Tanzanian Student Leader Reflects on His Visit to Denver

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    In December we wrote about the African Bold Leaders, a group of twenty young people and four instructors from Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa who spent four weeks in Denver and Washington, DC. The Bold Leaders program run by Critical Mass Leadership Education brings students to the U.S. for conflict resolution, civic education and leadership programs. The students then bring what they have learned to their home communities and implement projects utilizing their new skills.

    Recently we received an update on one of those Bold Leaders, Mustapha Rashidi, who is now back in Tanzania. Peace Corps Volunteer Mirinda Gormley invited Mustapha to guest write on her blog Tanzania Tales. Below is what he wrote about his experience in the U.S. with the Bold Leader program:


    On beginning of October I received application form from African leadership program (BOLD LEADER SHIP),through U.S Embassy in Tanzania, this program was funded by U.S state department. The reason for my trip was to participate in Bold leaders program, which was aimed in increasing leadership skills. Also to have good utilization of basic human resources such as voice, creativity, tears, as well as listening skills as how life depending on. The first plane was from Tanzania to Ambstardam, it was very express and interesting plane, they provided us a delicious food whenever we wanted, their announcements were very clear.

    We arrived in U.S on 30th of October, despite of studying but we went to ski, swimming, walking and climbing Colorado rock mountain. When I was there I noticed so many different between Africa and America, some of them are Environment difference, when America is cool and Africa is hot, also Education system ,American gives high priority to Education more than Africa; also social difference where by American youth get more support than support we get African youth in Africa, also Economic difference this can seen by looking infrastructures in America, the living condition of American and availability of social services, Also we have political difference where by America is more Democratic than Africa.

    Voice from American and American environment inspired me a lot, the lessons I get there are to know that every one is a leader and every one is responsible on making positive changes in the community, also no age factor in making positive changes, either Elders or Young people all together are responsible in impacting the community, also I get to know who I am right now is I am going to be on the future,(my future is determined by my present),also I get to know humanity, as well as to stand for the people who cannot stand by them selves, to give voice to the people who are voice less, also to stand for the victims of my Nation .

    Due to these lessons I was released that my Tanzania now is in good hand of me and to have desire of working to my dream about future Tanzania ,Tanzania had problems before, but hopefully we have no problems any more I am looking for the solution. That is what want to do starting projects which help people to have aces in Education, because I believe on Education to be only the solution to our problems. Also I am studying hard in order to become a good president on the future who will care about the people and fight against Diseases, poverty, and Ignorance hardly, also to be a father of humanity and fare to my people.


    Ms. Gormley also gave an update on what Mr. Rashidi is up to now:

    Mustapha continues to live in Makong’onda as my counterpart/best friend/son until he is able to go to high school in the Spring. He is the counterpart for many of our projects, and he is trying to train and find others who can teach in the future, when he leaves for school and I leave for places unknown. We are all incredibly proud of Mustapha (his home village of Mapili had a town meeting so that Mustapha could tell them about life in America, the entire village showed up) and I know that if he is lucky enough to get into high school, he will do great things.

    The Bold Leaders program will host another class of emerging African leaders in April. To get involved visit www.boldleaders.com and keep in touch with the Bold Leaders by joining their social network.


    1. u have got to be kidding me? This article is weird, we have no student leaders who speak proper english(?) and are'nt awed by america. I read this and feel sad! I know that there are alot more deserving people in africa/tanzania that have better levels of education and are seemingly better at expressing themselves but this gets coverage?? is this some sort of "dumbing down" or what they think developing countries should be like so they can feel better abt themselves?

      • Hi Maish,

        I know exactly what you mean. But let me try and provide some context. These were kids that had been selected to participate in a leadership training, called the Bold Leaders, based here in Colorado. It was meant for kids from underrepresented communities, so naturally, they were not looking for the more educated urban kids that speak English well and have been to the States. The brought in kids from Ugunja, Garissa (Borana and Rendille, I think) and from Nigeria and South Africa. They did not look urban or privileged to me in any way. The aim was for them to receive leadership training that they would go back and impact to their communities.

        What is amazing about Mustapha, was that he was this incredibly shy kid, when he first came, and he learned about leadership and is now doing something. He had never been to America, hence his awe. You and I may be a bit jaded by the West, but I think most people are still in awe when they make their first trip, no matter how exposed they are to the West. He is only in high school. … Tazama Zaidi

        So all in all, I think this is a good program, yeah, some things I would change, but seeing the change that came about after those two months was incredible, and it led me to think that the future of Africa is bright, if we get our youth to start thinking about leadership and community service etc.

        But also, you should know that i would never be part of any project that looks down on Africa. That would be defeating myself. But if that ever starts happening, I know we can count on you to keep us straight :).

        Much love.

    2. Thank you for setting the context and I am happy to answer questions. You are welcome to meet with the next group of teens coming to the USA, ( Nov. 28-Dec. 16), as we are always looking for mentors from their continent to support their efforts. The Kenya teens selected for 2010/11 are from the Samburu tribe and their selection is based on the results produced by the Moyale Kenya girls and the Wajir Kenya boys. I just returned from visiting many of the Bold Leaders, (the 10 Nigerian participants, from Kano and Enugu all created social venture projects that were accepted for funding), and three of our bold Leaders have been selected as either finalists or attend the African leadership Academy, in Johburg South Africa and another is now a student on the Auraria Campus and another at Tufts, and yet three more, one in Turkey, one in England and another at Nairobi University are all on full scholarships, provided by their countries. (None of them had families who could pay for their educations and two of them were top ten students in their country.)

      I was fortunate to see Mustapha, in Nairobi as part of the follow on support to their project. He comes from a very small village. He has a mentor, from Kenya, who is one of the leading urban agriculturist, (when I was at his home he had visitors from three small towns near Nairobi), who is coaching Mustapha regarding a project to raise rabbits, provide quality nutrition, jobs, (it is a cradle to cradle project), as well as use profits to support children with their school fees.

      Mugure, would love to know what you would change. . .as we are always looking for ways to improve the programs. Feel free to call me. 303-359-1733 Can’t help but notice the features on here that include several of the people who support the Bold leaders here and when they return home.

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