African Leadership Academy’s Global Scholars Program is not your ordinary summer camp. A truly global program aimed at young aspiring leaders from all over the world, comprising facilitators from all over the world, this unique mid-year holiday program is a transformative African experience that offers myriad benefits – while making a positive impact on participants, educators and local businesses.
The impact is immeasurable. For young scholars, it can be instant – or a slow build up of realisations, says Khosi Zulu, GSP Youth Programs Manager:“Not all reflections lead to immediate ‘Aha!’ moments – but you hope that the whole experience will give them a lot to think about and plan for their future.”
If feedback is anything to go by, GSP succeeds in that mission. Various letters from parents and students alike, and our many videos show how students the world over have been transformed by it.It’s easy to see why an entire family would want to live it. To wit: watch the Belcaster family share their story of how John, an inaugural GSP educator in 2013, introduced his son Henry to the program as participant in GSP Engage in 2015. When Henry returned in a new role as educator in 2017, his younger sister Jane came along for the first GSP Explore program, too.
Educators and facilitators agree: GSP may be built around equipping modern youth with skills that hone their social development awareness with design-led projects that lead to a greater understanding of Africa, its people and their enterprises – but everyone involved reaps benefits.
“As an educator, facilitating GSP made me rethink my teaching methodology. It exposed me further to the Socratic method of teaching, where we focus on giving students questions, not answers with the objective of fostering critical thinking,” says Isaac Tsatsu from Alpha Beta Academy in Ghana, a three-time time educator and director for GSP’s Engage Africa program. “I have not seen a curriculum as rich and engaging as the GSP curriculum. The combined content of experiential activities and theory gave the participants a deeper understanding of Entrepreneurial Leadership.”
Erica Washburn, a History teacher at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, USA, describes her experience as a facilitator on an ‘Engage Africa’ session as “excellent for me both personally and professionally”. “I learned so much from my fellow colleagues and the students enrolled in the program.” Learning, was not confined to the classroom, notes Erica. “I gained valuable resources and learned how to teach key concepts during the various experiential activities and trips. Engage Africa is truly unique; it’s a beautiful combination of learning both theory and practice.”
Boosting local Business
Local entrepreneurs aligned to GSP’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program reckon they’re the ones who benefit most, though, as Thabo Modise, Managing Director of Shova Lifestyle Origin confirms: “ALA’s Global Scholars Program left a big impact on our organization; we had students bringing in different ideas to grow our business and today we utilizing some of those ideas in a daily basis.” Shova, a Soweto-based events and exhibitions company that also comprises a lifestyle boutique, an art gallery, is one of the small local businesses students engage with in the program, to determine challenges and opportunities for growth.
“The presentations led by the student group was overwhelming, considering the short time frame of the program, and left us with the courage to work towards achieving our goals,” notes Thabo. The company has successfully implemented various ideas proposed by students, he adds. “Since the program we have grown in different aspects of the business, especially online marketing – and we will continue to consider implementing other ideas as far as we can.”
Would you like to be a catalyst for change? Find more info on ALA’s Global Summer Program here, and see how you, too can develop life-altering leadership and entrepreneurial skills while exploring South Africa.