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Project Africa Partnership with International University Students

Project Africa is a non-profit organization that is working to promote gender equality and empowerment of women.

We engage international university students to work with us as volunteers and interns. The students whom we refer to as development mentors participate in our women empowerment projects by sharing their knowledge, skills and talents with women and girls in our projects. since 2008 we have been priviledged to host over 30 international students and volunteers from Scandinavian countries, USA and Canada. The development mentors have been teaching English and Arithmetic in our adult literacy classes or Home work Project for girls. They have also engaged in business planning, finacial literacy and business education with the women entreprenuers. Others have participated in our health program teaching health literacy and serving in the medical clinic. Computer training and fashion design have also been imparted to women in our Network

1) What is a specific challenge facing your organization or community that you need to solve in order to be able to move forward with your vision?
The challenge of lack of vocational skills amongst women is common in communities where we serve. Women who wish to engage in business lack ideas on where or in what they can invest. literacy is also low meaning taht women cannot compete favourably with men in the formal sector. while in the informal sector they lack the skills to practise profitable agriculture, entreprenuership etc.
We also have a need to construct a mission house and women academy these being a housing facility for our visiting mentors dubbling also as a safe house for temmporary accomodation for women threatened by domestic violence or forced marriages respectively. and the women academy will be an education facility for women

2) What kind of expertise is needed to help you solve this challenge?
Project Africa needs students with expertise in Business Administration, health (Women Health), Mechanical engineering, computer software engineers, solar lighting engineers, adult education curriculum planners, media praction, and ICT

3) In what ways might a student, or team of students, be able to help?

students staying 1-3 months can be engaged in the technical roles as well as basic resposiblities such as
Teaching English in the Adult literacy Class
Assisting Girls with Home work in English, Mathematics and science
Training women in various vocations such as tailoring and dress making / fashion Designing, hair dressing , catering and food processing , agriculture and farming, auto mobile mechanics , repair of mobile phones, repair of electronics and computers etc
agricultural and farm skills
computer office packages and quick books, internet and email
architectural technical support, makeover of female headed houses, capentry, painting, etc
Media work ( videography, graphic design etc
Business administrion , Bussiness planning, financial literacy, book keeping, marketing, etc

We welcome participation from MIT students. Our website www.projectforafrica.org has more details

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Comments

Elizabeth Hoffecker's picture

Thank You!

Thank you for your detailed post! Project Africa is an inspiring organization, and many of your organization's need fit well I think with the type of projects that MIT students would get excited to work on.

I am particularly interested to learn more about your needs in the following areas:

    architectural technical support: specifically, what type of support do you need? (for example, assistance with designing of buildings? coming up with plans for construction? actually building the structures? etc...). Can you also explain a bit more what the project of making over female-headed houses involves?

    solar lighting: what type of projects could students work on related to this? what type of technical challenges are you facing?

    mechanical engineering: what specific needs do you have in this area? this is something MIT students are very good at, so if you have a challenging project for them in this area, they might be very interested!

    vocational training: do you need people to provide the training, or do you also need support developing curricula, manuals, training materials, etc...?

In general, MIT students get excited about service projects that allow them to play a significant role in designing solutions to some type of technical or organizational challenge, which they can complete by the time they leave and which will bring lasting benefit to the organization and community. In general, they do not tend to volunteer in administrative roles or roles which need to be filled again when they are gone (such as coaching or providing direct services). Rather, they tend to get excited about creating something concrete (such as a training program/manual, or a new invention, or a solution to a technical problem, or a design for a new building, etc...) which they can leave behind and which will build the capacity of the organization they work with, even after they are gone.

It would be great to learn a bit more about the needs you have related to the areas I mentioned above!

Excited to learn more,

Elizabeth

mamaAfrica's picture

Project Africa

It is in our vision that we may be able to construct a women's Academy- An institution for learning that will cater for the educational needs of women and offer them the room to pursue literacy and vocational skills at their own pace. We wi include a nursery and baby care centre in the same compound so that women with children under five can still attend school because they will have baby care services offered at the institution. Other building and construction needs include a mission house in our station in Lungalunga. A mission house is safe house taht helps us to temporarily accomodate women nad girls threatened with domestic violence and forced marriages respectively. The house has rooms for visiting developement mentors and staff on duty .For this reasons we will need technical support in Architecture first with designing /drawing of a possible building plan. Later we wil require students who can offer expertise in designing furnishings and/or also with construction.

On solar lighting, It is evident that most of the women in our network are heads of households living in rural villages or in the slums of Nairobi. They need cheaper energy equipment that will aid in their lighting systems nad cooking. Students who can design and build solar panels for these purposes will be doing a great social justice to women. I envision that the women and the students can jointly establish a social enterprise where the women can sell the solar equipment (stoves/ food preservation equipment/ Lamps) through social marketing to other members of the community thus earn an income.

About vocational training, We most importantly need support in formulating training manuals and curricula in various vocations. Our approach is learning by doing and earning and thus it will be important that the manuals/carricula include a model that will allow the trainees to initiate income generating activities while learning.

