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Leadership Living Center (LLC): Investing in safe spaces to transform communities

We can make a portion of the Kibera slum a safer and more empowering place for the students at the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy by constructing a Leadership Living Center (LLC). A LLC will provide immediate benefits including: short to long-term safe housing, access to academic resources and support, effective school-to-work programs, space for social interaction, and additional nutritious meals. Over time, a center of this nature can impact the larger community through financial inclusion services, a health and counseling center, and programming such as MenCare and BoysCare, which promote men’s involvement as equitable, non-violent fathers, caregivers, and siblings to achieve family well-being, gender equality and the reduction of violence.

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
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Together, the KGSA Foundation, a US-based nonprofit organization, and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) provide free secondary education, artistic and athletic opportunities, and microfinance and financial literacy programming to over 130 girls and families annually who live in the Kibera slum in Nairobi, Kenya. In only seven years, we have taken the idea that girls living in Kibera deserve the right to a free, quality secondary education and have made that a reality. It is because of our history and proven success that we are confident in the feasibility of this initiative and its lasting impact within the community.

KGSA students and families have been advocating for a voluntary housing and community center that will provide a safe place to live, after-school tutoring, academic support, on-site counseling, and community programming. In 2012, we purchased land directly next to the existing school and brought a team of community designers from the University of Minnesota to the school for a week-long discussion with students, staff, and community members. Through these design charettes, the KGSA community was able to detail the layout of the building and the amenities that were important to them and their community. In November of last year we partnered with Design Source, a Kenyan architecture firm who has offered to administer construction documentation and services. We launched a capital campaign to construct this initiative, and if funding comes through are on track to begin construction by February 2015.

Explain your idea in one sentence.

Leadership Living Centers provide an opportunity for young women to invest in their own physical, educational, mental, and emotional well being while giving them the tools to transform their lives.

What is the need you are trying to solve?

The Kibera slum, located in Nairobi, Kenya is a densely populated space with limited options of expanding. The community lacks spaces to gather, spaces to learn, spaces to heal, and spaces to rest. As population density continues to rise, so do the health and sanitation risks, the safety risks, inadequate housing stock, and proper educational facilities. Due to gender norms within Kenyan culture, these realities tend to disproportionately affect women and girls. They are the ones who tend to collect water at night alone, whose education is put last, and whose health is overlooked because of more imminent problems. The LLC project will address the community’s need for an intentional, multi-purpose space for young women.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

Immediately, the LLC will provide safe housing for the roughly 20% of KGSA students who have been identified as living in “vulnerable and abusive” homes. In addition to this group of young women, the remaining 50 rooms will provide students in their junior and senior years with an opportunity to live in a distraction-free environment. This space will provide 24-hour access to academic tools and resources, in preparation for their Kenyan Certificates of Secondary Education exams. The LLC will also immediately provide 130 students and families with vocational training and social entrepreneurship skill-building classes.

(If you are interested in reading a personal account from a KGSA student about the significance of this building and how it will change her world, please visit our blog featuring Sally's words at http://kgsafoundation.blogspot.com/2014/04/when-we-asked-kgsa-students-why.html)

The ground floor and first floor of this building have been dedicated to expanding community programming. The plans include a small women’s health clinic and counseling service area. We are working with the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work on how this idea can transfer knowledge within the university to this community and provide valuable learning experiences for young professionals in the USA. We are also in discussions with Promundo-US, a nonprofit organization that is a leader in engaging men and boys to promote gender equality and end violence against women. We plan on using the LLC to help create a safe environment to implement programming such as MenCare and BoysCare, which promote men’s involvement as equitable, non-violent fathers, caregivers, and siblings in order to achieve family well-being, gender equality and reduce violence against women.

Once our students are provided safe and secure housing, enhanced academic support, and the space to nurture their physical, mental, and emotional needs,there will be a dramatic rise in their examination scores, post-secondary school enrollment, and post-graduation employment along with a decrease in dropout rates.

With regards to monitoring and evaluation (M&E), we are tracking both our students academic progress, as well as monitoring their overall development. By capturing each grade levels performance pre-building, we are able to assess the impact and change for each student after the building is constructed. We will also be able to compare the progress of those who live at the leadership center and those who do not. A baseline physical and mental health assessment will be conducted before the building and will be assessed every six months to identify the gaps that need to be addressed.

