Empower: The Kisa Project
Kisa means “story” in Swahili. Through the Kisa Project, young African women are empowered to become the creative authors of their own futures – and help to write new future stories in their communities and nation!
The Kisa Project is an initiative of AfricAid that provides school scholarships and leadership training to some of Africa’s brightest young women. Through sponsorships provided by American individuals, families and groups, these young women are able to complete their secondary school education, while also participating in a powerful, two-year leadership training program taught weekly by inspiring Tanzanian mentors. Upon graduation, these “Kisa Scholars” return to their home communities to mentor groups of other young women, thus helping to create the next generation of leaders across Africa.
Creating Global Relationships
American sponsors develop a truly meaningful connection with their Kisa Scholar in Africa, using tools for monthly dialogue and interaction through the Kisa website. Through the two-year sponsor experience, they are given the concrete tools they need to develop cross-cultural relationships, become leaders, and undertake service in their local and global communities on an ongoing basis. In this way, the Kisa Project puts into motion on both sides a powerful cycle of Sharing, Learning, Growing, and Leading.
Why Girls? Why Leadership?
Kisa’s goal is to provide young African women with schooling they might not otherwise receive, and to empower them to become leaders and mentors in their own communities. Young African girls all too often can’t afford to complete their education, and parents generally send sons to school instead of daughters, when forced to choose. Indeed, 95% of girls in Tanzania are unable to complete secondary school. At the same time, girls aren’t taught to believe they can achieve what men can, and rarely have mentors or role models to show them otherwise. Yet, these are very often the same bright young women who would eventually work to address their communities’ most pressing needs if they had the proper tools to do so. To address these many needs, the Kisa Project is providing school scholarships for girls, along with the leadership training needed to empower Africa’s young women to become community leaders and mentors to the next generation of young girls.
ImpactChange: One Girl at a Time
Through the Kisa Project, groups of Tanzanian girls are selected annually by local committees to participate in the two-year program. Weekly leadership training and individualized guidance by Tanzanian mentors allows them to grow as young leaders, and gives them the skills they need to enact change. By the end of the 2-year program, the Kisa Scholars are prepared to return home after graduation for six months and conduct life skills and leadership mentoring for 10-20 other girls. Upon completion of this six-month period, the Kisa Scholars join a powerful alumni network and are eligible for grants for social business projects of their own design.
Over 5 years, it is expected that 1,000 young women will receive scholarships and participate in the Kisa program, and that nearly 10,000 girls will have been mentored and trained by them.
At the same time, over 1,000 American families and groups will have formed relationships with their Kisa Scholar and completed the Kisa curriculum program, renewing their commitment to service, and armed with new tools with which to become leaders in their own communities and nation.