“Education is the key to everything”: A student leader’s WISER experience

On the right side of the image, Josephine Beatrice raises her hand in class while wearing her WISER uniform. On the left, a red box with white text says "with education, whatever a boy can do, girls can do, too."

When she’s out in her community, Josephine Beatrice often gets asked the same question: “What is it like at WISER?”

“WISER is an institution that develops a girl child to have both community morals and also to be a self-motivator,” she says. “From the skills that you are being provided, you can be your own entrepreneur.”

Self-motivation is a skill that has led Josephine Beatrice to make her mark over four years at WISER, both in and out of the classroom. While committed to her studies, she also has grown into a proven leader in WISER’s Family Planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) outreach, as well as the netball team and a church worship team.

“I know that before you do something, you must motivate yourself that you can do that. You must just believe in yourself that ‘I can do this.’ You have to challenge yourself, and believe that, whatever the situation, you will make it.”

It takes a great deal of self-motivation to lead SRH, which involves WISER students visiting local primary and secondary schools to lead younger students through training modules related to their sexual and reproductive health. WISER students have to be confident enough to teach members of their community about issues vital to their health and wellness.

But Josephine Beatrice is unphased. To her, being empowered means knowing that “you have all the skills necessary to tackle every problem.” And at WISER, she learned that she had all of those skills already within her.

“I have that skill, and I’m confident enough to teach class,” she says. “Back at home on holidays, I usually give my sisters advice on how they can conduct themselves as a girl through challenges. I find it very easy to sit down with them and talk about what is affecting them, what is happening in the reality, and tell them that, whatever the situation, this is the right thing.”

Josephine Beatrice stands in her WISER uniform on the left side of the image, with her hand on her hip, a powerful expression on her face, and WISER's campus in the background.

Part of what motivates Beatrice is the knowledge of how important her leadership is to the health of her community.

“Here in Muhuru Bay, we are the school which is supplying the SRH to people,” she says. “There’s no other school doing that.”

But in the rare case that Josephine Beatrice starts to feel her confidence and self-motivation wane, she finds at WISER a whole host of people to look up to, starting at the story of WISER’s inception.

“This school was built by girls. I want to change and bring more expansion so that more girls can get the opportunity to get the support that I got.”

When her sisters, the girls in her Family Planning and SRH classes, and the girls in her community ask Josephine Beatrice for advice, this self-motivating, community-empowering young woman knows from experience just what to say.

“I would tell girls that education is the key to everything. Whatever anyone wants in future, education is the key to it. And education is also that equalizer—it puts both men and women in the same situation. With education, whatever a boy can do, a girl can do, too.”

“So wake up, and seize everything. See a world where all people, genders are equal and can do everything with education.”

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