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and communities in East Africa.

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Form-2 African student transforming lives of pupils

On 1 November 2019, Richard Elius, a form two student of Mwayunge secondary school, took a bold step of reaching out to Jitegemee primary school students in Tabora region, Tanzania. Having participated in the September 2019 regional Leadership and Entrepreneurship Incubator summit, he was motivated to “Pay it Forward”. 

Being concerned about the school’s low performance in the Igunga district examinations, Richard was motivated to have the event at this school. “It was hard for the head-teacher of the school to trust me, but after showing him the certificate of appreciation I got after winning the business competition at the summit, he was very happy and had faith in me.”

 With just two weeks of preparation, over 150 students from class 3 to 5, attended the event. He conducted a dream mapping session and taught the students skills for achieving excellence at an early stage, creating their own career plans, and maximizing their effort through studies. Richard took care of all the logistics, and also purchased gifts from his personal savings to appreciate the participants.

Richard believes that empowering the younger generation can bring positive changes in communities, and this school was just a starting point of his future plans for paying it forward within Igunga district. Richard plans to expand his effort to other schools and communities. He believes that the skills he acquired at the LEI summit gave him the courage to face the challenges associated with this difficult action.

YLC Tabora Girls’ Advancement Event

On 11 October, 2019 the Youth Leadership Club (YLC) gathered all regional and district coordinators in the Tabora region to run a girls’ advancement event. Girls from schools all around the region attended the event and the YLC held discussions on girls’ advancement. Topics included the position of girls in society, dream mapping, gender equality, the path to success in exams, girls’ rights, and entrepreneurship. Common challenges girls in Tabora faced, such as early marriage, forced marriage, poverty, and the lack of education opportunities, were also discussed. Many spoke on how cultural practices like forced and early marriages prevent girls’ political, social, and economic development. The event ended with everyone feeling energized. The discussions helped to encourage girls to remain aware of the positive changes that have occurred and to continue fighting to bring forward complete girls’ advancement!

Tabora Roots – Keep Your City Clean, Tanzania

Kaliua’s Youth Leadership Club (YLC) introduced the slogan “Keep Your City Clean” after a discussion with the local government on how to encourage community members to take care of their city. Keeping their city clean started with their own streets. On 28 September, 2019 the YLC went out to the streets and got children to volunteer with them as they walked through their community to pick up plastic bags and other waste. 

YLC leaders see street clean up as important because it can inspire villagers and children to be motivated in cleanliness that would help them avoid illnesses that can occur due to waste materials being in the environment. After the group collected all of the plastic bags, they started cleaning houses in the community. Kids went from one house to another sweeping the ground as homeowners and those nearby watched in praise. Mashaka Ntibala, the local government leader, had commented in their discussion that “if you’re to succeed in this program, you are supposed to be an example.” The YLC took those words to heart and were the perfect examples of leaders for the younger children in Kaliua.

Hasan’s Road to Rabbits, Tanzania

Despite living a long distance from his school (Mwayunge Secondary School) and learning at a economically-challenged school, Hasan Alfani joined Youth Leadership Club and attended the LEI training. Though he did not continue with education, his LEI training helped him explore future career opportunities and provided him with skills to develop as he searched for a vocation.

With the support of his parents, Hasan began developing his leadership and communication skills as he searched for his path in life. He studied welding, agriculture, and dreamt of becoming a veterinarian. Hasan also wanted to join the military for a time, going so far as to ace the interview portion with the communication skills he learned from LEI. However, after using dream mapping techniques learned at LEI, Hasan moved past all these ideas and began taking care of rabbits, starting out with just two.

 Now, at the young age of 19, Hasan Alfani has become the most successful seller of rabbits in his town. While his business is located at home, he still sells the meat, fur, and manure in markets in Mwanza and Dar es Salaam.

Using the skills he learned from YLC, Hasan plans to begin marketing his business through social media. He hopes to one day grow his business to have a larger space, modern cages, and better drainage systems. 

Special thanks to Khatib who contacted Hasan for this story.

Sewing Their Way to the Top, Kenya

In the Wezesha Vijana Club at Mwangaza Muslim Secondary School in Samburu, Kenya, young women and school administrators work together to develop sustainable, applicable business skills.

The Club focuses on supporting income-generating activities for both the school and the community by encouraging female students to propose business ideas. 

Already, one student, who is an aspiring fashion designer, has pitched ideas to several investors who in turn have provided sewing machines for the school.

Now, the school has scheduled sewing sessions after school for girls to put their ideas into practice. 

Pulling Together & building Opportunities for Girls, Kenya

The Girls’ Advancement Program has supported the establishment of systems both in and out of school which will spread awareness of the importance of financial literacy and support income-generating activities.

