This page is in recognition, appreciation and celebration of the 2022 winners of:
• The AISA Service Leader Award
• The Outstanding Service Project Award
The AISA Service Leader Award is awarded to a service leader(s) who is able to demonstrate a commitment to their community and how they have used learning, critical thinking and problem-solving skills to address an expressed community need.
The Outstanding Service Project Award is awarded to an individual student or group of students whose service project has a direct benefit to a community, as opposed to specific people or an individual.
Click here to learn more about the criteria of these awards and others, and how to enter.
International School of Kenya (ISK) student, Anders Luffman, is the winner of the 2022 Student Service Leader Award in the AISA region! Let’s take a look at how his service initiatives put him in the lead for this prestigious award.
Anders is a talented designer with great technical skills. He is always eager to share his knowledge and mentor younger students. Anders is involved in many different service learning projects at ISK, and each project benefits the wider Kenyan community.
These projects are not fundraising or awareness-raising initiatives, they are practical and empower ISK students to create life-improving solutions for others. The projects that make Anders’ achievements stand out include:
Through plastic clean-up drives and proving how plastic can be turned into unique products, Plastiki Rafiki has become a potential long-term sustainable initiative for ISK. The community has started dropping off their plastic waste. High school club members frequently give tours to elementary school students explaining the recycling process and we have arranged clean-up drives with other school clubs.
Plastiki Rafiki products are showcased at the PTO gift shop and school fundraising events. The Plastiki Rafiki team assists in developing commemorative giveaways, trophies, badges, etc for ISK, which also fosters the recycle and repurpose ethos of our community.
Plastiki Rafiki is leading several board-level environmental initiatives. The initiatives include making ISK a single-use plastic-free campus and having the school implement a carbon-neutral plan. This year, Plastiki Rafiki has decided to include middle school, and soon elementary school, in school-wide environmental initiatives.
Kenya has a vibrant artisan economy with innovation in the metalworking, woodworking and textiles industries. With the right tools and knowledge, plastic waste can become tomorrow’s hottest sustainable resource.
Our vision is to have our students focus on product design and machine development while production and machine building take place in local communities. This will provide much-needed employment opportunities and create a cleaner and greener Kenya for all.
Thus far, we have partnered on the establishment of 12 workspaces in different parts of Kenya, 1 in Uganda and another in Tanzania. These are community-run social enterprises collecting plastic waste and turning it into profitable products. The product moulds used are designed by ISK students. Over the last year, Plastiki Rafiki has indirectly employed over 80 people and processed around 10 tons of waste plastic.
We also set up two workshops at Roslyn and Braeburn Academy in Kenya and hope to continue working with students from other schools and the wider Kenyan community to continue cleaning up our environment by demonstrating that plastic – a finite resource – has value and can create value.
Anders genuinely loves and respects Kenya and Africa, its people and the environment. He wants to make a positive difference. He is naturally curious, seeking to understand, appreciate and promote African development through service activities. He is also an empathetic learner who practices user-centred design, embracing diversity to create solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.
“ISK students hiked up Mt. Kenya, collecting rubbish along the way and carrying it off the mountain. Plastiki Rafiki provides rubbish collection bags, and rubbish pickers, and sponsors additional porters for each group to help take the collected rubbish off the mountain. Last time we collected over 60 bags of rubbish, much of it plastic waste, which we used to create unique “Mt. Kenya” keychains which we gifted to the porters who helped us. This year we are also planning to install signage, made from recycled Plastiki Rafiki plastic, along these routes that give information about the mountain and remind hikers to carry out any rubbish they are bringing into the park. Leveraging the successes of the Mt. Kenya clean-up project, Plastiki Rafiki aims to make litter collection and environmental awareness an integral part of the school-wide intercultural trip program, not just the Mt. Kenya trip.”
Construction by Design:
Designed and developed a low-cost 3D printed microscope which will be distributed to local schools.
All of Anders’ Service Projects are hands-on. They are not fundraising clubs, they are clubs where ISK students take advantage of the knowledge and resources at the school to create products and tools that aid and empower the wider Kenyan community.
Shivani Kakkad – International School of Tanganyika : Worked on Fund A Child (FAC), an advocacy work and creative fundraiser empowering women and girls in Dar es Salaam with education and life skills. In partnership with Chipua, FAC selects individuals in need of funding for secondary education, helping them create a brighter future for themselves and their community.
