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AISA GISS, a Summit to Improve Service.

ISD recently attended the 11th AISA GISS (Association of International Schools in Africa Global Issues Service Summit) at the international community school of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Students from all over Africa met to discuss issues of global significance and to learn more about service. On the official AISA GISS website, the event is described as:

“a three-day annual summit hosted by an AISA member school. AISA-GISS motivates and encourages students to inquire about global issues and learn alongside other delegates and change-makers from across Africa.

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

AISA-GISS provides delegates with opportunities to strategize solutions to global issues, meaningful sessions and stories about positive change happening here in Africa, and the support for taking action and engagement in their own communities.

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.”

8 juniors and 2 teachers from ISD attended this year’s conference and they had a lot to say about it. From the workshops (one of which was organized by ISD) to the speaker presentations to the hands-on help, students were able to experience multiple service-oriented projects that helped them develop their ideas.

Andy Costa from “My vision for Africa”

During a reflective meeting after the event I was able to hear some of the opinions of most participating members, both positive and challenging, and how they learned from the experience.

Many students stated that they found the possibility of speaking to so many different people extremely helpful. They were able to gain a lot of new knowledge from both speakers and other students. For example, one student noticed how issues in Senegal are quite similar to global issues affecting Africa. Another gained a lot of insight when talking with a speaker on feminism and rape accusations. Some found certain ideas presented to be very clever and helpful, which may help them in the future if they ever want to make their own service projects.

Student-led discussions during workshops

Another key factor that everyone appreciated was how the majority of the event was student-led, both the workshops and visits to villages for direct service were organized by students, even the event itself (and the website).

There were some issues with the event that both students and teachers noticed. The main problem was with the organization and the direct service; it was felt that the activity they did was not the same as the one they thought they had signed up for. Some felt that they weren’t doing enough or were only mitigating an issue. One student mentioned that they felt like there were sections of wasted time during the day when they could have been doing something else. A teacher had learned about the lack of time that students at the hosting school had to plan the event. The fact that they had to take exams the week after the event did not help them, and in all consideration, the event was still a very valuable experience.

Learning about environmental issues, service projects and the people working on them has been very helpful to all the attending ISD members, so a big round of applause to them for their work in trying to make the world a better place:

Teachers: Arnaud Boulestreau, Mel Cartlidge

Students: Adele Meurette, Awa Karel Sow, Diana Mbama, Joshua Bruns, Kendra Danga, Philippe Mensah, Stephanie Stough, Will Cartlidge

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