In order to be awarded the Tutu Fellowship, participants are required to complete three assignments, one of which is a community project in keeping with the servant leadership tenet that underpins the programme. The community project is how the Tutu Associates, individually or collectively, can start to make a difference in Africa while still on the programme. The scope of the project is deliberately left broad, to encourage innovative thinking, and allow Fellows to apply their skills where they would be most beneficial to the broader community and how they would most like their input to benefit Africa. This section showcases some community projects, from over the years, captured as mini case studies to illustrate the impact the Tutu Fellows are making.
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CHARTA - a health consortium
2009 Tutu Fellow Dr Julie Makani has launched CHARTA - a Consortium for Health, Advocacy, Research and Training in Africa. It aims to utilize data science in public health and genomics in Africa to address non-communicable diseases that include sickle cell disease, cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. These are responsible for over a third of the disease burden In Africa.
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Developing an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Ecosystem in Sudan
Mohamed Osman, from Sudan, is a 2019 Tutu Fellow and the General Manager of Inmaa for Poultry and Feed Co. Ltd, a Sudanese/Lebanese investment, and Sudan’s leading semi-integrated poultry operation.
For his Tutu Fellowship Community Project, Mohamed conceptualized Entrepreneurship and Innovation center at Omdurman Ahlia University. The centre would offer an entrepreneurship training programme developed by UNIDO and already successfully launched in numerous countries across the globe. Due to administrative issues related to Omdurman Ahlia University, the programme was shifted to the Ahfad University for Women. The scope of the project was also expanded to encompass a few other training centres with the objective of creating an entrepreneurship ecosystem that would support students with entrepreneurial and technical skills training, and business counselling.
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Career guidance for under resourced schools in Kenya
Ramani Life Group is a community-based organization registered in Kenya in 2016 to offer career guidance in under-resourced secondary schools. The mission of Ramani Life Group is: “To inspire students from under-resourced secondary schools by collaborating with teachers and parents; and mobilizing resources, to transform their lives and communities.”
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A girls Mentorship Club in Alexandria Township
2009 Tutu Fellow Geci Karuri-Sebina PhD is a researcher, thinker, futurist, and policy specialist working as Cities Network Executive Manager in South Africa. For her Tutu Community Project, she conceptualised a project called the Tswelopele Sisterhood and Girls Club in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg, South Africa.
It is a girl-focused self-development project which seeks to increase the girls' life chances under difficult circumstances, by emphasizing self-awareness, responsibility, determination and growth. This is done through mutual support, mentorship, soft skills development, and network building. It also facilitated targeted interventions such as reading clubs, tutoring, self-defence classes, and other support.
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Readying young graduates for the workplace
Zimbabwe’s universities, like others in Africa, are churning out thousands of graduates each year. Of the few that manage to secure employment, employers often complain that they lack the necessary skills and are not work-ready.
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Coding boot camp for bank female employees
In 2017, Tutu Fellow Andiswa Bata launched a coding boot camp for female employees within ABSA bank called Code.it. The objective was to encourage more females to join the technology revolution by equipping them with basic coding skills and allowing them to get exposure to projects within the bank’s digital and data teams. Fifteen women took part in the pilot program in which participants could earn a Python basic programming certification.
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Agricultural project for disenfranchised youth in Kenya
In one of the most troubled counties in Kenya, 2017 Tutu Fellow Samuel Kariuki has launched a project called Fort Hall Eye. Located two hours from Nairobi, Murang’a County is one of Kenya’s more densely populated rural districts. Historically, the county was a leading coffee producer, accounting for the bulk of Kenya’s world famous Arabica exports. However, mismanagement has led to a decline in the county over the last two decades, with a majority of farmers, often small-holders, abandoning the crop and resorting to subsistence farming. The resulting increased poverty levels over the last 20 years has had a significant impact on the social fabric. The Fort Hall Eye Project is an agro-entrepreneurship program coupled with micro-loans for vocational training offering skills training and mentoring, starting with a 15-acre farm being used as a kind of live incubator.
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Digital skills and citizens’ digital rights
2007 Tutu Fellow Gbenga Sesan’s Tutu Fellowship community project has evolved over the years into his life’s work. He started it as Ajegunle.org, and now, more than a decade later it is the Paradigm Initiative. The programme saw its beginnings in Nigeria, but has gone on to becoming pan-African in scope, offering digital policy to nation states, with funders that include Google, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Paradigm Initiative is a non-profit social enterprise that builds Information and Communications Technology-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of underserved young Africans. Its digital inclusion programs train young people from underserved communities in digital skills, so they can be connected to opportunities in the digital economy. Some examples are trainees like Famous Onokurefe who is now a Senior Associate at KPMG Nigeria and Esther Olatunde, a Product Engineer at Intercom.
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Pathway to parity programme
Dr. Angela Gichaga from Kenya is a 2019 Tutu Fellow and the CEO of Financing Alliance for Health. Her Tutu Fellowship Community Project, Pathway to Parity, is a leadership development programme that aims to address the root causes of young women’s under-representation in decision-making. The programme leverages a three-pronged approach and inculcates a core component of mentorship and coaching. It’s three pillars are (i) building the pipeline (ii) Equipping the high potential women and (iii) Creating the space.