URDT Girls School Alum Rose makes a positive impact on school dropout rates in her community!
A story of the transformation of a community by AFPF Intern Catherine Namwezi
As a young women aspiring to be a rural transformer in my own community, I was immensely inspired by the impact URDT Girls’ School Alum, Rose, has had as a Changemaker in her own community.
Rose, who is currently a student of African Rural University, was chosen by Ashoka to be a Youth Venturer. In this role she was expected to return to her community to mobilize the disengaged youth. Rose soon discovered that the number of boys and girls dropping out of school within her community were alarmingly high. She had greatly benefitted from her own education at the URDT Girls’ school and decided to tackle the high rate of school dropouts head on.
As her first action step in addressing the issue of school drop outs, Rose reached out to the youth in her village who had only dropped out after the 9th grade. She engaged 15 of these youth in working with her around creating and attaining a vision for their lives. Of these 15 youth, 8 are men and 7 women, showing a significant shift in the perception that women could be perceived as leaders and changemakers.
Rose has pioneered the development of her community and is a powerful role model. I am so grateful for having been able to re-unite with her and experience her impact on the youth group, families and the whole community firsthand. With a lot more people like Rose, the impact of URDT knows no bounds.
Catherine (me) with Rose and her Mother. I am so inspired by Rose!
A young man in Rose’s group had dropped out of school after his O-levels, the equivalent of 9th grade. He had gotten married soon after and is now the father of two children. Before Rose worked with him as part of her youth venture outreach program, he had been unemployed without any significant source of income. His family lived under extremely adverse conditions in a dilapidated thatched mud hut. Before joining the group, he had lost hope with no vision for the future.
As part of the first breakthrough project for this group of 15 youth, Rose taught them to grow a variety of fruit as an income generating project. With the majority of people growing mostly corn, groundnuts and beans, Rose used her entrepreneurial skills from URDT to encourage the group to focus on growing other varieties. This young man now grows a number of avocado, Jackfruit and passion fruit trees, which by selling provide his major source of income. Rose also taught her group other very important skills including the importance of saving and borrowing money from each other to invest in their projects.
Members of this youth group are now focused on starting businesses by borrowing capital from their Savings Group, others are thinking about re-enrolling in school.
As we walked and talked, this young man seemed very proud of what he has accomplished so far. We stopped at a very beautiful, brick house under construction. I learned that this was his new house which would be completed in less than three months. He had worked together with his wife in saving form their fruit business to make their vision of a new home become a reality.
Rose had not only mobilized these youth to make visions for themselves, but also to do something greater for their own community. She and her group have undertaken the project of building a primary school in an effort to address the lack of access to nearby schools which had greatly contributed to the the high rate of school dropouts. A number of the youth in her group made the decision to become teachers in their community school including the young man. The community school teaches parents how they can add value to their food crops and sell them at desirable prices and times.
Rose has not only developed and invested in her community, but also in her own home. Her mother spoke with great pride about how they work together as a family to support each other and attain their vision. The knowledge they are gaining from URDT and ARU has enabled Rose’s family to have a chicken project with approximately 70 chickens, a coffee garden, a tree planting project, a Banana garden and a successful apiary project. Her family dries the food they grow and grinds some of the food like cassava into flour. This helps them to preserve and keep the food for a longer periods of time, and only sell it when the time is appropriate. Rose has also taught several families in her community the art of successful beekeeping.