Many of you who read my blog are aware that I am a community outreach/ organizer. I have talents that I put to use, plus I build on these talents through serving the community. Learning is an ongoing process and we should not limit ourselves. In an effort to streamline my activities I have created WanPot, which is a formally organized entity, that house all the projects in which I work. WanPot serves as a bridge to associations (especially women led organizations) that lack resources by connecting them to those resources. For instance, a local women’s association (Association Kamba Yinga) approached me to help write a grant for agri-business. The organization has no English speaker and of course the grant has to be in English. Not only do I help, but I also keep this association as a contact for community outreach projects which I run.
The goal of WanPot involves connecting people to information, resources, and building relationships through leadership in the “common good”. It is a forum for where I use my talents in the domain of community outreach/organization to help others achieve their potential. What’s more, monies that I receive for the work I do, I reinvest it in associations and projects. It becomes a cycle of give and take. For example, a grant that I was recently awarded goes to help a rural African community to generate income through tofu and soy product production. WantPot is my interpretation of collaboration and leadership in action. It is a way to generate money for projects that benefit communities without always asking for donations for these projects. This way communities are completely involved in the process and gives them a better understanding of the effort it takes to fund a community project. Thus far I have collaborations with the following associations:
Association of Women Pottery Makers of Tcheriba, Springboard for Higher Education, the International Bilingual and Professional School in Ouagadougou, and MISS.ORG. It is my hope that the partnerships will grow.
With this in mind Internationalesawyer who is the creator of WanPot is seeking your feedback on the logo design. Please take a few moments and vote on the logo design that you like the most. I selected a focus group to narrow the choices; these are the top three out of six.
Internationalesawyer’s work in the community gets recognized and is asked to collaborate on different projects. One such project that internationalesawyer was consulted to organize was Springboard for Higher Education. This is a collaboration that started more than a year ago in 2011 with a simple statement followed by a question: “I like your dedication and leadership in community organization.” “Are you interested in a youth development project?” I swiftly said thank you and of course I am interested.
The project would later be revealed as Springboard for Higher Education. Springboard for Higher Education is an organization that mentors, coaches, and prepares students pursuing all levels of higher education in the United States (bachelors, masters, doctorate degrees). Springboard for Higher Education or S.H.E. is goes beyond the casual education advisory. They thoroughly examine the client to match them with the best possible institution that not only addresses their academic needs but their long term goals, talent, geographical preference, cultural and community interests. S.H.E. provides services that include document translation, English language preparation for ESL tests such as TOFEL and IELTS, applying for scholarships, and many more services that apply to the application process for attending university in the United States as an international student.
Internationalesawyer was asked to facilitate in the information sessions, provide English preparation, and advice on overall program implementation. S.H.E. has partners in the United States and is organizing a team of volunteers that can serve as extra support to international students once they land on American soil. This initiative is to encourage, inform, and support international students in navigating the educational system of the United States. One major concern of international students that I hear is they do not understand the process and become intimidated by the application demands. S.H.E is created to address these concerns by demystifying the entire process.
Please enjoy the photos of the first S.H.E. information session.
Once a month I am invited to have leadership discussions with university students in English (Burkina Faso is a Francophone country). The school’s dean invited me so that the students can have extra time practicing their English with a native speaker, and getting used to the American English accent. Moreover, the dean sought out someone who had interest in education, leadership, and international affairs. When I was invited to provide these services I was delighted. April makes the 4th month in which Internationale sawyer and the International Formation of Bilingual Professionals University have had this partnership. Furthermore, on March 16, 2013, I was invited to their graduation ceremony here in Ouagadougou. In addition to attending I was given the honor of presenting an award to a distinguished teacher. This was my first university graduation ceremony here on the continent of Africa. What made it more impressive were all the graduating students started with little to no English; and all of them took their well -deserved diplomas with full proficiency in English. One aspect of the graduation that I noted was all the students that gave speeches were deeply moved. They all cited God, family, and the extreme hardships of obtaining a college diploma. They battled illness, injustice, gender inequality from within their own family, poverty, and financial instability. I couldn’t help but to reflect on my own college graduation, some of those same emotions were shared. One key difference was these graduates fought for their right to education, while some in other parts of the world mistreat education and take that right for granted. I guess this is because our ancestors already did the hard part, while these present day students are still in the period of civil rights.
The last time I wrote on my blog it was over a month ago. I did not forget about it, nor did I abandon the visitors to my blog. However, while taking one of my online classes in Leadership, I read that many entrepreneurs in our current virtual world spend more than half their time online. Thereby they neglect and forget about the importance of real life networking and relationships. I know the online community is very helpful and easy to access; however, I did not want to be the social entrepreneur that lacks the real life connections. These past several weeks I have used the time to participate and engage in many activities online and off. Below is the Cliff notes version:
Invited to a university graduation
Applied for 2 social action grants
Made a television appearance
Became a Board Member
Invited to a multi-million signing contract
Delivered English learning classes
Assisted in the structural formation of Springboard for Higher Education
WanPot LLC logo design
A lot of reading and posting interesting information.
Online volunteering and extensive online researching
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