AfricAid’s entire staff and Board were thrilled when Jana Hardy Kinsey accepted the position of Executive Director in September. During her nearly four years with the organization as Country Director, Jana oversaw the expansion of the Kisa Project from 179 Scholars at 8 Partner Schools to 992 Scholars at 20 Partner Schools this fall. We can’t imagine anyone better suited to strategically and purposefully lead AfricAid into the future!
Jana moved to Tanzania in 2010 to work with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. She fell in love with Tanzania and the wonderful people she met there, and started a small legal aid project to provide training and assistance to women with property and inheritance difficulties. Soon after, she met her husband. They now live near Arusha with their toddler daughter, Lydia. Jana will continue to live and work in Tanzania as Executive Director. We are especially excited about Jana’s experience with and connections to the program on the ground.
In this Q&A blog, we’d like you to learn more about Jana, including her views on the future of the Kisa Project.
What do you like the most about living in Tanzania?
The people! I love walking into the AfricAid office in the morning, and being surrounded by enthusiastic, hardworking women who are determined to make a difference in their country and the world. They’re inspiring!
Where would you like to see AfricAid in 10 years?
AfricAid is a girls’ education organization, and our flagship program, the Kisa Project, empowers young women to become transformative community leaders. I would like to see the reach of the Kisa Project expand throughout Tanzania, empowering girls from every region in the country. The young women who participate in Kisa are already very accomplished academically; Kisa gives them the tools they need to become visionary leaders, capable of making a powerful and positive impact on their community.
What qualities does a young woman need to succeed as a Kisa Scholar?
The most important quality for a Kisa Scholar is a commitment to giving back to her community. Kisa is a leadership program and we believe deeply in “paying it forward.” The young women who excel in the Kisa Project share this belief. Some Kisa Scholars join the program because they already have an idea of how they want to positively impact their community. Those girls come to us seeking the skills they need to reach their goals. Others know that they want to change the world around them, but aren’t sure where to start. Kisa helps those young women to think critically about the problems they see, to engage their friends and neighbors, and to develop community driven solutions.
– Swahili saying: Tupo pamoja; We are together!
– Book: The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros
– Movie: The Royal Tenenbaums
– Food: Brunch!
– Tanzanian Food: Makonde; it’s a bean and corn stew, usually served to Tanzanian students for lunch when they’re in primary school. It’s so tasty when made with love!