In Tanzania, where Kisa Project was developed, young women are not generally taught to believe they are equal to their male counterparts and rarely have role models to show them otherwise. Kisa gives young women the confidence and skills they need to reach their personal potential, pursue excellence in leadership, prepare for future employment, and initiate and contribute to meaningful change in their communities and the broader society.
Girls who wish to enroll in Kisa Project self-select through a voluntary application process. After girls apply, they go through an interview in order to enter the program. This helps ensure that girls enrolled in the program are girls who want to be there. Girls served through Kisa are typically age 17-21 and class sizes hold approximately 40-50 Scholars.
The Kisa Experience
Weekly Kisa Classes
Led each week by the same university-educated woman Mentor, these weekly classes form the core of the Kisa Project. Scholars learn about developing personal leadership skills, building relationships, and creating a positive vision for their community. Through these sessions, girls develop deep, lasting bonds with their Mentor, and with each other.
Three times each year, Scholars attend special health sessions where they learn about health topics directly from medical experts, including: personal relationships, feminine hygiene, sexual activity, family planning, HIV/AIDS, and drugs and alcohol.
Topics are selected through a participatory process, involving the girls as they submit health questions and topics they would like to have answered. Recent topics have included mental health, reproductive health, menstrual hygiene, and more. The health education GLAMI provides is crucial to helping girls shape their own futures.
Each fall, Career Day is the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of career exploration for girls in their second year of Kisa Project. Scholars work in groups over several months to select, research and visualize their future careers. On Career Day, Scholars give a presentation about their selected careers to professionals who work in those fields. Afterward, professionals stay to answer questions and share advice on how Scholars can reach their career goals.
End of Year One Presentations
At the end of their first year of Kisa Project, every Year One Kisa Scholar is required to work in a team to research, prepare and present a presentation identifying a challenge in their school environment. Through these presentations, Scholars use skills they have attained during Kisa Classes and come up with creative solutions for how to address different challenges faced in their communities. They will work in teams during their second year of Kisa Project to solve these problems during their 2 Day Challenge.
2 Day Challenge
The capstone of Kisa Project, 2 Day Challenge (2DC) projects typically involve 50-60 small-scale school and community-based initiatives that promote self-reliance, foster development through training and small infrastructure improvements, and typically have an immediate and dramatic effect on local communities. While projects change every year, they are typically designed to address the health, education, or environment of a specific community. 2DC projects help girls develop planning, leadership, and project management skills. Through these projects, girls demonstrate to their communities – and to themselves – they are capable of initiating positive change.
Pictured: At Irkisongo Girls Secondary School, one group of Scholars taught skills from the Kisa Project “Business Nuts and Bolts” lesson to small entrepreneurs at the local marketplace, and constructed tables for these vendors to use to sell their items.
Additional Kisa Benefits
Scholars also have access to the Student Emergency Fund, which helps support basic needs for Scholars who might not otherwise be able to secure personal care items, clothing, food or other necessities. Kisa University Scholarships are also granted to several Scholars each year to help provide financial support and better prepare Scholars for life after the Kisa Project.