The URDT Girls School recognised as one of the first changemaker schools in East Africa

Ashoka believes that building a critical mass of changemakers with ground breaking ideas is an important step toward creating a vibrant and prosperous African continent.

The URDT Girls School was recognised by Ashoka as an innovative social enterprise that equips students as changemakers.

In July 2014, the Change Leaders Dr Mwalimu Musheshe and Mrs Alida Bakema-Boon participated in the Ashoka Changemaker Summit in Nairobi to receive the recognition on behalf of URDT. The Vice Chancellor of the African Rural University, Professor Dennis Atwaru, graced the occasion with his presence. See picture below.

Ashoka Changemakerschool team

 

Amongst the over 200 participants were social entrepreneurs and business people from Kenya, Uganda and Ashoka representatives and fellows from USA, India, Egypt, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.

How did Ashoka select the school?

Ashoka looked for schools of all types, geographies, and demographics that have the following characteristics:

Allignment in the school on Everyone a Changemaker. This included:

  1. cultivating all of the students as changemakers in aspiration and practice.
  2. vision-oriented and focused on developing all students as active contributors rather than passive recipients.
  3. high standards of excellence for students, teachers and staff alike.
  4. development of empathy as priority in the curricula, culture and systems.

Innovation. Demonstrated ability and willingness to develop and test new ideas, rather than just following established norms and leadership fosters a culture of innovation in the school.

Influence. Authority, reputation and relevance to influence others in the education sector. The school showed a clear aspiration and either the demonstrated capacity or obvious potential to get others to follow their lead.

Changemakers. Have a Change Team, comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, students and other stakeholders who are entrepreneurial, collegial, ethical and share the everyone a changemaker vision. The team also demonstrated commitment to realizing the vision in their own school and beyond and a willingness to equally share their experiences and to learn from others.

The selection process consisted of four stages:

  1. Nomination. Ashoka’s networks nominated schools and individuals.
  2. Exploration. Ashoka evaluated the nomination against the selection criteria, checked references, and interviewed stakeholders and Change Team. During a site visit, the school and Ashoka get to know each other, exploring whether there might be a mutual fit.
  3. Self-Evaluation. The school and Change Team completed a comprehensive set of reflective questions about their work.
  4. Panel. The Change Team held individual interviews with three other leaders from within the global Ashoka network to better understand the school, ideas and evaluate a fit with the criteria. The panel decided in consensus whether or not to select the school.