There are a number of new faces on the AfricAid Board of Directors. We are excited about the new ideas and opinions, along with the variety of experience and skills that will help steer the future of our girls mentoring organization.
There is one new board member that we are particularly enthused about – Josephine Masandika. Jozy’s unique perspective and understanding of the life and challenges of the Tanzanian school girl will be invaluable on the AfricAid Board and we welcome her!
If her name sounds familiar, it might be because we featured Josephine’s story in a blog in June, 2017. Jozy has long been connected with AfricAid, actually since before the Kisa Project launched in 2010. Back then, she provided input to Ashley Shuyler about the organization’s new leadership curriculum. Jozy continued on to graduate from the Emma Willard School and Lake Forest College (BS in Biology/Neuroscience). When we last left off with Jozy, she was starting a new chapter in graduate school. Let’s catch up with her now!
What have you been doing since we last wrote about you 3 ½ years ago?
I got into graduate school at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for a Masters of Science in Bioengineering & Biomedical Engineering and graduated from the program in summer, 2019. I was hired as a Global Technical Services engineer at Baxter Healthcare and I am working there now.
What do you hope to contribute as a board member?
As a young person who has had the privilege of being an AfricAid alumna, I hope to bring a unique viewpoint to the board. Additionally, I plan to use the experience I have gained as a young professional in a big company, as well as a young black female in the growing industry of Bioengineering to help bring to life AfricAid’s efforts to be a leader in mentoring programs for young women.
What do you hope to learn and experience from being a board member?
I hope to learn how to leverage my position both as a young board member, an engineer, and a Tanzanian to help as many young women as I can realize their potential. I have only had two board meetings so far, but I already feel motivated to think big in terms of the impact of my decisions and my actions.
What sets AfricAid and its sister organization, GLAMI, apart from most other girls’ education and empowerment organizations?
Focus! This seems like a simple thing but most organizations try to cover as much ground as possible and touch as many people as possible. While this is admirable and has an impact, it tends to be short term because there is a lot to do and a lot of people to help. AfricAid/GLAMI have managed to create a focused approach that results in long term results. This is evident in the number of Kisa Project alumnae who go on to give back, some through coming back in Mentor roles. (Note: AfricAid TZ became Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative, or GLAMI, at the beginning of 2020).
What can organizations do to help more girls realize their potential?
Mentoring is a powerful tool. Representation really matters, being mentored by someone means having a second hand to help you through tough times, it means having someone there to lift you up when you need it. Sometimes having this someone in your corner makes all the difference in the world.
Do you have a Mentor? Have you been a Mentor? Why is mentoring important?
I have three mentors at Baxter. I am currently a mentor through mentoring programs at Baxter and my alma mater, Lake Forest College. One quote that reminds me of the importance of mentoring is “We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” — Whoopi Goldberg.
AfricAid would like to be a leader in an international movement of girls’ mentoring programs. What advice would you give for a path forward?
Keep doing what you are doing because it is really making a difference.
What excites you about the work AfricAid/GLAMI is doing 20 years after it began?
Knowing how many young women like myself will have bright futures because of GLAMI’s programs.
AfricAid works to improve the standing of women in society through robust, locally-led mentorship initiatives that cultivate confidence, improve academic and health outcomes, and promote socially-responsible leadership skills. In close partnership with our sister organization, GLAMI (Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative), we support mentorship opportunities that help secondary school girls in Tanzania complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities.