As we welcome the alumni fellows from the Kellogg Southern Africa Leadership Program (KSAL) into the KFLA Global Network, we celebrate their commitment to form better lives for themselves, their families and their communities through education. Here is one example of the many stories we received from our KSAL Fellows.
Ploughback: Ploughback is the term used to mean "giving back"; but it's more than simply writing a check or donating clothing or sports equipment. It is giving back in the sense of putting your own 'sweat equity' and resources into a project, community, organization, or the like.
“During my fellowship, I was able to use some of my stipend to start pig and rabbit farming, even though some of my peers scoffed at the notion. From just four piglets and two rabbits, I soon had 65 pigs and 75 rabbits! Proceeds from selling animals allowed me to hire help to manage the farm, pay school fees for extended family members, and support the youth group’s activities. I also distributed rabbits to poor households in my community.
From the seed nourished by the KSAL programme, I am motivated to plant more seeds in other people’s lives and continue with my professional development, that is, to do my PhD, possibly in Public Health…When I look at my life after the KSAL programme, I am a transformed person. It strengthened my resolve to do more and more.” Chimwemwe Nkosi
Chimwemwe (right) and one of the youths she put through school.
Although Chimwemwe’ story is unique, it highlights an idea that appears repeatedly in the accounts of the more than 250 individuals who participated in the KSAL program from 2007-2013: the importance of giving back to one’s community.
“...The ploughback aspect of the programme and strong sense of community engagement stood out for me, as it cemented a totally different world view, the view that places emphasis on altruism, selflessness, and making oneself available for community and not mainly individual gain.” ~ MacDonald Kanyangale (KSAL)
In 2006, Faith Hiwa of Malawi received an opportunity that would change her life forever. “Sitting back home with no hope and no future,” she heard about the Kellogg Southern Africa Leadership (KSAL) program and took a shot at making things different. She applied for and was accepted into the program and from that moment on, transformation began to happen – for herself and for others. As she explains, “what I learnt through the leadership programme is that, if you have been helped, help someone else as well.” Faith is now an Assistant Internal Auditor who feels that it is her duty to improve her community. For her, this means participating in any community work that’s needed and striving to reach people any way she can.
Mothusi Ntseme, an Environmentalist with the government of Botswana, for example, uses the leadership skills he acquired during his time in the program to better serve his job and his community. “I am involved in various government projects that demand both time and commitment to service,” he says. His gratitude to the KSAL program is expressed not just in words, but through action. Having received so much through the program, he believes that “…it is [his] turn to give back to the community.”
Indeed, the importance of giving back to one’s community was a key component of the KSAL program itself in the form of “plough-back,” projects whereby fellows took their newly acquired skills and capacities and reinvested them in their communities. For Hastings Saka, a Social Worker and Child Protection Project Officer with the Malawi Human Rights Youth Network, this took the form of working to improving health and sanitation for the Chiuzira trading centre and five surrounding villages outside of Lilongwe, Malawi. On a more personal note, he uses income derived from invested fellowship stipend savings in order to fund the education of two relatives and in support of a local youth organization. Saka illustrates the importance of giving back through living his commitment to service in daily life.
Whether through their plough-back activities, professional careers or personal goals and objectives, the KSAL fellows remain actively engaged in giving back to their communities. As Dr. MacDonald Kanyangale of South Africa describes it, “…the ploughback aspect of the programme and strong sense of community engagement stood out for me, as it cemented a totally different world view, the view that places emphasis on altruism, selflessness, and making oneself available for community and not mainly individual gain.”
This is true transformation.