kisa Scholars from Machame Secondary School performed a 2 Day Challenge (our practical community development activity) targeted to younger students at a nearby school.  The topics were being proud to be a woman and feminine hygiene.  The Scholars created signs for the classroom that said:

 

“A Woman is where her Family Deposits all Angers, Worries and Hurts.  Proud to be a Woman!”

 

“Proper Use of Sanitary Towels.  Your Cleanliness makes you Healthy! Take Action!”

 

The headmistress of Machame (shown at top with the Scholars, heading out on their 2 Day Challenge) also provided the school car and encouraged them by saying:

 

“Today is our day and you need to go out and inspire others and share the good things you have learned so that other girls can become like you.  Go and give out confidently what you have learned.”

 

(Read about another 2 Day Challenge project that took place at Mr. Mashimba’s school, Mkuu.)

 

We also like it when heads of schools and teachers visit Kisa and Binti Shupavu classes and participate with the Scholars. Our sessions therefore also serve to build better relationships between students and their teachers. Teachers support girls by giving them their opinions and guidance, which corresponds with our curriculum.  They willingly to give up their free time to accompany Kisa and Binti Scholars to events like Career Day and Health Symposium.

 

Director of Programs, Devotha Mlay, shows the headmistress of Ashira Secondary School, Ms. Elizabeth Abdallah, where to go during Career Day in 2016.

 

Empowering girls and transforming communities is a big job, and we cannot do it without help from our partner educators. Our impact is directly related to the quality of these relationships and we are proud to be building strong ones. True change comes from a cultural change.

 

We could not do what we do without a wonderful, committed Teacher Liaison at each Partner School.  Read more about these special supporters of our work!

 

Contributed by: Sarafina Kifaru, Kisa Mentor and Alumna



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