Amani Kiruga – International School Kenya : Led the Construction by Design student club at the International School of Kenya in Nairobi. Formed out of the service construction and engineering clubs in 2016, the club built a plastic shredder, plastic compressor and injection mould. They also set up a successful
Ayushi Uniyal – Lincoln Community School : Participated in HERGYNE, an initiative creating awareness about producing cost-efficient, reusable sanitary napkins and empowering young girls with sex education. The project’s main objective was to create a positive chain reaction across communities by equipping girls with timeless, practical knowledge they can use and share with others, as well as improve their health and environmental futures.
Marie Coura Diagne – IQRA Bilingual Academy: Founder of the literacy initiative Books for Africa, advocates for children’s basic education rights and partners with local and international entities to create pathways to literacy. Marie Coura also uses her platform to inspire young people to donate books and other material resources with the vision to build and stock public libraries in rural regions.
Service Leader Award – Highly Commended
Daisy and Cassandra Owei : Founded Caps For Care, an NPO that designs, produces and sells face caps and other products. Half of their sale proceeds are used to empower disadvantaged youth. Caps For Care supports orphanages and schools like the Emasithandane Children’s Organisation in Cape Town, South Africa. The remainder of their profit is used to grow their NPO in hopes to support more orphanages across Cape Town. They also sponsor educational supplies, art supplies, basic needs, facility improvements, and transport.
Sara Hulda Compaore: Initiated, led and mentored others through Brightness, an ongoing service-learning project in partnership with NGO associations like Compassion International and the International School of Ouagadougou with the mission to distribute solar lamps to students in need.
Shiri Asangwe: After recognising Africa’s rich musical culture and Cameroon’s lack of music education, Shiri Asangwe initiated a programme led by middle school students focused on creating and performing music. Students are taught musical notation, writing and performing music and the project with a partner school will continue for many years to come.
Sidhonie Page-Smith: Started, developed and maintains the service project, Simunye. Through her passion for music and identifying a creative need within the Diepsloot community, she initiated this service project which invites students aged 10-13 years old to explore music, creativity and performance using recycled materials. The students attend weekly sessions where they gain confidence in speaking English and performing in front of an audience.
David Buckley: Participates in the Interact Club, a club that has a versatile approach to outreach to meet the specific needs of the communities. The Interact Club assists and works with the local rotary club and leading business members in Lusaka. Their projects include developing a blood donor database with blood types of students, teachers and parents for use in emergency blood transfusion requirements and donating solar-powered lights to a local school.See previous winners
The International School of Kenya (ISK) in Nairobi, Kenya’s Carbon Neutral Alliance program is extensive and will result in the school achieving a carbon neutral status by 2023.
Learn more about the details of the ISK Service Project below (written by ISK students); you’ll see why it was chosen as the 2022 award winner for the AISA region.
The ISK team set a goal to make the school campus carbon neutral within three years through:
In 2020, Students for the Environment (SFE) gained board approval to make the International School of Kenya (ISK) carbon neutral by 2030. Students helped rewrite and strengthen the school environmental policy: “ISK is committed to continuously improving its environmental performance… to reducing its carbon footprint and becoming a carbon neutral international school.” We felt elated.
That changed with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s headline-grabbing report in August 2021. It was described as “Code Red for Humanity” by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. ISK shares Nairobi as a home with the United Nations Environment Programme’s global headquarters, and our school co-curricular clubs now target one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) each year. SDG 13 – “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” – resonated with our club. So did our school vision statement: “Empowering students to create solutions for tomorrow’s challenges”.
But as one student said, “what about today’s challenges?”! Suddenly we felt that our 2030 target wasn’t nearly urgent enough!
In 2021, a group of environmentally focused clubs were invited by Students for the Environment to form the Carbon Neutral Alliance. Student organisations such as the Associated Student Body, Plastiki Rafiki, the Greenhouse Project, Interact, Round Square, Construction by Design and the Global Issues Network each sent a representative to work towards the same goal: changing school policy to accelerate our move toward carbon neutrality.
Over 100 students in these eight clubs are consulted by one or two representatives. Meetings of the Carbon Neutral Alliance are coordinated by the Carbon Neutral Alliance (CNA) members of Students for the Environment, however there are no ‘leaders’ in the traditional sense: it’s a collaborative endeavour.
