Ashinaga UK Tsudoi
Ashinaga UK was happy to host a hybrid tsudoi in December, just before the holidays. Some scholars and staff participated virtually, while others traveled to York to attend in person.
The 2021 tsudoi was Ashinaga UK’s first in-person gathering since December 2019, so it served as a long-awaited reunion for all involved. For some of the younger Scholars, who experienced a remote Preparatory Year and started university during the pandemic, it was their first time meeting the older cohorts of students. Tsudoi, especially in-person ones, serve as a vital opportunity for Scholars to engage in community building and peer support, some of the core advantages of being part of the Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI).
Tsudoi is a leadership camp where AAI Scholars participate in intensive training and workshops to empower their academic, personal, and professional leadership development. These three pillars form the Leadership Development Framework, which along with the AAI’s Curriculum and the support from the Student Council, are crucial aspects of the AAI. Ashinaga UK shaped tsudoi around these three components, making it relevant to Scholars’ journeys as they develop as leaders.
Shadrack Frimpong, founder and CEO of Cocoa360, was one of the guest speakers this year. Shadrack passionately spoke about his experience of studying abroad and returning to Ghana to start his own business, which focuses on improving health and education outcomes in communities through cocoa farming revenues. His drive and commitment to contribute to his community are inspirational and helped AAI Scholars further envision how they can achieve their kokorozashi – a long-term plan to contribute to solving an issue they identified.
The second guest speaker was Ginu Chacko, founder and CEO of Talentrade. This social enterprise brings together diverse professionals to teach and learn from one another in the context of problem-solving. Ginu delivered a workshop on problem-solving and design thinking methods and principles, which helped Scholars identify obstacles to development and build long-lasting and effective solutions. It also provided Scholars with a framework to develop their Ashinaga Proposals, where they identify community-level issues in sub-Saharan Africa and develop solutions to make a sustainable impact.
In addition to these insightful sessions, Ashinaga UK hosted a debate session chaired by a Scholar. With debate topics chosen by our UK Student Council, scholars demonstrated clear arguments about relevant issues related to sub-Saharan Africa. Finally, an Ashinaga UK staff member gave a session on ‘Study Planning to Fight Stress’ in the context of the new norm of in-person and online university learning due to the pandemic. We are confident that all topics covered at tsudoi will empower AAI Scholars further on their leadership journeys.
On top of hosting a hybrid event, Ashinaga UK took extensive measures prior to and during the program to ensure a safe environment for everyone in light of the COVID pandemic. We are also very grateful to the University of York, one of our partners, who provided spacious facilities to host the sessions.
The annual tsudoi is a perfect chance for all attendees to reconnect with each other and forge connections that will be valuable well into the future. We are so proud of all the Ashinaga UK Scholars for their commitment to being young leaders with ambitious plans for a prosperous future.
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