Leadership Immersion is the practical training component of the Kisa Project. This is when Kisa Scholars go back home to do community service and give back to their community by teaching other girls some of the things they learned during their two year course. Scholars come from different parts of the country and they are responsible for finding their own group of girls back home and seeking permission from local authorities and village leaders. This gives Scholars the opportunity to practice their public speaking and interpersonal skills.
Recently AfricAid Kisa Mentors have been conducting first meetings with Scholars who are preparing to undertake Leadership Immersion. In the meeting, Mentors discuss the requirements and Kisa Scholars sign a contract committing themselves to giving back to their communities for the coming three months of their break. Scholars have been preparing for Leadership Immersion since they did their community assessment in Year One.
This year’s first meeting at Makumira Secondary School was held in May. It was a cold rainy day at the school, which is located not far from Arusha town. When we arrived, the girls had just finished their final paper of their Form 6 National Examinations, so they were still in exam mode and were very quiet, attentive and analytical of all information given to them. We began with updates on how the exams were and how they think they performed.
We then moved the discussion to a brief reminder of what Leadership Immersion is and what the expectations are when they get home. This includes constant communication with their Mentor, good behavior when visiting the various institutions they go to, having confidence, good manners and proper language, and most especially to be independent and have fun. The one who follows all these shall be rewarded at the final meeting, which takes place after Leadership Immersion is finished. We then discussed the agreement which outlines their responsibilities, which they all then signed. Scholars were given the teaching materials for the topics that they asked for, except the topic of HIV and AIDS. For this topic, it is their responsibility to do individual research and find a health expert who will accompany her to her class and give a small seminar about this issue with more detailed information because they are the experts who will have answers to the technical questions and concerns.
Scholars were very excited because after all the hype about Leadership Immersion, they were finally going to start. They were also nervous as they received the tools they were going to use for their Leadership Immersion practical, because that moment marked the beginning of their roles as leaders in their communities.
AfricAid partners with 17 different schools in Arusha and Kilimanjaro Regions and Kisa Scholars at each school are expected to participate in Leadership Immersion once they have completed the Kisa Curriculum. We are currently in the process of conducting first meetings at each school and preparing Scholars to share their knowledge and give back to their communities.
Photo: Kisa Scholars at Makumira Secondary School prepare for Leadership Immersion.
By: Eligrania Lema, Kisa Mentor