Meet the New Student Government and Discover Their Innovation Agenda

As the medium of communication between African Leadership Academy’s student body and the administration, the Student Government (SG) plays a vital role in entrenching ALA’s identity as an innovative Learning Community, as it sets in place policies and initiatives for and on behalf of the student body.

The new Student Government, inaugurated in November, share their ambitions – and reveal the innovations of their predecessors that inspire them to go beyond the pale.

Saeed Zarrouk, Chairman

Saeed describes himself as an avant-gardist leader who will challenge the status quo for justice, liberty, and equality and hopes to “build a more progressive and tolerant academy, and a ruthlessly efficient and transparent Student Government”. The 18-year-old Tunisian is in Year 2, with strong interests in Law, Politics, Philosophy, International Relations, and Macroeconomics.

Past innovations that made an impact  The creation of the Student Government Investment Council in order to maximize the SG budget.

Proposed Innovations  We aim to sponsor a government-owned food distribution company that sells at cost price.

Dumebi Gloria Akukwe, Chairlady

Hailing from Nigeria and in Year 2, this 18-year-old says her fascination for International relations led to her joining the club on campus. “Apart from innovating systems at the academy and creating better ones to fit student welfare, I want help create an environment of strong student engagement and cooperation, setting a foundation on which the academy will become more student-led.”

Past innovations that made an impact  I admire how past student governments brought about the town hall meetings, which helped bring the voice of students together. The exiting student government had pushed for community service as a mode of punishment, which I believe will be more effective and beneficial to the community. Also, the prep tutoring system, which has evolved incredibly under past governments, is something dear to my heart.

Proposed innovations  We would like to bring innovations to how student wellness is pursued on campus. We are looking into making the sports sector a more robust and student-centered activity, and we will be looking into the diet and nutrition of students on campus. Above all, we want to find new ways of addressing the concerns of students and bringing our combined efforts together as a community.

Tania Twinoburyo, Secretary

This 17-year-old South African with Ugandian roots counts Politics, International Relations and artistic pursuits such as painting, drawing and music as her strongest interests. Her aim for the SG is to “enforce and reiterate the importance of Communication and Accountability” to achieve transparency.

Past innovations that made an impact  I like the Townhalls, and the fact that previous governments emailed monthly reports out to the student body.

Proposed innovations  I’d like to take this further by partnering with the assembly team and displaying monthly reports to the whole ALA community, and to do so with videos  or infographics that are more visually appealing. I’d also like for us to have more townhalls so that students can express their views more frequently.

Asha Guled, Academic Rep

Born and raised in The Netherlands, Asha is of Somalia descent and has lived there, in Kenya and in the United Kingdom. The 17-year-old first year student loves reading “and taking unmerited naps”, and aims to strengthen the dialogue between students and administration regarding academic needs.

Past innovations that made an impact  The tutoring system that employs students as tutors to teach their fellow peers across almost all subjects appeals to me the most.

Proposed innovations  I look forward on continuing its progress, whilst also possibly adding SAT practise tutors to the mix in order to start up the SAT practice system. I especially want to focus on the need of SAT (Standardised Admission Tests) practise for first years, which I have already started working on with a number of very helpful people.

Daniel Deng, Sports Rep

A Year 2 student from South Sudan, Daniel is a keen basketball player with a strong interest in Education. He is passionate about sports, and looks forward to encouraging the ALA community to take it up as a lifestyle. “I hope to diversify sporting experiences for everyone by initiating more student-led sporting activities such as hockey and badminton, as well as increasing sporting and social contacts with other local schools.”

Past innovations that made an impact  The previous student government started initiatives, such as installing floodlights on the basketball court, that I hope to take to completion.

Proposed innovations  Another major deliverable will be to ensure that the dietary needs of sports people are met, especially during their competitive season, when they are training hard.

Fikemi Aiyepeku, Student Wellness Rep

A first-year student from Nigeria, Fikemi says one of the most important things she’s learnt at ALA is the power of the mindset. “It could make you or mar you depending on the way it is used.”

Past innovations that made an impact  My favourite innovation of the previous – and first – Student Wellness Rep is the establishment of ‘The LOVE Project’ that promotes awareness about various areas of wellbeing. The pilot was focused on Mental Health.

Proposed innovations  We are discussing piloting an ‘Academic Open’ series to aid students’ academic wellness as well as providing solutions to healthy living for those who do not play sports or exercise.

Othmane Maacha, Treasurer

Also in Year 2, the 18-year-old Imazighen Moroccan has long been interested in Political Science and Economics, and is keenly aware of the fact that leadership is about service rather than power.

Past innovations that made an impact  One critical thing the former Student Government achieved is the Student Government Investment Council. SGIC not only audits the Student Government, it also offers everyone on campus with an idea to pitch it and potentially receive an investment.

Proposed innovations  I hope to introduce an extreme form of transparency using a Google Doc that would allow students to view every expense the Student Government has made. I also would like to redistribute the Government budget equally and efficiently – and to further startup initiatives in the arts and music through SGIC. 

Hana Barakat, Entertainment Rep

Passionate about the arts and humanity, Egyptian-born Hana is keen to build on the hard work of previous entertainment reps by adding a greater variety to the offerings – and ensuring “students are aware that they some sort of control over what is happening in their lives here”.

Past innovations that made an impact  The past Entertainment Reps have worked hard: from forming Tamasha – a subcommittee – to organizing the highly anticipated mall trips and the famous Tamasha Parties.

Proposed innovations  I plan to building upon these by creating a wider variety of mall trip locations and hosting more events that appeal to more people. I also plan on revamping the entertainment room by fixing up the pool and ping-pong tables as well as adding board and card games so students have more activities available on their disposal. I’ve already created a Snapchat for Tamasha so that students can remember upcoming events.

Gibson Munene, IT Rep

A Year 1 student from Kenya, Gibson’s strongest interest is Programming – and already, he’s working towards ensuring that this has great benefits to ALA and its student body.

Past innovation that made an impact  One of the greatest innovations in this school is Kampasi, an online system that helps students to sign up for events in school. This system helped solve some of the greatest problems in school, and I would love to make even more updates on the system so that it can cater for other issues that may come up.

Proposed innovations  When I ran for office I promised to deliver a… (ALA heartbeat) … centralized website for all activities at ALA, daily updates and connecting all the platforms in school. I have started on this project and hope to be done soon. I also hope to solve the student’s laundry problems in school by making it easier for students to conduct laundry without ever losing their clothes.

Rolinhlanhla K. Zinyemba, Club & Society

A first-year student from Zimbabwe, Rolinhlanhla hopes his role in SG will expand his empathetic understanding other people’s viewpoints.

Past innovations that made an impact  The previous clubs and societies rep set up an efficient system of communication and interaction within this department.

Proposed innovations   We hope to get every student affiliated with at least one club in the school. If they can’t find one that resonates with them, they can always start one!

We also want to introduce a showcase day for clubs and societies to show the community the improvements and innovations they have. This is already under way.

Collectively, we aim for way more student participation in policy and decision-making, challenging the ones already in place to see if they fully apply to us present day as the academy prides itself in fast moving and being highly responsive to change.