Over the years, RENEW has provided our workshop for personal development and transformation to hundreds of students in secondary schools and high schools; and last month RENEW hit another huge milestone. On Jan 16, 2016 RENEW launched its first workshop with university students in Tanzania. With the support of Tanzania Institute of Community Development in Tanzania, RENEW gave 25 young leaders the chance to discover their power within. The workshop explored topics like: understanding the influence of your past and building the future you have been dreaming about, the power of positive habits, building and living your vision, the power of no, and building courage and personal resilience.

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Uswege's Reflection:

The energy and transformation experienced by the young leaders in our workshop exceeded my expectations. The room was full of excitement, openness and energy from the students. I almost broke into tears when one participant told me, “I am very excited to be a part of this workshop. The feeling that I am experiencing right now as I reflect on my past in the river of life activity and who I want to be moving forward makes me to want to cry.”

The workshop begun with learning each others names as well as discussing our learning values which secure a safe learning environment for each of us. Next the group completed a self-awareness and visioning activity called river of life. In this activity, we reflect and draw energy from our past experiences that have influenced who we are today, and then establish a future plan to achieve our dream life. 

                                         Participants share the results of their river of life activity                                            

                                         Participants share the results of their river of life activity                                            

In the next part of the workshop, we encouraged our young leaders to use critical thinking skills on the power of positive habits. For example, how to unlearn negative habits, and how to learn and maintain new habits targeted for your personal success. Then we took the participants through an inspiring activity in which the participants wrote the name of one person that inspires them in their life as well as the qualities of that person they find inspiring. 

Although we were not graced with pleasant weather, (the rain started right before lunch and continued heavily for the rest of the day), the students were not deterred from walking through the rain back to the workshop following their lunch break. It is moments like this that demonstrate the power of the RENEW curriculum and the transformative impact it has on young leaders.

Man in white shirt provides feedback following inspiring activity

Man in white shirt provides feedback following inspiring activity

Feedback from participants of RENEW's workshop with Tanzania Institute of Community Development in Tanzania, January 16, 2016.

“I learned that transformation comes from building positive attitude; in order to change the world I have to change myself first. I gained confidence in my leadership – I learned that I can be a good leader regardless of my age”

–rephrased from a comment made by Sophia William, first year student at Tanzania Institute of Community Development (TICD)

 “Today’s workshop was unique and it was mind transforming. People have visions and dreams, but not all the time these dreams and visions are fulfilled. I would like to see RENEW here again providing workshops to wider community”

–rephrased from a comment made by Fadhili William Mzava, third year student at Tanzania Institute of Community Development (TICD), and prime minister of student organization within the institute

“Your methods of facilitation surprised me. I participated in several trainings that applied participatory approaches but today’s workshop was so different. I realized that everybody has something to contribute and I like learning from other people. I am going to use this approach when working with the community. . .  I learned that hope and encouragement comes from having a vision and from setting long-term goals.”

–rephrased from the comment made by Tupokile Masata, third year student at Tanzania Institute of Community Development (TICD)  

“It is very interesting to realize that people we admire have certain qualities that inspires us. This means, leadership is an inspiring process; in order to lead successfully you need to develop qualities that can inspire people to act.”

–rephrased from the feedback provided by Mr. Raymond, Social Psychologist at Coady International Institute

Special thanks and blessings to our donors for making this possible; thank you to the management and student organization of Tanzania Institute of Community Development; a lot of blessings to all participants for sharing a learning space and for learning alongside our RENEW team; special blessings to the Coady international institute from which most of the activities  used in this class where learned.