How we got here:
Uswege and Adam met for the first time, as they were both Volunteer Program Coordinators for Support for International Change (www.sichange.org). They spent that time living in villages outside of Arusha and Babati conducting HIV awareness campaigns, addressing an issue which was deeply personal for both of them. Similar experiences had shaped the way they viewed the world and their connection to it; choices they had made and responsibilities in how they treated every person they met. The curriculum for SIC included a section on life skills that Uswege and Adam always felt held the greatest importance in driving behavior change - there was an untapped potential that they knew was the key towards impacting communities at a grassroots level.
When the volunteer program ended Adam began working as the Full Circle After-School Program Director for The Foundation for Tomorrow (www.thefoundationfortomorrow.org). It was during this time working with TFFT’s incredible students and staff that Adam came to realize the tremendous impact that comes from teaching students Life Skills and see it in action. Once again Uswege joined Adam – as a Guest Teacher for Life Skills classes, as an intern in the TFFT office, and as a colleague in presenting the Life Skills curriculum to TFFT partner schools. It was through these experiences teaching and presenting together that they were really able to see the difference they could make in the world through empowering young people.
Already working together for 11 months, Adam and Uswege decided to establish a partnership with a friend: Anne Harman. Anne had created an HIV/AIDS educational game called Game for the World (www.gamefortheworld.com) which encourages discussion and promotes learning in the most incredible way. Together, Adam and Uswege, decided to conduct a pilot project in Uswege’s hometown of Mbeya, deep in the southern highlands of Tanzania bordering Malawi to the south. They conducted the project and played the game with students at Uswege’s former primary and secondary schools, while living with his family at their home in Mbalizi. They managed and ran every aspect of the project together, working tirelessly day in and day out. This project really showed them what they were capable of and allowed them to see what they could create with their own passion, ambition and hard work. Adam left Tanzania a week after finishing that project in Mbeya, but Uswege and Adam knew that it wasn’t the end of their work together – instead it was the beginning of something much bigger.
The first ideas for RENEW were written down in January 2012. Immediately Adam shared his plans with Uswege, and the dream grew and developed: youth leadership workshops which encourage creativity and participatory learning while empowering students to take action in their communities.
After returning back to Tanzania in February, Uswege and Adam spent a month creating RENEW - brainstorming, planning and developing curriculum. The first workshop was held in mid-April in Arusha with Secondary Students from The Foundation for Tomorrow. Uswege and Adam then traveled through the Southern Highlands of Tanzania to Uswege's hometown of Mbeya and held a second workshop at Uswege's former school - Itende Secondary School. Shortly after the workshop Adam returned home to Arizona, to establish RENEW as a nonprofit organization and bring together a team of dedicated individuals.
Where we are now:
Since 2013, RENEW has reached nearly 1,500 young people throughout Tanzania.
In early 2016, RENEW launched workshops in northern Arizona and have already reached more than 100 students there.
Students who participate in RENEW workshops discover their unique potential, step into their power, and start living their dreams from an early age.