INTRODUCTIONS AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH
In order to garner support and logistical assistance from the surrounding community and the local government office, a thorough community outreach was the first order of business in the establishment of the school. The efforts of outreach began with a meeting with the Communication Secretary, Women and Children Affairs and Education staff at the municipal office of Sandiara (the town in which our school is located). The meeting entailed a thorough introduction of the scope of the project and the driving mission of Africa Leads. This initial meeting brought us in contact with the local governance and served as a means to reach the chiefs of the surrounding 31 villages.
Following this initial meeting, the Municipal Office of Sandiara was able to assist us in planning a meeting with the chiefs of the surrounding villages. Twenty-two village chiefs including the President of the village chiefs as well as six officials from the municipal office attended this meeting. This meeting allowed us to further reach members of the community in introducing project YVETA as well as Africa Leads. In addition to introductions, this meeting was also a forum in which village chiefs asked questions and made suggestions that allowed us to make modifications that best fit the needs of the surrounding villages. Village chiefs pointed to the increased involvement of women in poultry and vegetable farming as well as the absence of vocational schools in the area for youth who have completed their secondary education. As a result of this meeting, we have expanded our student population to comprise of young boys and girls as well as expanding our target age range from 13-18 to 13-21.
The impact of community input in the efficacy of our project reinforces our core mission of participatory interventions that will engage beneficiaries and local communities.