In-depth qualitative surveys with the surrounding school community and with students who attend the school will be conducted along with quantitative surveys regarding the impact of the LLC for all users. This mixed-methods approach along with studying monthly user statistics will allow KGSA to tailor the LLC to the needs of the community as well.

With regards to monitoring a MenCare or BoysCare program, it would be useful to collect data on the men and boys involved in the program and their thoughts and opinions on gender roles in Kibera, along with their daily activities and behavior patterns. After they have worked through the curriculum, we would administer an additional survey that tracks their changes in how they perceive the women in their world, their own behavior shifts, and how they engage with men and young boys differently.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

This idea would best be implemented by a few partner organizations, utilizing a combination of strengths. The Kibera Girls Soccer Academy could provide the most important resource of all--community. The KGSA Foundation can help provide administrative support and fundraising potential. Design Source in Nairobi can provide high quality design services familiar with the local building economy and contractors. As a collective team the partnership seeks to utilize the unique talents each member brings to the table. In order to create an environment that is both accepted by the community, sound in its construction, and effective in its goals, we believe that multiple sources of expertise need to be involved in every aspect of the process.

Where should this idea be implemented?

The LLC should be implemented within the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya in collaboration with the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy at a site that has already been purchased and cleared for construction by local and federal authorities.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

The existing school is a living prototype of the impact that effective programming and a structure of inclusion can provide within the Kibera community. This idea has been piloted in similar ways for the past five years within the existing school. The next phase of development will build off of the existing school’s impact and relationship within the respective community.
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Team (14)

Ryan's profile
Jamie's profile
Jamie Clearfield

Role added on team:

"Jamie has been an integral member of the KGSA family over the last six years and we are thrilled to have her as a member of our OpenIDEO team"

Ellie's profile
Ellie Roscher

Role added on team:

"Ellie Roscher has been helping document the story of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy for the past 2-1/2 years. She is a writer, educator, and community organizer."

Mali's profile
Emily's profile
Kristen's profile
Eva's profile
Lara's profile
Anna's profile
Anna Fairbairn

Role added on team:

"Anna worked along side of the KGSA microfinance program for a year and continues to be actively engaged."

Caroline's profile
Caroline Sheahan

Role added on team:

"Caroline volunteered at KGSA for six months as a media and journalism coordinator. She worked very closely with 30 students in the Journalism club and made a lasting impact in the KGSA community."

richard's profile
richard teka

Role added on team:

"Richard Teka is our Programs Director in Kibera and has been involved with KGSA since its inception. We owe so much of our success to this incredible man."

Ellen's profile
Ellen Weber

Role added on team:

"Ellen Weber is a long-time volunteer for the KGSA Foundation and now serves as our Development Associate."

Tom's profile
Abdul's profile
Abdul Kassim

Role added on team:

"Abdul Kassim is the Founder & Executive Director of the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy and manages all operations on the ground in Nairobi, Kenya. (www.KiberaGirlsSoccerAcademy.org)"

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Attachments (4)

kgsa-buildingpacket.pdf

Marketing/Fundraising Packet for the Leadership Living Center

drawing_15.tif

A sketch of the Leadership Living Center

ELEVS.pdf

Building Renderings from Design Source

Abdul.jpg

The director of KGSA and the KGSA Foundation working with a designer

41 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Pablo Romero-Fresco
Team

Fantastic initiative, Ryan. Let's go for it.

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

Unfortunately we were not chosen to advance. Thank you though, if you are interested in helping us raise the necessary funds (as all of the community work, engagement, and building renderings are complete) then please get in contact. Thank you again.

rmsarafolean@gmail.com

Photo of Byrones Khainga
Team

I am humbled to be part of this let's join hands in making this dream come true!! Thank you all and God bless!

Photo of Michele Weber
Team

This is truly an amazing intuitive and I am so proud to know the people who are aiding in this movement. Go team KGSA!

Photo of Philip Sunil Urech
Team

Dear team,

Great effort on providing dedicated infrastructure and education at the Kibera slum. I am keen to learn about your future extensions towards the neighbourhood communities - you mentioned programs such as MenCare and BoysCare, and ongoing discussions with the US-chapter of Promundo. Are there already some sketches available?