In 2011, we will launch a pilot project of training women in automobile Mechanics. We realise that Kenya's automobile industry is one of the fastest growing industry with the importation of second hand vehicles. We also note that there is lack of experts in repair of automatic gear motorvehicle and Hybrid auto mobiles. If we can empower women with skills in these areas, we will be preparing them to take control of an industry that has been dominated by men for a long time. so if we get students who can work alongside women trainees in our automobile work shop to serve motorvehicles customers then we are assured of work for many women in our project. We will be honoured to host students who can work with women mechanics to to a total make ove for old cars this in itself is an industry that would provide women a livelihood.

These are my thoughts for now. I welcome more contributions as we brainstorm

Elizabeth Hoffecker's picture

Next Steps!

Wonderful! Thank you for providing this detail on the needs of your organization. After talking to people at MIT, there are two projects in particular that they are interested in: 1) your architecture project and 2) the solar lighting/affordable energy project. They feel that these are both projects that students would be very interested in helping out with.

The next step is for you to fill out a slightly more detailed form for each of these projects, which I will then forward to the Public Service Center at MIT, which is the group that shares these opportunities with students.

Next Steps:

1. I will post the MIT form to the Group Journal so you can access it. You will need to fill out a separate form for each project (one for the architecture project, one for the energy project).

2. I will send you a private message with my email, so you can email me the forms when you have filled them out. If you have any questions about what's needed to fill out the form, please also feel free to get in touch with me through email.

3. Once you've submitted the forms to me, I'll look them over, work with you to make any changes if we need them, and then I will submit them to MIT. If they need any other information at that point, they will let me know and I will get back in touch with you.

In the mean time, I also encourage you to post each of the four needs you listed above to the Resource Exchange (http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/exchange) as well, so other members of the broader PulseWire community can see what needs you have. You can just build on what you've written in the post above if you want, since that describes your needs clearly.

Looking forward to taking the next steps together!

Elizabeth

annetteruss's picture

Project Africa

This is such a great connection! I work with women and girls in rural Kenya and have been extremely interested in the charcoal making project that was designed in 2006 at MIT.

The biggest challenge to our program, like I am sure is true of other programs, is to develop a sustainable source of funds for operating our program. Under the direction of our program director in Kenya, we are developing projects in collaboration with women's self help groups. We provide a loan for the start up costs, assistance in registration and administrative duties, training, ongoing business consulting and marketing assistance. Currently we have a tree nursery and a mushroom farming project.

The loan is administered by the Women's Enterprise Fund and through the Ministry of Gender and Social Services.
Rather than repaying interest on the loan and, as small compensation for our organizations services, the women's group donates a part of the profits to help fund our girls' empowerment programs

We would be extremely interested in someone train our group for the charcoal making project and for other viable projects that also use in country resources.

Finally, one of our dreams as well is to build a Women and Girl's Resource Center in our District, where our program and others similar to it could conduct our programs. We believe that by building such a center, it would represent the powerful recognition of the importance of "educating and empowering women and girls".

The name of our organization is Just One Person. We are a registered non profit in the U.S. and a registered NGO in Kenya as well. Two women volunteer their time to operate our programs and they are assisted by a seven member Board of Directors. In the U.S., our major function is fundraising and measurment and evaluation.

I will be in Kenya from Feb 18th-March 10th.

Our website is www.justoneperson.org.

I would love to correspond with you. We are one of the only programs for girls operating in rural Western Kenya where girls are an overlooked population.

Annette Lilly Russ

jadefrank's picture

Re-posted in group

Hi Annette,

I re-posted this in the Group Journal, so that other members of the group could see it, and so that Elizabeth, the group moderator could be sure to see it as well!

Best,
Jade

mamaAfrica's picture

Amazing

Dear Annette

Just one Person is an amazing project. Yourselves and us share alot in common in the empowerment of Girls. We in Project Africa reach out to girls because we realise that they are bypassed by development programs. We also have projects in Western Kenya in Kakamega county where our Girls' Action Teams have been established in a numbe of schools and remand homes.

I would love to meet you as you come to Kenya. I believe we can share a lot and sharpen our thoughts and ideas in this noble course.
MamaAfrica

mama africa international ministries uganda's picture

hi how can i join the gruop

hi
how can i join the gruop because i cant see the link
thank you

thank you for supporting women worldwide
winnie
Mama Africa International Organization Uganda
P.O.BOX 35321 kampala uganda
WEBSITE:www.mamaafricaorganization.org

jadefrank's picture

Posting to the group journal

Dear Winnie,

You are in the group! To participate, you'll need to post to the group journal, with a similar post to what Lin Wafula posted here, answering the questions below. To post to group journal:

1. Click on this link: http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/groups/33709
2. Click on the tab "Contribute"
3. Post a brief (300 words or less) response to the following three questions: 1) What is a specific challenge facing your organization or community that you need to solve in order to be able to move forward with your vision? 2) What kind of expertise is needed to help you solve this challenge? 3) In what ways might a student, or team of students, be able to help?

Best,
Jade

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