Social Change Projects are a very integral part not only of the Akilah curriculum, but also of the Akilah spirit and mission. Our students begin planning their Social Change Projects in their Leadership & Ethics course during their second semester of Year 1, and continue building upon these projects until graduation. Students are tasked with identifying major problems in their communities and coming up with a creative solution to address these problems, using the toolbox kit developed in partnership with Girls for Change.
Our Year 2 students are still very active in the commitment they initiated in their first year at Akilah, and are managing some very impressive projects. Here are some examples of current Social Change Projects underway by our Year 2 students:
-Creating awareness around human rights: After working with and receiving training from a club in Nyamata, our students established their own Akilah Human Rights Club on campus. They then partnered with the National Human Rights Commission and organized a two-day Human Rights training at Citi Mount Hotel in Kigali on March 15th and 16th.
-Fighting domestic violence against women in Kimironko: This group made T-shirts and designed them with a message aimed at sensitizing the public about domestic violence. They are now planning to support women in that neighborhood to open up their own bank accounts as a means for self-empowerment.
-Changing poor attitudes towards work among the youth of Bumbogo: Our group set up a competition to demonstrate the ease of starting a business despite lack of financing and the importance of creating job opportunities. Our students chose the three individuals with the best business plans and awarded them with the materials needed to start up small-scale businesses. They are now working on establishing an association for the youths in this area to make it easier for them to secure loans from SACCO, a microfinance group.
-Decreasing unwanted pregnancies: This group is working on expanding their project from sensitizing youth through mass media to visiting schools and teaching girls about unwanted pregnancies. They recently organized a visit to Agahoza Shalom School to teach the students about unwanted pregnancies and help them establish a “Girl Empowerment Club”.
-Sensitizing the parents of Kacyiru about family planning: This group is currently organizing a public rally on family planning scheduled to take place in May 2012.
-Fighting against malnutrition in Nyamirambo: After teaching mothers how to make kitchen gardens, this group decided to expand on this project and is now working with Nyiranuma Health Center to secure a piece of land where mothers can grow their own vegetables on a large scale. This will enable the mothers to feed their own children as well as have surplus produce to sell in order to empower themselves economically. The students have identified women leaders from the group of mothers at the Nyiranuma Health Center with whom they are currently working.
We are so proud of our students for their commitment and efforts to improve their communities, as well as their innovative and creative ideas on ways to enact Social Change. Thank you to the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund and Yahoo for their grants of $5,000 each, which make these Social Change Projects possible!