This immersive learning experience was nothing short of remarkable. From systems mapping to preparing for our professional pitch, the myriad of skills and tools I’ve gained will only help me develop my personal and professional career going forward. As an outsider going to a different continent for the first time, there was a sense of unease, and I certainly felt uncomfortable at some moments. Focusing on how we can apply soft skill development by using critical thinking methods was all part of the experience, which has left me in awe and eager to continue my degree.
One of the learning outcomes of this training was to take professional development out into civil society and apply it to real complex problems surrounding the East African coastal region. For my project, in particular, we were faced with the challenge of coming up with innovative solutions to improve economic and social wellbeing in Mombasa, Kenya. We were extremely fortunate to be working with an incredibly talented interlocutor who works for the Aga Khan Foundation East Africa region. My classmates were highly motivated, well-driven, and full of enthusiasm, which made the group flow effortlessly. Albeit there were some periods which were more challenging than others, we were able to come together, synthesize the material we had procured, and come up with a prototype that we were all certain would impact lives.
The intervention we designed entailed of community leaders who had succeeded by overcoming different challenges and obstacles. By going out in their communities, we hope that they can empower and educate other youth who are eager to develop critical training skills or enroll in mentorship programs to help them thrive. The crux of our proposal is to provide the youth with tips and a physical space where they can feel comfortable to offer materials that will help them foster new initiatives to create their projects. We were so astounded by the existing youth hub, which brought together so many individuals scattered around the region who were all creating opportunities for themselves to help them empower themselves through their many aspirations.