Tag Archives: Namasale

Girl Scout Gold Award Project: Zoi Johns, Golden, “Project waterwise”

What did you do for your Gold Award project?

In rural Namasale, Uganda, water was scarce. There was no form of clean water in the near distance forcing over 150 children to risk their lives in search of a water source. Girls would travel dangerous lengths in the dark at the risk of rape, just trying to provide their family with the necessity that was not accessible to anyone. My project addressed this issue at the root. In addition to the one tank that was provided to the Global Leaders Primary School (GLPS), I provided them with three more 10,000 liter tanks to be placed at every corner of the school to ensure the ease of having clean water while at school and to take home to their family. I hoped to give these children not only clean water, but a sense of inspiration.

I didn’t want to stop at the tanks. The lack of education was also an issue to be addressed, which is why I designed posters for every classroom making certain the children know the importance of clean water and the right ways to use and conserve it. The students, staff, and their families have all benefited from the addition of three water filtration tanks and an addition to their curriculum adding more depth and complexity to these children’s education.

Here in my own community, I designed a curriculum that emphasized the importance and awareness that students here need to recognize in regards to clean water. Curriculum binders that were placed at high schools in Lakewood and Golden, Manning Middle School, and libraries in Golden and Lakewood included information about my project and activities that helped children reflect on their own water use. This was a great way to connect the dots from 3,000 miles away.

How did you measure the impact your Gold Award project made on your target audience?

Because records are not kept as efficiently as they are in the United States and the Global Leaders Primary school is only one year old, the measurability was forced away from the numbers and into smiles. I measured the impact of my Gold Award through personal accounts, pictures, videos, and the joy that was given to the children along with my tanks. I believe this is more powerful than statistics or analytical data that live on a piece of paper. I find comfort in knowing that my project reached beyond the paper and into these children’s lives. Maybe one day when the government of Uganda is more established and the school has been there for a longer amount of time, I will find the statistical impact of my project, but a smile goes way further than numbers.

How is your project sustainable? How will your project continue to impact after your involvement?

These 10,000 liter tanks are designed to last more than 50 years, which is sustainable in itself. In addition, the educational resources placed in every classroom at GLPS will also be sustained by not only the children, but the teachers will also learn the true importance of the water tanks. These posters will be referred to and taught for years to come. This, in addition to the curriculum, will add a great component and feature to the primary school as a whole and add another reason to increase enrollment and attendance. In my own community, the curriculum binders that I have designed and placed in local libraries and schools in my community along with an electronic version, will be placed and used by future generations with the desire to learn about the connections of clean water to third world countries and the important features of clean water locally as well.

What is your project’s global and/or national connection?

My whole project went beyond the local boundaries of my community. Designed to target students of GLPS, my boundaries were outstretched all the way across the world to Namasale, Uganda. I had to work with many liaisons working in Namasale, which added another global layer to my project. On the other hand, the national link to my project came to fruition in my educational component in my own community. In the educational binders was information that discussed states here in the United States that were struggling to maintain clean water. This link brought my project full circle in a way that brought the importance of helping locations with a limited access to clean water closer to home because the purpose of my project was to instill my passion for this project into other people in hopes that it will spark a project within their minds to create.

What did you learn about yourself?

Coming into this project I took pride in being a strong leader, but this project took that term to a whole new meaning. I lost the stigma that I previously had against delegation, which helped along the way throughout my project. Most notably featured in my delegation to Far Away Friends to deliver the tanks and all of the materials that I created to GLPS. This was also seen in my delegation to my team members to deliver the curriculum to the neighboring libraries and schools to further the education of my project. In addition, my communication skills were improved in the sense that I had to hone in my patience awaiting responses that were coming from halfway across the world. This was extremely difficult as I wanted to maintain an efficient timeline and always be hands-on throughout my project. I did a project bigger than myself and bigger than I ever could’ve imagined and from that, I learned that I was a lot stronger than I was. To put the amount of work a yearlong project needed proved to myself that my leadership goes farther than I could see. With being such a busy student, this determination and efficiency improved my leadership skills immensely.

How will earning your Gold Award impact you in the future?

This project allows me to draw conclusions from the lessons I learned along the way. I took away so many valuable aspects of how to create a sustainable goal and how to carry this out effectively that will be even more viable to my future. As I desire to go into the leadership field of study, I plan to take everything I’ve learned through my Gold Award and apply it into my future profession as they both parallel with the importance of leadership and hard work.

Why do you feel the Gold Award was an important part of your Girl Scout experience?

This Gold Award is the culmination of all the cold hours outside selling cookies, all the ropes courses, service outings, Silver Award, etc. This project is everything that I have worked hard to be able to do. The toolkit that Girl Scouts has provided me through countless leadership strengthening activities to individual self introspection, all have been utilized in my Gold Award. This was a way to utilize everything that I’ve learned in the past 12 years of my Girl Scout career.

How did earning your Gold Award help you become a G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader)? 

To be honest, I was always a G.I.R.L. What I’ve come to learn about myself is now, I am a W.O.M.A.N.

Wiser- Doing a project with so much room for perspective, I took this opportunity to improve my empathy. To find small ways to humble my life in retrospection of the lives these children were given.

Optimistic- Trying to find the light in a project like this was easy, just because of the impact I was making. It was hard to put that into context of the multitude of other villages that I couldn’t help. This initial thought was hard to process, but by the end of my project, it just proved as motivation for the next one.

Motivator- One of the many goals of this project was to radiate my passion in hopes of someone else finding that same motivation to help people in need. That if one person out of the many that heard a speech of mine or read a curriculum binder left and said, “I could do something like that.”

Adaptive- By doing a project from halfway across the world, I needed to learn how to roll with the punches. Because there is such a cultural difference between us, I needed to adapt to their customs and empathize with the ways in which they lived.

Natural- I was born a leader. With tenacity and determination, I have always tried to find activities that catered to these aspirations which in turn, strengthened my leadership. By the time of this Gold Award, I discovered that all of these activities I chose to surround myself with, created a sense of security whether I was on stage giving a speech, creating posters, or campaigning my project, I felt right at home. I was in my natural habitat and comfort zone. I feel very real, honest and natural.

**IMPORTANT NOTE: This blog represents only a small fraction of the hard work, dedication, and requirements that go into earning a Girl Scout Gold Award. It is simply a brief summary, which is meant to inspire Girl Scouts to Go Gold in the future. For more information on earning your Gold Award, please email highestawards@gscolorado.org.