How ALA’s BUILD Program Empowers Zambian Women With Skills

‘There is no development strategy more beneficial to society as a whole – women and men alike – than the one which involves women as central players.’ Kofi Annan, 1938-2018

ALA’s 2023 Strategy is geared towards growing our network and empowering Africa with our Entrepreneurial Learning tools. So when 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow Bwalya Maketo, a professional educator, tweeted about the impact the Build model has made on Zambian Women with Skills, the organisation she founded two years ago, we called her up to find out more…

Very few experiences have had the power to have a formative effect on the way I think act and respond to situations around me.1 of these experiences was the 5days of the #ObamaLeaders spent @ALAcademy.The experience expanded& contracted me in ways that I could Neva ever imagine!!

— Witika Mk (@MummyMichael) August 6, 2018

Bwalya is an Obama Fellow, a mentor on the MasterCard Foundation Baobab Forum, and a coordinator of the Akashimi Kesu Campaign – and thus no stranger to collaborative skills programs. But a workshop facilitated on campus as part of breakaway session has altered the shape of her organisation, she says. “The focus was to introduce us to the idea of Human-centred design, which she explained was a creative approach to problem solving that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailormade to suit their needs,” explains Bwalya.

Once this concept was tied to ALA’s flagship BUILD model by explaining the acronym (Believe, Understand, Identify, Listen, Deliver) and how it is used as a tool for Entrepreneurship training, Bwalya was sold.
“The excitement and connection I felt at this point must have been very visible as I was fully engaged in her explanations and asked as many questions as I could, given the duration of the session. I was particularly excited about the BUILD Model given the nature of work that we do,” she enthuses.

‘Up until this point, the bulk of how we have been running our programs has been more on a trial and error basis. I believe that with the help of this model we will now be able to effectively scale our activities and register the type of impact we have been hoping for.’

The impact, she adds, has already been felt.“The workshop definitely changed the way I look at community engagement as it relates to skills empowerment programs. Having gone through the basics of a proper People Centred Approach vis a vis BUILD, I can now confidently say that I have found the perfect model to use in carrying out our work. Up until this point, the bulk of how we have been running our programs has been more on a trial and error basis. I believe that with the help of this model we will now be able to effectively scale our activities and register the type of impact we have been hoping for.”

Bwalya began implementing the BUILD tool immediately, she says. “My team and I have begun to re-structure the way that we carry out our core activities. Using the Social Business Model Canvas for example, we have managed to properly map out and create a social enterprise model that ties in effectively with the work that we do as a non-profit. This was arrived at after carefully following the process of analysis of the parts of this Canvas.”

Right on target

And that’s just the start, she says. “We also intend incorporating The BUILD Model in our girls Mentorship Program dabbed the Red Flame Initiative, which aims to help form structures of credibility for the girls through leadership & skills training support, and guidance for effective participation in national governance issues, as well as emerging enterprises, to help create self-employment and employment for others. On the Entrepreneurial front therefore, the Initiative seeks to stimulate and support creation and growth of new micro-enterprises and cooperatives while providing support that decreases the chances of business failure. As an organisation, we are confident that leveraging off these tools will effectively help us to serve our target demographic better.”

True to her earlier Tweet, Bwalya believes discovering ALA has made all the difference. “As a social agent of change, I consider my short experience at the institution as not only inspiring but life changing. I strongly believe that my Organisation and ALA definitely share similar objectives and are pilgrims on the same journey,” she says. “I am grateful for the opportunity accorded to me through The Obama Foundation to gain some insight into what the school offers and how it is pioneering the entrepreneurial and leadership development of young people from all across Africa.”

About Zambian Women With Skills

Zambian Women With Skills was officially launched in 2016, and primarily focuses on creating and designing skills empowerment programs for local women from all the three sections of the population spectrum: educated, semi-educated and uneducated. GThe organisation facilitates and provides a range of services, including: Self-discovery and Skills Identification Sessions; Entrepreneurship and Business Model Training; Customised Mentorship packages; Legal Aid across a variety of topics; Basic Literacy training, social interaction services, psycho-social counselling and more.

The Red Flame Initiative is aimed at teenage girls aged 13-18 in both rural and urban areas, and has been designed to provide guidance, support and skills training, with the aim of creating “a holistically sound and confident teenager that is able to effectively engage and participate in national governance issues, as well as create and sustain skills based enterprise employment”.

Do you have a similar story to tell about your experience with ALA’s BUILD tool or the Academy’s various Programs? Share it with us! Tweet, Facebook or email…

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