In the past, Students for the Environment had mostly focused on fundraising and awareness campaigns. But increasingly we realised that the biggest impacts to be made were through shifting policy and modifying systems. Our members also believe that social justice is inextricably linked to the environmental crisis. However, we realised that we couldn’t gain enough traction to create big shifts in policy if we worked alone. Students for the Environment and the Carbon Neutral Alliance discovered how productive and exciting collaborative actions can be, both within the school, and with the International School of Uganda and other schools and communities. As one student said: “We hope to be a model to other communities and inspire them to act”.
Three weeks after the “Code Red for Humanity” warning, at the start of our 2021/22 academic year, the Carbon Neutral Alliance requested the opportunity to speak at the upcoming school board meeting. It was a frantic first month of meetings and research, brainstorming and speech writing, calculating, and designing slides. Each group brought new ideas discussed in corridors and impromptu meetings. We connected with the International School of Uganda’s Greening Task Force and spoke to regional carbon offsetting experts.
On September 28th, the Carbon Neutral Alliance addressed the board to propose fast-tracking ISK’s carbon neutrality target from 2030 back to 2023! We proposed a 2-year plan, initially reaching carbon neutrality through carbon offsetting. Then as we progressively make ISK’s facilities more sustainable, we will be investing less in carbon offsetting until we are as fully carbon neutral as possible, and no direct carbon offsets will be necessary. The students had framed all their points using the school educational Aims (Act and Solve!), SDGs and the school mission and vision statements. At the end of COP26, our director announced that: “ISK has committed to fast-tracking our transition towards carbon neutrality… we will undertake the first step, a full environmental audit”.
After our community committed to fast-tracking, we needed to be creative in rapidly funding a proper environmental audit: the cost was around $20,000! Immediately, students campaigned for the director’s innovation fund and grants from the principal’s budgets. We received pledges from SFE, Global Issues Network, and Plastiki Rafiki. The Greenhouse Project shared the profits from their first harvests sold to the community. SFE, Interact and Round Square pitched to the Lion’s Tank – an Advancement Office and Parent-Teacher Organisation initiative based on the Dragon’s Den, Shark Tank, and Lion’s Den TV shows – in which student groups apply for money. We secured another $1500 and raised the $20000 required to start the full audit process within three months.
We look forward to the challenges and opportunities offered by the environmental audit. The possibilities for meaningful, real-world curriculum links are boundless. So is the potential for even more successful student-led environmental initiatives. Carbon Neutral Alliance groups have already established or run projects ranging from tree planting in the Aberdares mountain conservancy to our moving to a single-use plastic-free campus, from biogas food waste initiatives to camel-based charcoal seed balls dispersal via camels in zones facing desertification. Students are buzzing with new ideas for greening our campus and incrementally lowering our carbon footprint. Furthermore, facilitating students campaigning skills for policy change prepares them with essential practical career skills and knowledge. SFE’s student leader from last year is now on a scholarship studying sustainability at university.
To learn about the details of the Carbon Neutral Alliance (which has led to ISK becoming a carbon neutral campus), plus click on the link below to read the full story. https://www.leeannelavender.com/blog/becoming-carbon-neutral-one-schools-journey
When our leaders first met to discuss the aspiration of becoming Africa’s first carbon neutral school we rapidly realised that traditional African schools have extremely low footprints. Our members also believe that social justice is inextricably linked to the environmental crisis. For instance, the poorest sections of society generally have the smallest carbon footprints, yet they bear the brunt of the consequences of the climate crisis.
Large institutions like AISA schools have a duty to lead by an example and use our benefits to model solutions. While we aim to use a straightforward carbon offsetting service initially, we have already investigated how to use accredited local schemes (such as the http://maasai wilderness.org/programs/carbon project/) which will both empower local communities, offer ongoing field trip educational opportunities, and provide tangible/ visible local benefits on what can seem rather abstract ideas.
To fund the next stage of Implementing the audit, expanding the sustainability projects that allow us to lower our carbon footprint, and a CNA research field trip visit to the Chyul Hills and/or Kasigau corridor to research collaborations with carbon offsetting projects and local communities.
The Association of International Schools in Africa is dedicated to serving its members throughout Africa. Please let us know if you require additional or specific information, resources and or support, and we will endeavour to assist you as soon as possible.
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