Service Learning

Promoting a culture of service through learning

AISA member schools are dedicated to preparing students to be active global citizens and future leaders, engaged and equipped to contribute to their communities, local and global.

Service learning is a powerful tool for schools to create purposeful and strategic learning experiences that align with this vision. As a powerful form of experiential education, service learning empowers students to apply curricular knowledge and skills to real issues in their communities, meeting needs to facilitate sustainable, equitable and reciprocal community engagement.

Deep and compassionate listening, intercultural understanding, student voice and agency, positive and purposeful action, and meaningful reflection – all components of excellent service learning experiences – can equip students to become informed, compassionate and future-focused changemakers.

In 2022/23, AISA launched a new Service Learning Design Team to harness the wisdom, experience and creativity of AISA service learning leaders and grow service learning throughout the region. This group is a diverse and innovative network of educators who are passionate about their own service learning practices and about supporting the development of service learning programmes and critical practices in AISA member schools.

Service Learning Design Team members for 2022/23 are:


AISA has a substantial range of AISA-created service learning resources as well as some collected from some of the most respected experts in the field. These resources are easily searchable and downloadable to all AISA member schools’ leaders, educators, programme coordinators and co-professionals responsible for their school’s service learning programme.

Browse our Service Learning resources


What is AISA-GISS?

The AISA-Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS) is a three-day annual summit hosted by an AISA member school.

AISA-GISS motivates and encourages students to learn about local and global issues – as well as sustainable solutions and equitable, inclusive action – alongside delegates and changemakers from AISA member schools across Africa.

Student delegates spend time presenting, learning, sharing and discussing important issues and solutions during the summit. They also engage in a hands-on service learning day in the local community.

AISA-GISS provides delegates with opportunities to ideate, connect, learn, lead and act, and students take what they glean from the conference back to their own schools and communities to amplify change-making efforts across the continent.

AISA-GISS has become a calendar highlight for many of our AISA member schools as students are awakened to the notion that they can make a difference as they work together to consider and develop solutions for global issues.

Upcoming AISA-GISS Dates

15 – 17 February 2024
Host School: Al-Rayan International School, Accra, Ghana

If your school would like to host AISA-GISS, please contact AISA.

Previous Events

Examples of past AISA-GISS themes and dates include:

The Future is Now
January 2023
Host School: UWC East Africa, Tanzania

Ukutsiba Phambili
February 2022 (Virtual)
American International School of Cape Town

May 2021 (Virtual)
American International School of Johannesburg

January 2020
International Community School of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Toa Mkono
January 2019
International School of Tanganyika

It Start’s with Us!
January 2018
International School of Kenya

March 2017
American International School of Johannesburg

March 2016
International School Tanganyika

April 2015
American International School Mozambique

Lincoln Community School Ghana


Service Learning Awards

Each year AISA offers several awards to promote and encourage a culture of service learning within the AISA school community. These awards are open to all AISA full-member schools.

Connie Buford Student Service Leader

This award is for a student service leader who is able to demonstrate a commitment to his/her/their community and to using critical thinking, empathy and principles of sustainable development to engage with a community-based issue or need.

Nominations Key Dates:

  • Nominations open: 1st April 2023
  • Closing: 30th October 2023
  • Announcement: January 2024 (AISA GISS)

Outstanding Service Project

This award is for a service learning project run by an individual student or group of students whose actions have had a positive and purposeful impact on a community. The experience could involve purposeful and meaningful action taken to transform the environment, community infrastructures, community spaces and assets, or community issues reflecting specific needs. There are many action experiences that could align with this award. The key is community or environmental engagement that is positive and sustainable.

Nominations Key Dates:

  • Nominations open: 1st April 2023
  • Closing: 30th October 2023
  • Announcement: January 2024 (AISA GISS)

Service Learning School Programme

This award honours a school’s curricular service learning programme and is meant to celebrate the successes of AISA member schools in supporting the development of purposeful and impactful embedded service learning experiences in K-12 classrooms.

Nominations Key Dates:

  • Nominations open: 1st April 2023
  • Closing: 30th October 2023
  • Announcement: January 2024 (AISA GISS)


Click the button below to find out more about AISA’s Student Scholarships and Awards and submit a nomination.
Find out More About These Awards
See Showcased Winners
Service Learning Awards

Service Learning Community

Join the AISA Service Learning Community

The AISA online community for service learning educators is an excellent place to connect with others, share and glean resources, keep up-to-date on service learning news and events, and more. The forum is facilitated by LeeAnne Lavender, AISA’s Service Learning Program Coordinator and is designed to support leaders, educators, and professionals who are responsible for service learning programmes in schools.

If you have a service learning or global citizenship role at your school, or if you are a classroom educator who wants to grow or deepen your classroom practice in these areas, please join us.

As an AISA member, you simply need to click on the button below to join.

Do you have questions? Please email LeeAnne at

Service Learning Community

Service Learning Events

Throughout the year, AISA provides learning opportunities for service learning coordinators, educators and leaders to develop purposeful and impactful service learning programmes in schools.

Service Learning workshops are also available at the AISA annual conference. In the fall of 2022, sessions featured facilitator Aaron Moniz from Inspire Citizens, along with some virtual workshops by AISA Service Learning Program Coordinator LeeAnne Lavender.

The AISA Global Issues Service Summit (AISA-GISS) is one of the highly anticipated annual learning events for students and service learning coordinators/educators. The 2023 AISA-GISS will be hosted by the United World College East Africa (UWCEA), Arusha campus in Tanzania from 19 – 21 January 2023. Students and educators will have the opportunity to engage in several professional learning workshops during the 3-day summit.

AISA is also excited to host an annual Service Learning Virtual Conference. This one-day event is held in the spring and is open to all AISA school leaders and educators who desire to embed service learning in their K-12 programs. The 2023 Service Learning Virtual Conference will take place on Friday, 21 April 2023.

Various virtual workshops have been scheduled throughout the year to support AISA’s service learning educators.

As an AISA member, you can register for these and other learning events. Click the button below to view all our scheduled learning events.

See AISA's Learning Events
Service Learning Events

AISA Service Learning Stories

AISA member schools are committed to building robust and purposeful service learning programmes, with relevant experiences embedded in the PreK-12 curriculum. This page highlights service learning stories from across the AISA region so we can:

  • Celebrate the initiatives taking place
  • Achieve a better understanding of what embedded service learning looks like
  • Share stories to create momentum and excitement

We hope these stories inspire you to design and implement purposeful service learning in your own curriculum. If you have a service learning story you’d like to share, please contact AISA Service Learning Programme Coordinator LeeAnne Lavender at

We would love to feature your story.

AISA Service Learning Stories

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