Learning leadership without practicing it would be a waste of time. A good leader is one who sees a challenge and works tirelessly to address it.
The 2 Day Challenge (2DC) is a platform for Kisa Scholars to demonstrate their leadership skills and leave a lasting legacy for their community. In this comprehensive, hands-on activity, Year Two Scholars utilize all that they have learned from the Kisa Project Curriculum by identifying a pressing challenge, writing a proposal for a sustainable solution, and collaborating with community members to implement it over a two-day period.
In 2019, there were 59 2 Day Challenge projects conducted by Kisa graduates from 27 Partner Schools. In some cases, the entire class joins together and does one big project, while in others groups of 5-10 girls execute a smaller scale idea. These practical projects take place mainly during school holiday breaks in December and March and after Form Six exams have finished in late May through early July. This way, there is no interference with other academic obligations. Therefore, for an extended period of time, every Kisa Mentor is busy listening to students’ ideas and providing guidance. These projects also are carried out in different Regions throughout the country, spreading awareness about Kisa and transforming a community’s attitude about girls’ education and what girls are capable of doing.
2 Day Challenge projects address a wide range of issues from providing health and hygiene information to younger students, planting vegetable gardens at orphanages, cleaning up water sources, drainage areas, and market places, and many others. Doing an improvement project right at their own school and improving their immediate environment, though, strikes a chord with the girls. The Year Two Scholars have been at their school long enough to identify things that need fixing or improving. They are especially proud to leave behind something that will benefit students at their school for generations to come. They are leaving the school a better place than they found it. These projects strengthen the relationship between AfricAid and its Partner Schools and also raise the bar for the subsequent Kisa Classes to come up with impactful ideas.
AfricAid provides a small budget per Scholar for each 2 Day Challenge project. Girls must pool their funds, but inevitably the project costs more to execute. Thus, they fundraise from fellow students, teachers, parents, and other community members to get the money needed to implement the projects. This requires persuasive communication skills. They also identify available resources around them such as carpenters, nurses, land, and anything that is free. This requires resourcefulness and persistence.
In this blog, we revisit some lasting improvements that were made by recent Kisa graduates at their schools.
Irkisongo Girls Secondary School – a new set of stairs makes a safer environment.
During their assessment, the Kisa Scholars determined that Irkisongo students and teachers had to walk on a very dangerous path to get from the students’ dormitories to their O-Level classes. During rainy season, this slope becomes muddy and slippery – and downright treacherous. In past years, there have been cases of students falling and injuring themselves, even breaking their legs, which obviously has a negative effect on student performance.
With the support of their Kisa Mentor and the cooperation of the Kisa Liaison at Irkisongo, the girls worked with the school administration to build a set of stairs.
Non-Kisa students at the school were very aware of who had taken the initiative to make the area safer. One of them said, “The stairs were built by the Kisa Scholars to end the challenge of accidents by students and other community members at Irkisongo Girls Secondary School. Since they have been built, I haven’t heard of any accidents. It is easier to walk at night and when it is raining.“ Another student added, “Besides being a better path, it is also a comfortable place to sit, where we can sit and discuss and exchange ideas.”
The younger Kisa Scholars definitely noticed what is going on and are excited about the challenge they will undertake next year with their own 2 Day Challenge projects. A Year One Kisa Scholar remarked, “We are proud to be known as Scholars who actively think about community challenges and are excited to think about what problems we will be able to solve when it is our turn.”
The teachers and school administration are equally impressed. “We have been so proud of what the Kisa Scholars are doing. It was a relief for the administration to see that among our students are those who are already active citizens of this nation, and that they can come up with a solution and initiate action, speaking to the administration to get a hand. What is more astonishing is that these students are young girls. It proves to us and to the community around here that women are changemakers.“ Madam Maggy and Mister Jeremiah, Teachers, Irkisongo Secondary School
Majengo Secondary School – a new message board improves communication.
Before this project, there was a notice board at Majengo, but it was not big enough for all uses. Exam results and other announcements were sometimes placed on walls. Some students were not disciplined and ripped off the announcements before others could read them.
With the support of their Kisa Mentor and the cooperation of the administration at Majengo, the girls built a new message board. By having the big and well-constructed means of communication, it benefits the whole school. Results and other school announcements are now safe and well arranged. The Kisa Scholars, non-Kisa students, and teachers all appreciated what the girls created.
“It feels good when you give back to your community and people appreciate what you did. As a young girl, it was my dream to do something in my community where I will be living. Through Kisa, it happened by making a school note board with my group.” Kisa Alumna, Majengo Secondary School
A current Year Two Kisa Scholar talked about the effect the project and the previous Kisa Scholars had on her. “I got inspired by my sisters and happy for what they did at our school. Their project boosts up my thinking capacity on how I can help my community.’’
Once again, the school administration is thankful.
‘’I never expected that young girls could do something like that. For sure, I like the good job Kisa is doing at our school. We appreciate what the Kisa students did for the whole school. It is a remarkable thing.” Head of School, Majengo Secondary School
Kifaru Secondary School – a second water tank addresses shortage at the school.
At Kifaru, there was only one water tap, which did not meet the needs of students and the school in general. The students would walk long distances to fetch water and sometimes miss class.
The Kisa Scholars came up with the idea of buying another holding tank (Sim Tank). They acquired the equipment and built a platform. Everyone at the school appreciates the Scholars’ effort.
“We really thank Kisa for what they did. We have nothing we can give in return, but what we can promise is to protect this new resource and use it sensibly.” Kisa Liaison, Kifaru Secondary School
Read another story of Kisa Scholars transforming themselves and their communities by leaving lasting legacies through their 2 Day Challenge projects. The Scholars at Mwika Secondary School renovated their school’s bathrooms for their 2 Day Challenge!
Description of Top Photo: “We had a shortage of chairs for both staff and students. It was so helpful for Kisa Scholars to provide more chairs (some were repaired and refurbished, while others were purchased). Our challenges here are endless, so we really appreciate the help.” Teacher, Mawenzi Secondary School
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.