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Life Lessons – Role Models

Binti Shupavu is Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative’s  life skills program for lower secondary school girls.  The four-year course covers topics such as study skills, personal leadership, health and self-confidence with the goal of increasing Ordinary Level graduation rates for vulnerable girls. 


This is the second of a four-part series that gives a glimpse at what Scholars actually learn in a Binti Shupavu classroom.  Binti Shupavu uses a “spiral curriculum,” which means that key topics are revisited progressively each year.  (See the “Experience Map” at the bottom of this blog for more about this approach.)


As always, the lesson consists of the Binti Shupavu Mentor sharing important information and interactive activities and discussions that keep the girls engaged in the topic and give them the opportunity to express themselves. 


Unit:  Developing Your Potential

Lesson: Positive Role Models & Building Self-Confidence


Watch Video


This fun session begins and ends with the Scholars watching videos.  The girls start by viewing  “3 Tips to Boost Your Confidence.


Mentor Introduction of Topic


Today we are going to discuss how to build confidence and how to use and look up to positive role models to be inspired to succeed.  We’ve talked a lot in the last few sessions about things that can get in the way of our dreams and self-esteem, such as peer pressure and media influence.  Today, we’re going to learn ways to build up our self-esteem and rise above these kinds of outside influences.  


Class Discussion based on the Video

  • What is confidence?
  • Why is failure important?
  • What are the 3 tips to boost confidence?


Informative Lecture


Self-esteem is something that we have to build over time.  Self-esteem and confidence go together, and it is made up of thoughts, feelings, and opinions we have about ourselves.  That means self-esteem isn’t fixed.  It can change, depending on the way we think.  Over time, habits of negative thinking about ourselves can lower self-esteem.  Sometimes, people don’t even realize that they’re thinking so negatively about themselves.  But once you’re aware of it, and know that the way you think is up to you, you can begin to change the way you think.  And changing the way you think about yourself changes the way you feel about yourself.  


The Binti Shupavu Mentor goes on to list traits of people with good self-esteem and low self-esteem.


Having self-esteem matters.  It can affect almost everything we do.  Self-esteem helps us have good relationships with others, gives us the confidence to try new things, and helps us succeed.  Low self-esteem holds us back and interferes with our relationships, success, and happiness.  


Mentor Led Activity


Scholars have the opportunity to take a “Self-Esteem Inventory.”


Mentor reiterates that self-esteem can be improved and shares tips for developing strong self-esteem.


A Binti Shupavu Scholar shares her role model’s qualities and how she makes her feel.

Small Group Activity


Let’s now talk about positive role models and why it is important to have them in our lives.


For girls, having positive female role models to look up to can really help in building a sense of confidence.  Seeing other women who have beat odds and achieved their dreams can be very inspiring.


In your small group, think about some of the role models in your own lives and even famous people who you look up to.


What qualities do they have that make them stand out?


First, let’s define what a role model is.  A role model is often hard to define, because it can be different for everyone.  However, most everyone has a role model in his or her life.


Who your role model is depends as much on you as it does on the person you admire.


A Binti Shupavu Scholar proudly displays her role model activity.

  • Often, it is someone you would like to be like when you get older, or someone who does something you find difficult to do. 
  • They could be a parent, a friend, a teacher, or a sports hero. 
  • They could be someone you read about in a book or have seen on TV or heard on the radio.
  • They might be somebody who performs outstanding volunteer work.
  • They might be a community leader.
  • They might be your Mentor.
  • Maybe they are generous and kind?
  • Maybe they performed an extraordinary feat or accomplishment?
  • They might be someone right in your own village, or someone in another country.
  • Typically, a role model is brave, smart, strong, kind, thoughtful, and fun.
  • Unless it is someone out of a storybook, role models are imperfect people who might be outstanding in one or two areas.
  • Or, maybe it is someone who is far less than perfect, but is working to improve him or herself.


Think about and write a list of some heroes and role models that you are familiar with, but don’t know personally.  These could be government officials, singers, celebrities, or athletes.


Now, think about and write a list of some heroes and role models that you DO know personally, such as family, friends, or community leaders where you live.  You will probably find that there are role models right in front of you.


Draw a circle around each list of role models and as branches off these circles, write down the qualities and characteristics that make these people role models.  Why do people look up to them, admire them, or follow them?



  • What are some qualities that are important for role models to have?
  • Were there any differences between the qualities of the role models you know and those you don’t know personally?
  • How about you?  Do you think you are a role model for anyone else?  How could you be a role model if you wanted to?


Role models can be international figures, or right nearby at school and at home!

Watch Video


The session concludes with the Scholars watching “Always – Like a Girl.”


In this video, the phrase “like a girl” is challenged.  Have you ever heard someone say “you run like a girl!” or something similar?  In this video, we see that this common Western phrase is something that should be confronted and why.  As you watch, think about our topics today – self-esteem, confidence, and being a role model.  What can you do if you hear someone say something degrading to girls in the future?


Role models can be your peers! Scolastica (gold skirt) was a Binti Shupavu Scholar who went back to her village and shared what she was learning with other girls. She then recruited some of them to join the program when they reached secondary school. Read her story.




Staying True to Yourself and Knowing your Values

Being an Advocate for Yourself

Life Challenges and Resiliency


Contributed by: Asimwe Suedi, Binti Shupavu Project Manager









AfricAid mentors secondary school girls in Tanzania to complete their education, develop into confident leaders, and transform their own lives and their communities.  We equip girls to overcome challenges and reach their full potential because educated girls create lasting positive change.  The outcome is proactive, resilient, and socially-responsible girls who secure better jobs, raise healthier families and increase the standing of women in society.


Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative (GLAMI) is AfricAid’s program implementation partner in Tanzania.