Akili Dada held its second Leadership Academy this year for its high school beneficiaries at Brackenhurst Conference Center discussing sexual and reproductive health.

Over four days, the Center for the Study of Adolescence facilitated the sessions, which doubled up as an exciting introduction to computer use generously donated by Xpose.co.ke. The sessions focused on discussing and imbibing knowledge ranging from emotional challenges, body changes, girls rights, sexuality and love. The girls found these sessions enriching, eye opening and challenging. The session titled “love shouldn’t hurt” was perhaps the most engaging. Girls talked about their own experiences, that of their friends and family members. Out of this academy, they were able to demystify some of their misconceptions about pregnancies, sex, HIV and AIDS, sexuality, among others.

In between learning about sexual and reproductive health, the scholars, alumnae and staff had the opportunity to visit Strathmore University and Royal Media Services. These guided tours served as well deserved breaks from the rigorous school term and intense debates. At Royal Media Services, they had a guided tour by Tom Bwana but spent most of their time in the radio guest transmission room, looking into the room from which radio presenters transmit their shows live. Scholars were given a chance to ask all types of questions from the qualifications needed to be a journalist, to how the editors choose content.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the tour was when Davis Mwabili better known as Inspector Mwala left the transmission room and joined the scholars on the other side of the glass wall. One of the girls noted that he actually is hilarious in person, as much as he is on TV and Radio. Esther Ndanu, a big fan of Radio Citizen, and passionate about becoming a radio presenter, was given a chance to go on radio. Esther, introduced herself and sent salaamz to her parents and friends. This was her moment of fame and she truly shone!

Across town at Strathmore, the other group of students were shown around by a member of the external relations team. They visited the management science building, Strathmore Law School, and the student center. They met some of the student leaders and had a Q&A session with the academic representative. It was refreshing for the scholars to see a young woman holding this leadership position and exciting to pick her brain on the school’s selection processes, induction, balancing a demanding academic load with leadership positions, qualities and incentives for becoming a student government leader.

A key lesson from this Academy was on the importance of communication especially in the relationships we build as well as in understanding and instilling knowledge about how to care for ourselves and others. This Academy was no doubt the beginning of exciting conversations and teachable moments for our scholars as they headed home for a well-deserved break from school.

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