Daraja la Dunia | Global Bridges
Global Bridges is an initiative that aims to empower young adults to become leaders and key voices and contributors in the sustainable development of their communities. We work together to create educational opportunities and provide tools that support life skills training, business entrepreneurship and relational building.
Daraja Foundation and Zanzibar Learning for Life Foundation have launched clubs under the concept of Global Bridges. Global Bridges consists of skill focused clubs that are run by ZL4LF students, including chicken and permaculture farming, bicycle maintenance and repair training, nutrition education, food and beverage service apprenticeships, and language, arts and cultural exchange.
Students join a club with an aim to learn, train and sustain the club’s vision through fundraising and business initiatives. The clubs start with a mission tailored by students, and and grows into a training centre and business and promotes education, empowerment and employability.
Global Bridges offers club memberships with opportunities to enrol in 3 or 6 month skills training of various programs. Members of the programs receive mentorship and hands-on training in order to gain practical skills, learn business and entrepreneurship, set a mission, vision and goals, share knowledge, build relations and receive educator training in order to pass on their newly learned skills to others. This may ultimately lead to greater study and career opportunities as a result of the new skills learned as well as the chance to obtain a scholarship for further education or a microfinance loan at the end of the program. All programs interlink with each other, sharing ideas and methods. Furthermore, collaboration between existing programs will occur on a global scale.
The Founding members of a club volunteer their time to build on the vision. We work with partner organizations, donors and volunteers to create training manuals that new trainees will benefit from. In Phase I, students learn skills that relate to the club itself, and in Phase II, they take on a mentorship role, learning about business essentials and have the opportunity to apply for sponsorship to continue their education, support with employability and career planning or a microfinance loan to start their own business.
Two successful examples:
Chicken & Organic Farm
Over a year ago we bought a piece of land that required a lot of work. On this land we envisioned a place run by students practicing permaculture and poultry farming. There was space for chicken coops, a residence, a classroom and lots of potential for a business.
Five founding members of the farm attended a 2 week permaculture training course at Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar (PPIZ), sponsored by Daraja Foundation. In addition the founding members visited several poultry farming sites, researched various models and learned about chicken care by a Daraja volunteer who facilitated the farm project in 2014. During this time, a course called Biashara, developed by One Love Africa Foundation was also taught to the club members, introducing them to business and entrepreneurship.
Here we are now, with ZL4LF students and teachers, a training centre, a small business, chickens, fruits, vegetables and much more - and we are continuing to grow. The chicken farm has hired a full-time in house manager, previously the farm’s student club President.
This year, five new student trainees from ZL4LF were sponsored by the Rotary Club of Zanzibar to attend the permaculture training at PPIZ. These 5 trainees are also residents of the farm and are being taught poultry farming basics through a manual created by the same volunteer that had returned to Zanzibar for her 4th time to see the project through. In the second half of their 6 month term, they will also take the Biashara business and entrepreneurship course, which can be taught by volunteers and current club members that have completed the training. The educational pieces and mentorship from current members in second phase will bring the new trainees to completion of the first phase. At this mark, they will be ready for new trainees to join and they will be prepared to mentor them.
Daraja Foundation donors and volunteers, Practical Permaculture Institute of Zanzibar, the Rotary Club of Zanzibar, One Love Africa Foundation and All Saints Anglican Church are greatly appreciated for making the chicken and organic farm a continued success. We continue to receive support from various avenues to educate our students and provide them with the tools to improve and keep moving this initiative forward. ZL4LF has gained interest from several organizations around the globe that are starting to raise funds and contribute to new initiatives on the farm, including the construction of a classroom and a separate residence for trainees and staff.
In 2015, Bicycles for Humanity partnered with Daraja Foundation to ship a container of bicycles to Zanzibar and lease a building in a small community to facilitate a training centre and student-run bike shop. The lead member of this project in Calgary brought his family to Zanzibar to receive the bicycles and guide the start-up of the centre. Bicycles for Humanity also paid for trainers from Uganda to come teach the founding members about bicycle maintenance and repair. During this time, a Daraja volunteer also taught the Biashara course provided by One Love Africa Foundation. The bike shop members are all students from ZL4LF and Mazizini orphanage. They have a vision to provide young people with opportunities to learn about bicycles, business and entrepreneurship. The shop continues to be student-run, and has recently hired the the founding President of the club as the full-time manager and training lead.
Bicycles for Humanity (Calgary Chapter) kindly donated a second container of bicycles and shipment costs. The container contained over 400 bicycles as well as tools, and arrived in November of 201. The Daraja Foundation assisted with funds for import and clearance of the container, and outstanding fees were paid by the Bike Shop!
Our next step is to implement a training manual for new members of the club, just as we did at the farm. We are currently working with Bicycles for Humanity to create a manual for the Bike Shop.
For the future
Profits from the Chicken Farm and Bike Shop businesses are used to sustain the business and the school. Funds go towards business expenses, student allowances and salaries for the teachers and maintenance costs of the school. The teachers at ZL4LF are all previous students of the school.
As ZL4LF’s founder, Shafii, and students share the stories of growing their own businesses, they continue to get more and more support globally. Organizations from other countries are now looking to get involved, share ideas on business and sustainability, and continue to donate towards and support new initiatives as the centres grow.