December 1st turned out to be a key date in ProjectEDUCATE’s 2018 calendar: just like Christmas or a birthday, it was full of energy and excitement. After two failed earlier attempts in June and October, our Future Promise inaugural cohort finally boarded a bus and went 600km east to the capital city of Lusaka to sit for—you guessed it—the SAT.
Just saying that elicits an array of mixed feelings and emotions. It’s a triumph in itself but, in reality, it is only a next step in what promises to be a life enriching and life changing journey.
These students are from ProjectEDUCATE’s Future Promise initiative which, in part, identifies deserving students and supports them through the college prep and admissions process. It is part of a larger strategy that begins working with students from as early as primary school.
The strategy views students as an integral part of the community able to make meaningful contributions to development. As part of the initiative, students are responsible for designing and implementing projects. Student-led community projects have, so far, included literacy mentorship, raising indigenous tree nurseries, and tree planting, as well as litter picking exercises. Students have also conducted anti-bullying activities and raised awareness about the challenge of poaching. The goal is always to provide students with the tools and resources to try out their own ideas and allow them to make meaningful contributions to their own community.
At senior secondary level, activities shift toward personal development providing participants with public speaking training and encouraging them to develop their own projects. This phase is also used to prepare promising students for university admission. By the time students leave high school they have an understanding of what is required in order to get to university. They also acquire skills that will help them further explore who they are as individuals and how they fit into the greater global community.
Writing about the experience of taking our first cohort through taking the SATs and applying for college makes it seem like it was all a simple and complex process but, having gone through it, HALI members—especially first-timers—know it’s not exactly that straight forward. We were lucky to have the unfailing support of the HALI Access Network
We are also grateful to the network of universities that continue to work with HALI to help ensure students from the continent have access to higher education at some of the best institutions in the world. It is a worthy investment in Africa’s future with profound benefits to the greater world community.