In the Suguta Community of Maralal, Kenya, schools conducted a community analysis to identify economic benefits and opportunities for adolescent girls while also recommending certain approaches to their goals and developing school-based business plans. This analysis found that communities prioritized the eradication of hunger.

Given this finding, the Girls’ Advancement Program proposed the idea to families and schools, that girls would benefit from this program by developing tools for financial autonomy and helping their communities’ hunger concerns as well. The first initiative focused on organic vegetable planting through one sack, which carries 50-100 seedlings, that each household was tasked to water daily for the regular provision of vegetables.

Married, and Back in School, Kenya

After being orphaned during the 2007 Kenyan post-election crisis, Pauline Naserian and her brothers were brought up by their grandmother. At the age of thirteen, Pauline’s uncle took advantage of her youth and secretly married her off to a man three times her age. She spent four miserable months being isolated from her family and community before she escaped and returned to school. Luckily, after reporting the incident of her marriage to the school, Pauline was given a scholarship at A. I. C. Girls’ Primary School in Kaijado, Kenya.

Now, at age fifteen, Pauline has gone through Wezesha Vijana training and has brought her leadership skills back to her school, mentoring over 150 of her peers. Even though she is not yet in secondary school, Pauline has already decided that she wants to become a lawyer in order to rescue other girls who have been forced into early marriages.

Damaris Empowers Female Students, Kenya

As a teacher and Head of Guidance and Counseling at Sitet Primary School in Narok, Kenya, Damaris Keroti has had plenty of experience witnessing the social isolation young girls face after they begin puberty. With many of her students dropping out due to pregnancy or shying away from social interaction due to their menstrual cycle, Damaris chose to attend the Asante Africa Foundation’s Girls’ Advancement Program. This training helped create a supportive and open relationship between staff and female students, which has ultimately led to the improvement of the school’s performance.

Damaris and her fellow faculty members were able to convince the headmaster to provide sanitary pads and painkillers to students during their menstrual cycle. Now, female students are enabled to attend classes and trainings, such as the Wezesha Vijana (Girls’ Advancement) Program, which furthers their education and provides helpful training in health and finance. 

Sanaiyan Shows Her Strength, Kenya 

After Sanaiyan was orphaned at a young age, circumstances became even tougher for her as she got pregnant at the age of 14, and was forced to drop out of school. She was under constant pressure from society that eventually led her to miscarry. For a Maasai girl raised in a male dominated society, this should have been the end. But not for Sanaiyan.

Once selected to join Asante Africa’s Wezesha Vijana Program, Sanaiyan began to be mentored by her peers. It was a turning point for her. She became educated on her personal rights, how to seek help, and how to use her voice. Soon she ranked #1 in 8th grade. She prove herself to be a superstar for her strength to move forward despite her circumstances.

Sanaiyan now is a Wezesha Vijana mentor to young girls struggling with similar issues. From a life overcoming challenges to a life full of hope. As Sanaiyan says, “life is a struggle without education, and it’s hard to survive in this competitive world without it”.

Community Garden Project, Tanzania

Awadhi and Mwajuma along with 28 club members decided to start a vegetable garden as an income generating activity in their community. They believe that apart from the learnings received in the Girls’ Advancement Program on rights, life skills, and sexual/reproductive health, they needed something else to keep them united, practice what they have learned, and share their new knowledge.

Despite the lack of capital, the club decided to start somewhere regardless how small it could be. They began planting maize in a small Lushoto District village. They believe that in order to have their voices heard in their community, they needed to do something visible and tangible.

students start a maize farm

Girls Start A Maize Farm, Kenya

Olorroito Primary School has composed a Wezesha Vijana club of 53 members. The club launched a remarkable initiative in which girls manage and cultivate a maize farm contributing to the school’s meal supply. Most recently the girls have pooled their profits to purchase two chickens launching phase two of their project. The entire school is looking forward to eggs in their diet.

The school principal also noted increased attendance and improved confidence from the girls who launched the club enterprise.

Grace, From Alcohol to Accolades, Tanzania

Grace entered our world in 5th grade. Her family was initially very resistant because their survival depended on the income she made selling homemade beer with her grandmother. Asante Africa Foundation supported Grace with a scholarship and helped her build health, financial, and social assets through Wezesha Vijana training. Her teachers and principal kept encouraging her hard work.

Two years later, Grace graduated 1st in her school’s 7th grade class and #1 in the district. She is very proud to be the first in her extended family to attend high school. Now she is a role model to her mother and grandmother and they see how the knowledge she’s gaining is making a brighter future possible for the whole family.

Emily Thuranira, Women empowerment

Emily Beat the Odds, Kenya

Emily was selected by her school to attend the LEI Program in 2014. After numerous setbacks while growing up, like losing eyesight in one eye due to a tumor and losing her father to diabetes, Emily found herself a leader amongst her peers, frequently asked for her testimony of courage.

