Possibilities Africa – A Model for Economic Development

One of the classes I teach is “Entrepreneurship / Career Planning”, a year long course to high school sophomores. One unit in the course focuses on Nonprofit businesses that are changing communities and geographic areas. I want to encourage my students to consider working in a nonprofit, donating or volunteering to their cause. One nonprofit I encourage my students to consider is “Possibilities Africa”, a growing effort to encourage individuals and families in Kenya to be self sustaining. Martin Simiyu, the Director, is such an inspiring role model, teaching whole communities to develop business ideas that will propel families to earn their own income, becoming self sufficient, not dependent on any outside agency or government aid.
Whether it be a garden, owning a flock of chickens, a milk cow, or making an article of clothing, Martin believes in the goal of owning your future through a strong work ethic. He teaches the values of hard work, education, honesty, trust, connecting with a network of business leaders to move forward. He believes the worst possible attitude is to expect someone else to do it for you. Expecting the government or a relief agency to provide a handout only makes the individual dependent on the handout, providing only temporary relief.
Considering what Martin is teaching, I’ve thought about the implications for our students in a much wealthier society. Am I doing enough to encourage my students to be self sustaining? Am I teaching each student to value a strong work ethic, taking ownership of their education and future? Martin personally engages individuals and families by her personal contact and provision of a loan to help each worthwhile idea become a reality.
I cannot provide a personal monetary loan to each of my students, but I can provide a hope, encouragement, and the example to take personal ownership of their future. I can also encourage my students to consider volunteering in a nonprofit to truly make a difference in the lives of others. Perhaps it is a donation, or even short term summer volunteer project that could change my students’ lives.
If I am preparing my students for the real world after graduating from high school, I want to motivate my students to see the big picture. The real world outcome of education should not be merely identifying with the value of learning math, science, English, a foreign language, and a social studies course. It is putting it all together to develop the skills necessary to be a life changing force for the future.
I see many of my students questioning whether they can make any changes in their own lives, let alone in the lives of others. I want to move my students beyond the theme “I am…” to “I can…”.


Filed under Classroom Activities

11 responses to “Possibilities Africa – A Model for Economic Development

  1. Hunter

    I think it would be great if everyone could practice to be self sufficient. People wouldn’t need money from the government. It would also give people a sense of responsibility and get them active.

  2. Kendall

    Yes, we should teach this in American schools. You can’t expect to be successful without working towards it yourself. Everyone should want to make a difference on their own, and I be,I’ve that if schools can teach music and art, then they can teach self sufficiency.

  3. I like how Martin wants to be self sufficient. He works hard and doesn’t depend on others. If he wants something he does something about it. I need to do the same.

  4. Heather Dunning

    I think that being self sufficient is imortant. Relying on other people can hurt you if they fail to come up with their part. Being self sufficient makes you independent and you don’t have to worry about other people failing to support you.

  5. Katelyn Hill

    I think this video is very interesting to know how these people live, what they do, and what problems they have to face from day to day. I thought that this was interesting that for math/classes, they learned in the dirt since they did not have paper, technology, or even a classroom. I think that everyone should try their best to help these people out. We don’t know how they live, what they have to go through from day to day, and how hard life like this is. People should be able to help my simply donating money, giving old clothes that may not fit you anymore, or just anything that helps a little is worth it than not helping at all.

  6. Kayla Unick

    I think that the system that Martin has implemented in Africa is a very good and dependent one. I think that if more areas had systems like that people would actually value work. I also agree that people should be able to follow through with their ideas for businesses.

  7. Tristen

    Yes I think we should teach that because every on need to know that it is not food stamps and free living. You need to work the tax payers do not need to pay for everything in the world if we as a country keep pushing like this I think that a lot more people will be in poverty. There will soon only be only one class and that will be the rich government people because they are to have all the tax payers money

  8. Makayla

    I think that we should teach every student how to start a busy. I think that it would be a great way just to get to know about each and everyone and see how it goes.

  9. Kiesha

    Not getting along with family
    Not taking school seriously
    Waisting to much time
    Borrowing money from family
    Not being confident

  10. Brooklyn Fiddelke

    We should teach people how to be confident and self- sufficient. Being self-sufficient is very important nothing is more annoying than a person who cannot do anything by himself /herself. You have to be able to provide for yourself and not rely on others constantly.

  11. Harley Scheuffele

    I like the idea of being self sufficiently. Everyone depends on everyone else for everything. We need people to learn to rely on themselves.

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