My time in Zanzibar was short, but sweet. In just 6 weeks, I was able to contribute to the ongoing Emerging Leaders program that YCI has been running in Mwana Kwerekwe for the past few years. Most recently, participants have articulated an interest for a course more focused on project management skills. Therefore, my task in Zanzibar was to design a curriculum for a year-long Emerging Leaders course that would consist of some general life skills material, as well as more specific project management skills.
This was a big task for such a short time! My first order of business was to consult with past participants and the local NGOs that would benefit from this type of course, to see what their needs were and what they really wanted to learn. These meetings were fruitful and helped me to better understand the various roles that civil society organizations play in Zanzibar. It was also great to get to speak with past participants and hear about what they had learned in previous YCI courses and what has helped them in their day-to-day lives. From there, I could start organizing all my ideas and all that I had learned from them into modules, sections and lessons.
It took some time to acknowledge, but I soon realized that most things in Zanzibar happen at a little slower pace. Between my own ailments, power outages, weddings, exercise club, and other “not-to-be-missed” cultural experiences, all my tasks seemed to take longer than originally anticipated. I was happy to take it in stride though, as these were all important parts of the whole adventure! All of these experiences contributed to a great deal of personal and professional development. Through the creation of this curriculum, I felt I effectively articulated what I had learned from my various meetings and was able to contribute ideas from my own education and background in international development. It felt great to be creating something that will be used and built on for years to come in the local community. I can only hope that as the local needs evolve, so too will the program.
Being in Zanzibar and learning about the culture and the various needs of the community, I got to witness all that is being done to work towards a better future. It was an amazing experience to hear from local youth about where improvements have been made and what the needs are as we move forward. A good attitude goes a long way and I felt that almost everyone I met seemed to tackle every challenge with a great amount of positivity and determination. It is my hope that the Emerging Leaders Program will continue to support local youth and that this new curriculum will offer the new material needed to spark new motivation and new ideas. The whole experience was one of great learning and amazing adventures that will not soon be forgotten!
-Stephanie McAnany, Youth Innovator, Tanzania 2012