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Sustainability, Partnerships Grow in Wake of AISA Service Summit

By LeeAnne Lavender
Sustainability, Partnerships Grow in Wake of AISA Service Summit

ISK students, enthusiastic about sustainability? You bet (photo: ISK).
This year’s Association of International Schools in Africa (AISA) Global Issues Service Summit (GISS), hosted by the International School of Kenya (ISK), was the fifth event of its kind in Africa. And as the summit gains momentum, each year sees new and exciting growth and development.
Of particular note this year were partnerships with Nairobi-based NGOs, a new plan for creating a sustainable approach with the Golden Hearts scholars, and a carbon offset program that resulted in a minimal carbon footprint for the event. This was a major feat considering that just over 240 people traveled to Nairobi, many from far-flung points in Africa and the Middle East.
In planning for AISA-GISS 2013, conference coordinators brainstormed ways to partner with local NGOs. One major perk of hosting the conference in Nairobi was the access to so many talented and experienced people for the summit’s expert panels, and many NGOs and UN groups were represented.
Me to We, an amazing Canadian NGO with an office in Nairobi, partnered with the ISK team to lead a full-group simulation, and two workshops to provide participants for an expert panel.
The Golden Hearts program is a further special component of the African GISS. Each year, the host school accepts applications from local students who are making a difference in their (disadvantaged) communities to attend the summit. The host school selects a number of applicants to attend the summit, and participants receive full sponsorship to participate and attend. ISK selected 17 local Kenyan students to participate, and based on a unique partnership with the Jump! Foundation these students were able to participate in special leadership sessions before and after the summit.
Another sustainability initiative for 2013 has been the introduction of a carbon offset program. The ISK team determined how many carbon credits would be needed to offset the footprint of the summit, and a corporate sponsor, Total Gas, then provided enough seedlings to balance the equation. The trees were planted by ISK students and teachers last May, at a school attended by... one of the Golden Hearts.
This year, we have taken the GISS mandate and vision a step further. It will be wonderful to see how this continues to develop in the years to come!

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