I am contributing to the Crowdguard project - we aim to reinvent the geo-based smart phone alarm app for low- and no- feature phone users - please have a look at http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/applause/crowdguard-app-reinvent-the-geo-based-smart-phone-alarm-app-for-low-and-no-feature-phones

As we plan to extend the Crowdguard Youth Ambassador Programme in a second stage from campuses to neighbourhoods, we want to learn from your field practise regarding gender equality and the reduction of violence, and how you measure and report impact, especially on issues such as worldview and behavioural shifts. I would love to hear your feedback.

Photo of A Woman's Heart Foundation Africa
Team

i like your idea, it definitely draws audience. My idea is on using media to effect change, especially with regard to incidence of rape. I see media coverage of your idea, i suggest as a reality show, fine tune it to specific societal ills, e.g rape, child marriage,

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Sounds like you are doing lots of awesome work, Ryan. We'd love it if you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which illustrate user journeys through some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check this example: http://www.openideo.com/open/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/ where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea. (You can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.) Through doing this we'll be able appreciate your idea through the lens of people in low-income communities.

And here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & more! We also hope you'll join in on discussion on others people's ideas here. Your perspectives would certainly enrich our conversations and collaboration...

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

Meena, thank you for your comment. For clarification sake, are you looking for a more in depth description as to who will be providing the academic support or the microfinance training etc? Right now we operate many programs out of our school but the LLC would not only increase the space we have, but the idea is that we can now expand programming. Currently, we operate a financial inclusion program for the families, and a journalism, drama, debate, science, and scouting club for the students . We know that the LLC will bring with it the opportunity to do large scale community programming such as the MenCare program I mentioned and we will also be working toward a health clinic in the near future through our partnerships with the University of Denver. Please let me know how I can best answer your question as I really would like to make our idea as strong as possible in this phase.

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Hi Ryan. Perhaps an example of some hypothetical scenarios created for an idea on this challenge will help you think of how you could use these to illustrate yours: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/bindis-community-concierges-to-inform-connect-and-empower You could choose a few potential stakeholders and create hypothetical scenarios / user journeys for them so we can see your idea through their eyes. Hope that helps :^)

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

Meena, I edited the section about who would benefit from this idea to include a blog post from one of our students in Kibera. She writes about her daily life, her struggles, and how the building would change her world. Take a look at:
http://kgsafoundation.blogspot.com/2014/04/when-we-asked-kgsa-students-why.html

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Really insightful to read about Sally's perspective, Ryan. (do note that our Refinement selection is made by our expert panel not via the number of votes on an idea. The panel will pay particular attention to ideas with strong Applause – but their decisions will be made over and above the number of votes. That said, I wish you well with your great work in Kibera)

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

Thanks Meena!

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Ryan, I thought I'll share an idea I posted where I used KGSA in the scenario :-)

http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/youth-girls-boys-design-summit-taking-action-together

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

thanks Anne!

Photo of Afzal Habib
Team

Ryan, this sounds like a wonderful initiative! My organization is piloting our OpenIDEO idea in Kibera over the next few months - to provide high-quality, affordable early childhood care & education (ages 6mo-5years) to enable women to join the workforce. (http://www.openideo.com/challenge/womens-safety/ideas/kidogo-empowering-mama-s-to-join-the-workforce-by-providing-high-quality-affordable-child-care-in-urban-slums)

Where is your LLC school located within Kibera? We're signing a lease in Kisumu Ndogo community and wonder if perhaps there is some partnership potential here in the "real world" as opposed to just online collaboration? Feel free to get in touch and we can meet up!

Best,
-Afzal & team Kidogo

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

I would love to connect and build. What is the best way of getting in contact with you? The existing school (Kibera Girls Soccer Academy) is in the Makina District. The LLC isn't constructed yet but we are hoping to have the necessary funds by the end of this year. Feel free to email me at Ryan@KGSAfoundation.org and we can get a dialogue going outside of this forum. All the best!

-Ryan

Photo of Abdul Kassim
Team

We are fully in it with you Ryan as we clearly understand what the impact that this LLC will have on the students and the Kibera community at large. Lets go for it.

Photo of Eyal Halamish
Team

Amazing work Ryan. Keep it up.

Photo of Ellen Weber
Team

The community has been waiting for this Boarding Center for a while and it is amazing to see that this is gaining momentum and is going to be a reality. This truly is going to have great effects in the community. Thriving girls really do change the world.

