This is a report on the changemaking challenge launched at Kamunda Primary School by Samwel Omondi, who co-facilitated the changemaking challenge through his organization Great Achievers.
Learnings and Challenges
After a discussion with Thomas, the co-founder of YES Founders Foundation, we saw it wise to test a youth-led changemaking challenge in primary schools.
I then visited Kamunda Primary School (my former school) and shared the program, the idea behind it, what we do and our goals and the benefits of the program to the school and the pupils with the senior teacher Mr. David Nyalik.
He was very interested in the program and later engaged the head of the school Mr .Wandayi whom I later met as well. And after a long discussion and sharing what we do, how we have helped young people become changemakers by creating social and economic growth in the society, using relevant examples, he overwhelmingly agreed to launch the program.
The facilitator Mr.David Nyalik then launched the program with 32 pupils who were divided into 8 groups, each group consisting of 4 pupils, where each team received a trust based investment of KES 1500 (Total of 12.000 KES).
The youthled changemaking challenge was launched on the 20th of September and was to run for 7 days.
The students came up with business ideas which which included selling books, selling pens, selling fruits, selling erasers and selling masks.
The program kicked off very well.The pupils were very happy to buy some items within the school hence making their work easier.
In the course of the program however, some stakeholders felt that they were not involved adequately from the beginning, hence stopping the program citing that the business activities are illegal, the source of the money is unknown, that their children would not have enough time for concentrating on class work etc.
We then agreed to take a break and return to the school at a later date and this time we are going to engage the parents as well so that we build a strong ecosystem.
The reaction from some parents however was very positive. We resolved to address the issues before another youth-led changemaking challenge is launched.
The trust based investment returned to the facilitator by the students at the end of the changemaking challenge was 4930ksh and the value of stock left with the students was approximated at 5665 ksh.
I have learned that working with institution is easy and effective so long as there is a strong ecosystem before the program commences.
Next time for us to build a strong ecosystem, we will involve all the stakeholders including parents and possibly religious leaders and bring them on board.
Written by YFF. Amb. Kenya and co-founder of Great Achievers
In addition to the report from Samwel above, we learned that, especially in rural Kenya, more groundwork needs to be done and that all stakeholders have to be involved.
We learned that getting the head teacher and the teachers as well as the students on board might not be enough with regards to building a supportive ecosystem.
We had expected that since it was launched as a school activity and within the school, little or no issues would arise.
However, we now know that at the very least, parents would also have to be briefed / educated in more detail about the intention of the program before launching a youth-led changemaking challenge to avoid misunderstandings or rumors (allegations such as that the source of the money is evil; that we want to sacrifice students with evil money etc.) and invite them for a dialogue.
Here the comments by the facilitating teacher Mr. David, who personally saw a lot of growth in the students development through the competition and wants to roll out the program in his home school.
"Samwel and I never got the chance to meet with the parents and the school board.
However we met with the headteacher who later briefed us about what they discussed and agreed with them as follows
- He let the parents know that he was fully aware about the program and there was nothing sinister about it. And that he a had given his full approval
- The headteacher let them know that he was upset about the whole allegations and that the school office is always open for any inquiries
- He made an effort to convince the parents that it was a good project.
Despite all the effort the parents resolved that: They do not support the continuation of the program and that their children should not be involved currently and in the future.
Personally I noted that while Samuel had a great desire to improve the welfare of his village, other people were envious and started spreading wild stories to slander both of us.
I am sad that such a noble project had to end this way. I will continue to support the program. I hope to work with Sam so that I launch the program in my home school."
Despite the challenges that arose in this youth-led changemaking challenge, we are grateful for the ample opportunity for learnings it has provided us.
Together with our partner Great Achievers and the help of the facilitators we hope to implement all the learnings and make our future programs better.
We also got the feedback that the students really surprised themselves with their ability to come up with ideas and left both themselves as well as the teacher staff impressed.
We also saw that all the teams demonstrated strong changemaking abilities, came up with ideas and launched them within just 7 days.