After attending two levels of the LEI Program, she and a fellow LEI member formed a community based youth group for rural kids in Isiolo, named Angaza Isiolo (shining light). “We educated hundreds of young children and adolescents on safety, health, sex, and children’s rights. We even launched a youth based radio broadcasting program tackling taboo topics that are critically needed, particularly in our communities with so many cultural beliefs. Thanks to the information I learned at LEI on researching and persevering, I obtained a scholarship in 2015 to join the Kenya Medical Training College. I now have a certificate in Health Records and Information Technology, and I’m working part time on my diploma. While I secure a job, I currently team with Asante Africa to motivate and teach hundreds of young girls on their rights and how to have courage to chase their dreams.”

Luciana’s Fashion Business Shines, Tanzania

Orphaned at a young age along with her twin brother, Luciana did not let her circumstances deter her from pursuing her goals. In high school she secured a scholarship with Asante Africa. New hope motivated and enabled her to excel academically. In 2017, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Food, Science and Technology.

“Having the LEI training, I and two classmates organized a club in our former high school through which over 65 girls were able to plan their futures in detail with dream mapping and goal setting sessions. Topics like savings and budgeting changed our lives after completing secondary (high) school. As I went into university, I had to quickly manage my small money given by the loan board, and I learned to cut down unnecessary expenses. I also started a fashion retail business while in university. Other students were selling clothes door to door, and I took keen interest in what college students were dressing in. I started by selling leg tights and proceeded to skinny jeans, and then to dresses. With guaranteed customers, I was motivated to grow my business. I am proud to say I was strong in overcoming challenges as they presented themselves. The skills I learned during LEI were my greatest tools.”

SAME Secondary School Pays it Forward on a Grand Scale, Tanzania

Sadick and Samwel are youth leadership club coordinators at SAME “A” Level School. In the first year their club created a national level non-profit, and opened 40 branches of youth leadership clubs across 13 regions (states) in Tanzania. “Currently we are preparing other young people to achieve their goals (dream mapping) and how to change their attitudes towards what is required to succeed. We invite entrepreneurs and professionals to help us understand careers opportunities and address challenges along the way. We believe we can create a large network of youths, who come together to share ideas, opportunities, and open doors for each other.”

They are also focused on being self- sustaining by establishing business enterprises to teach skills and raise funds to support activities. Strategic projects include: liquid soap production (“Asante Soap” that will be sold to safari tourists), and vegetable gardens to reduce expenses at the school. They have also created chemistry pamphlets to be sold to the incoming students to prepare them for exams. Samwel and Sadick and their classmates passionately embrace the “Pay it Forward” value. They share weekly lessons with parents, siblings, and community members. Group activities include visitation of local orphanage centers to offer assistance and financial support to the younger children who need it.

Bustani Secondary School Reaps Real Profits, Tanzania

After completing the LEI beginning curriculum, the club members from Bustani Secondary School developed three ideas for income generating activities – vegetable garden, selling ground nuts, and popcorn. School management provided a plot of land to the club to start their vegetable garden and $200 USD as a startup capital. They utilized school equipment such as hoes, school water, and the school watch guard. Over time, the gardens prospered enough to sell their produce at the market creating $125 USD as profit. The club is also planning to start chicken rearing by raising funds by member contributions and their current projects. Club members expect to use the profit to support poor students who cannot support themselves.

Rabbits Support Education, Kenya

Two students and one teacher attended the 2016 LEI Program from Masikonde Secondary School took what they learned and applied it to the business of raising rabbits. The school donated the materials for building the animal pens and the teachers helped secure funds for animal food. For $20, they were able to secure 5 rabbits to raise and sell. They have already increased inventory to 21 rabbits and have attracted other community groups who wish to learn the business model. Profits are ear-marked for orphan children at their school unable to pay school fees.

Though small in scale, the students proved that they can succeed in developing and operating their own enterprise as a team, and in the process teach others what they learned from the LEI Program.

Skill Development in the Rural Classroom, Kenya

Faith Sintamei Tome, a teacher at the Oloornganayio Primary School in Narok, Kenya, recently completed our Accelerated Learning in the Classroom Program. Through the training, Faith learned new skills and practices that improved her role as a teacher.

“The most important lessons I have learned from my students is that, by using tablets they are more interested in learning. There are pictures and maps which help learners to understand better. Students enjoy class the most when I give them assignments and leave them to research on their own from the tablets.”

Our Accelerated Learning in the Classroom Program involves intensive teacher training, to equip them with the skills needed to educate the youth in East Africa. The program provides digital resources to students allowing them to develop their skills.  A key focus of the program is digital literacy where teachers learn how to use digital tools to support their needs.

Asante Africa Foundation continues to support the progression of literacy and skill development through our programs. “The importance of Asante Africa is that they help to overcome some of the challenges the students and teachers go through.”