In Tanzania, Year 2 Scholars of the Kisa Project have been doing a lot of celebrating. Now that they have arrived at the end of this two-year program, it’s time for Scholars say goodbye to their Mentors and to each other as the mentoring program comes to a close. But not for long – many of these young women continue to remain in touch with their on to join the Kisa Alumnae Network.
An Important Piece of the Kisa Curriculum
Graduations are a celebration, but this is also an important component of the program. Celebrations prove to girls that Kisa Project was useful and valuable – after all, they have completed a robust curriculum that has helped them deeply explore their personal values, leadership motivations, career interests, and led them to design and implement their own 2 Day Challenge projects to solve real problems in their communities. At graduation, they are celebrated for their personal achievements during the program and for their commitment to growing as responsible leaders.
But graduations are important for Mentors, too – this celebration is also a celebration of each Mentor’s achievement in successfully mentoring these girls to a place where they feel confident in themselves and in their ability to design their own futures. This is a Mentor’s final chance to address her entire class of Scholars regarding the new academic and life stage each girl is about to begin. And it’s a chance to remind girls that this only marks the start of her next phase of involvement with GLAMI. There are so many ways for Scholars to continue to engage, from social media involvement to alumnae programming opportunities.
The Celebration Agenda
Graduation ceremonies are small, in-school celebrations that involve the graduating class, their Mentor, various school leaders, and additional members of the GLAMI team. After introducing special guests, there are speeches, followed by dancing, role play activities, skits, songs, and poems that celebrate the girls’ achievements and learnings. A guest of honor delivers remarks, which are followed by the cutting of a cake (signifying achievement), awarding of certificates and gifts (pens, pencils, rulers and erasers that can be used in a few weeks when they take their final school exams), music, snacks and soft drinks and closing remarks. Certificates commend each girl as ambassadors of Gender Equality.
Words of Wisdom
GLAMI staff deliver remarks to the graduating Scholars. Social workers share tips that girls can carry into adulthood, as members of society who know how to protect themselves from gender based violence, and also how and when to report violence if they see it. They also address additional scholarship resources for girls who wish to continue to university but who are unable to secure government loans to pay for tuition. The Alumnae Coordinator shares about the Kisa Alumnae Network, a way for Kisa alumnae to stay in touch with each other and their Mentors, as well as access networking and professional development opportunities. Finally, the class Mentor will speak, sharing her gratitude for their hard work, resiliency, and commitment throughout the program.
What Happens Next
After Kisa graduations end, the girls prepare to face the most important test of their academic careers to date: National Examinations. Typically, girls will have one month to prepare before they sit for their final exams, and they will use all of their effort to study and ready themselves for this test, which decides whether they will be able to continue their education at the university level. Following exams, most girls will go through military training, which is required for three months by Tanzanian law for all students leaving the education system. Students may write for permission to delay their military training until after attending university, and some girls do. Other girls choose to take short courses or continue to volunteering opportunities while waiting for the results of their final exams.
Mentors often share inspirational phrases or favorite quotes they have collected. A few shared during this year’s graduations included Opportunity doesn’t knock on a door, and Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible!”
We couldn’t agree more. Cheers to the Kisa Class of 2023!