Photo of Alexander Brooks
Team

Work that is truly and tangibly touching a community and growing from within. Keep it up, team KGSA!

Photo of richard teka
Team

Am happy on how KGSA is shaping up. 8 years ago, I could not believe that KGSA would be where it is. However, we are still moving on and this project will go a long way in helping the young girls of Kibera achieve their dream and eventually change the community. they say; "if you educate a girl, you educate a community!"
Thank you all for your continued support.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Very nice idea. It's great to see how you are able to expand an initiative that you've been experimenting with for 5 years now. It is great to see how the space you are envisioning will provide support and access to these girls. I also find great your community focus and how this project can possibly impact the whole community. Looking forward to read more about this!

Photo of Caroline Sheahan
Team

The best part about this positive addition is how it will affect the Kibera community as a whole. KGSA has a real opportunity here to create meaningful change in the area, and set new standards in Kibera. With the dormitory, the girls and the school will continue to grow as leaders of their community. I cannot wait to see this project come to fruition,

Photo of Anna Fairbairn
Team

The students at KGSA have said for many years that they needed a safe space where they could live and study.. It is so exciting to see KGSA & the KGSA Foundation on their way to meeting that need! The Center is really going to augment the services and support that KGSA provides--not only for KGSA students, but for the community as a whole. I am proud to be supporting this goal and I am so excited to see construction begin in February!

Photo of Jessica Hartnett
Team

Such a wonderful idea to create such a space for these young girls and their community. KGSA in general has changed so many lives, and I can only imagine the impact this new space would have on the school, the girls, and their community.

Photo of Sarah Martin
Team

Great idea and fantastic team driven not only by the passion to create safe spaces for women, but also to build communities from the ground up. The value of this work lies in the importance the team gives to involving, from the very beginning, those that will be affected most by the project, which demonstrates a deep consideration and commitment to creating real, sustainable change.

Photo of Ben Tierney
Team

There are few causes in the world I would rather support than KGSA. I've been impressed by the authenticity, transparency and true commitment of the organization and its leadership to do what every organization of its kind should be doing - working itself out of a job. From large-picture vision to their everyday work, this organization embodies and pursues that mission better than most I've ever seen. This project deserves funding, knowing the dollars will be well spent towards sustainable ends.

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

Thank you Ben, that means a lot to us all!

Photo of Alejandra PT
Team

This is absolutely fantastic! A relevant and absolutely worthwhile idea. I cannot wait for it to become a reality! :)

Photo of Ellie Roscher
Team

The girls tend to know best what they need to keep safe. The girls at KGSA have been asking for this building for years. It is exciting to see that the possibility may become reality.

Photo of Lauren Sheibley
Team

KGSA really is transforming lives. I hope to see this project succeed!

Photo of Jamie Clearfield
Team

KGSA and KGSA Foundation is unique in its ability to listen and implement. This idea is amazing in that it directly addresses needs and desires expressed by the students at KGSA! Can't wait to see the LLC in action!

Photo of Lara Powers
Team

This is amazing - go KGSA!

Photo of Eva Miller
Team

This is a much-needed innovation to make Kibera safer for young women. Way to go KGSA!

Photo of Juan Diaz
Team

This is an incredible idea with a potential for impact that goes well beyond the Kibera slum. I look forward to seeing a finished and successful Leadership Living Center.

Photo of Kristen Rankin
Team

This idea not only addresses major issues for a vulnerable population, it is also well thought-through and supported by a broad base of individuals and organizations. I look forward to watching it turn into reality.

Photo of Emily Kenney
Team

Fantastic project by a great organization! The inclusive services offered by the LLC will make such a positive impact on students' lives. This is an idea worthy of support!

Photo of Joelle Stangler
Team

What an awesome project. Not only is the cause worth supporting, the people involved in making it a reality are passionate, hard-working, and kind hearted. I fully support this project and hope to see it succeed.

Photo of Ryan Sarafolean
Team

Thank you for the support Joelle!

Photo of Catherine Karan
Team

This is an incredible project that will provide safe-housing, educational support and opportunities for many young women in Kibera. Eventually the LLC can also offer positive long-term benefits to the larger Kibera community. This is an important, well-thought out, sustainable project that deserves support.

Photo of Mali Irvin
Team

LLC is on it's way!