Social Change Projects
Committed to shifting the paradigm on leadership, Akili Dada embraces a vision of leadership that is rooted in service to others and a desire to catalyze social change. For us, leadership is not a top-down approach focused on telling others what to do but rather an ability to mobilize communities to work towards shared values and the common good. As such, we support the required service learning projects of our scholarship beneficiaries as well as of the Akili Dada leadership clubs in our partner schools.
During each school holiday (3 times annually), each Akili Dada scholar is required to assess her community’s challenges and design and implement a fitting project to catalyze change. This requirement ensures that our scholars remain rooted in their communities and in touch with local needs. Scholars learn how to discern their community’s needs, determine which they might realistically address, determine locally appropriate solutions, and implement projects to meet these needs. Through these requirements, they learn how to plan a project, mobilize support for their efforts, and lead diverse teams in achieving a common goal. A deep understanding of community needs is a critical underpinning for effective political engagement and serves a longer-term goal of preparing our young leaders to shape policy that improves the lives of communities across Kenya.
In developing the service learning component further, as of 2012 Akili Dada offers modest seed funding to our scholars to carry out their projects. Having access to resources which must be used wisely and be carefully accounted for not only enables them to learn important aspects of project and financial management, but also to implement more effectively projects with greater potential impact, thus elevating their role as change-makers in their communities.
Akili Dada Leadership clubs at each of our partner schools allows students who are not necessarily Akili Dada scholarship recipients to participate in service activities and group mentoring sessions. This serves to expand the reach of our program to enrich the leadership potential of a cohort of club members at each school, whose collective social change projects, assembly presentations, and peer to peer mentoring and interaction generates a ripple effect that benefits the entire school.
An estimated 5,400 people in 39 impoverished communities across Kenya have been positively impacted by social change projects designed and implemented by Akili Dada’s young women leaders