After a tremendous 2017, the WISER team is ready to look forward to the new year.
There are plenty of things to be excited about in 2018, not the least of which is our ongoing expansion as we continue our journey to double in size by 2020. But growth is happening across all of WISER’s programs and we want to give the Global WISER Family a sneak preview of what to expect.
Here are five things to keep an eye out for in this new year.
When we first began our expansion near the end of 2016, the WISER campus could offer an empowering, healthy environment to 120 students each year. In 2018, this number will have increased to 180 girls total as we bring in another 60-girl class this January! A larger population means more girls than ever will graduate as confident, healthy, academic achievers with a passion for leading change in their community.
In 2017, WISER opened our campus computer lab and we began offering computer science classes to girls. However, our older students and soon-to-be-graduates weren’t able to complete a full computer course before finishing their time at WISER. In 2018, WISER will partner with Lumen Labs, an organization based in Nairobi that provides digital literacy courses for rural communities, to offer computer training for our alumni that barely missed the opening of the lab. This training will ensure that our most recent alumni will enter college ahead of the game with basic computer skills already under their belt!
Thanks to a grant from the Pentair Foundation, WISER will offer an all-new slate of STEM-related opportunities for girls in 2018. Students will have the opportunity to hear from female role models in the tech industry through our new on-campus telecommunications system and mentorship series, they’ll participate in coding workshops through our growing computer lab, and a number of girls will have the opportunity to visit the iHub in Nairobi – a massive collaborative space for digital entrepreneurs in Kenya. WISER girls have always excelled in STEM fields and with these new experiences, we expect 2018 to be our best year yet for STEM results.
WISER welcomes visitors to campus every year, but 2018 is shaping up to a particularly busy time for visitors. Over the next 12 months, WISER will welcome students from The American School in Switzerland, Durham Academy, and Duke University. These students will spend a combined three months at WISER in 2018 and will take on a variety of volunteer opportunities and research projects while in Muhuru Bay. We’ll also be inviting programmatic partners from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the United States to visit WISER to discuss and strengthen partnerships for the benefit of girls!
Reason number 5 celebrates a very important 5 year anniversary! This year marks the five-year anniversary of our first graduating class. In the coming months, WISER’s alumni base will grow to nearly 150 girls as our 32 most recent graduates celebrate the conclusion of their time at WISER and look to the future. Since WISER began, nearly 90% of all of our students have enrolled in college or university and 100% of our students have graduated.
2018 is a time to celebrate growth, to appreciate how far WISER has come, and to appreciate what five classes of educated and empowered girls have made possible in their communities and their country.
We invite you to join us as we start this new year with excitement and gratitude for your support and your passion for empowering girls. Happy New Year!