The HALI Access Network was formed in 2016 by Rebecca Zeigler Mano of Education Matters in Zimbabwe and Rebekah Westphal at Yale University, with the goal of facilitating networking among access organizations for high achieving, low income students on the African continent. Each year a meeting (Indaba) is held to allow the HALI Network to connect and drive our agenda forward. The Indabas have been themed in sequence – Got Access? (2016), From Access to Success (2017) and this year From Success to Impact.
The third HALI Access Network Indaba took place at Lake Elementaita, Kenya 24-26th April 2018. Each year we have grown in size as a network and this year we welcomed five new organizational members as well as 12 universities amongst the 49 attendees. Also joining us this year was Jen Dewar, representing Duolingo and Dr. Kennedy Mubaiwa from the Higher Life Foundation. Two days were dedicated to professional development, networking and strategic discussion in an organization that is already creating movement and change on the African continent. Significant developments this year include the awarding of $20000 of fee waivers by College Board to facilitate access not only to SAT exam vouchers but also CSS Profile fee waivers. We thank College Board for this very generous step in removing barriers to higher education for the students we serve.
The Indaba is a forum for change that is equally fruitful inside and outside of the conference rooms. Conversations start at breakfast and continue until late into the night. Professional development talks gave insight on new scholarships, ethical practice amongst counsellors, career path programming, mentorship, industry connections, internship opportunities and fostering resilience for staff and students. Of particular resonance this year were discussions based around repatriation, and how to create opportunities at home in Africa for university graduates. It is here that the unification of our hundreds of respective alumni offers incredible potential across the continent. Amongst the extra-curricular highlights were the addition of Yoga, Dance and Running Club to the already thriving early morning Indaba Swim Club.
Our efforts to liaise with university admissions staff and their interest in our Network grow ever stronger. Collectively our work has seen success across a range of higher education destinations this year. Inevitably there is a great deal to follow up on, new connections made and a rich, cross pollination of ideas and best practice to operationalize. The sense of optimism, energy and commitment at the Indaba is always special and this year was no exception. Our deepest thanks to the non- members for their attendance and commitment, as well as Duolingo for their pledge of support and finally to Higher Life Foundation for their vision, wisdom and pledge of generosity as we look toward the 2019 Indaba in Ghana.
Written by Ed Tourle, Pestalozzi International Village