After arriving in Tanzania and completing orientation, each group of volunteers was told about the various projects going on in their particular community location (Arusha, Morogoro or Zanzibar). I was lucky enough to get to go to Zanzibar for my placement, an island renowned for its beautiful beaches and lively culture. In our location, YCI had proposed seven projects that the three of us in my team would be working on, and we each decided to be lead on two of them. The two projects that I was most excited to work on was the Emerging Leaders Workshop and the SEDO environmental project. For this post, I would like to give everyone back home a little insight into my Emerging Leaders Workshop and what the participants in it think of it so far.
I was very nervous in the beginning, as this is the first program with a focus on leadership and employability that the YCI team has run in Zanzibar. YCI’s programs in Zanzibar are run in collaboration with ZANGOC, a partner NGO, and its forty member organizations. ZANGOC selected 20 promising youth participants from their member organization to attend the Emerging Leaders program.
The first phase I was responsible for was creating a lesson plan for seven weeks, three days a week. This task seemed daunting at first, but after researching literature on the topic of leadership and looking back on the goals YCI had set for the program, I had a much better idea about what activities would be successful in the curriculum. An important aspect of leadership is confidence; so much of the work we do has elements that help to build confidence and life skills, with the idea to transform the participants into leaders!
In the first week we started off with resumes but there was a certain reluctance from the class, people were nervous to speak in English and unsure of what I would expect them to do; however, over our first five classes people have really bonded and started to interact very well in the class. On Friday we had our first presentations to the group, to build some more confidence at public speaking, and it was amazing to see the transformation that had happened in such a short period. Many are able to speak quite fluently in English which I think they had been to nervous to show all week, and were now chatting up in front of the class with quite a bit of skill. I may not be leading the class for long at the rate they are improving!
When preparing for this post, I really wanted to take a look at the impact our programs have on the individuals we are teaching, so I have included a few photos of the presentations and of our camaraderie, also I asked the class to write a few words on how they felt about the class so far, and much of it was very touching, and made me feel like it is very much worthwhile what I am doing here.
One of the comments I received was from Omari Kallage, whom I was surprised to learn that even at a young age had already started his own barbering business and aspires to be a professional soccer player. His comment was one of my favourites,
“[sic] I like the student of this class because we live like we have the same parents. I like all of my teachers because the care about us like we are younger sisters and brothers. I signed up for this class because I know one day I will be a leader like my father, a captain on my team, and a chairman in my place. That is why I am here.”
I cannot wait to see what happens over the next four weeks and to be able to help these 20 young emerging leaders make an impact of their own.
-Adriana Koolman, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2011
For more volunteer blogs, check out our Travel Diary category.