What does sustainability look like?

June 27, 2019 | GFC & Partner Updates

A recent webinar highlights the changes GFC has made to its signature Maya Ajmera Sustainability Award and showcases winner Malaika’s work empowering girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, founder of Malaika, joined Global Fund for Children’s Corey Oser and Alexander Kyerematen in a webinar on June 11 to discuss Malaika’s long-term success in empowering girls in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Her organization was named a winner of the 2019 Maya Ajmera Sustainability Award, and she sat down with GFC staff to talk about what that means.

Malaika, based in Kalebuka, DRC, has been a GFC partner since 2016. This year, the organization received the Maya Ajmera Sustainability Award – named in honor of GFC’s founder – in recognition of both its past achievements and its potential for continued impact on children and youth.

Dozens of viewers tuned into the webinar to hear how Malaika is encouraging girls to be leaders in the community through its school, community center, and clean water program. Audience members heard from Noëlla about her inspiration, her story, her organization’s partnership with GFC, and what sustainability means to her.

Born in DRC but educated abroad after her father’s death, Noëlla was inspired to found Malaika to give back to her community. She explained that, at first, Malaika’s goal was simply to build a better school for girls in Kalebuka. However, in order to have the opportunity to go to school, girls also need access to clean water. This led to the creation of Malaika’s clean water program. After the water program came the community center, which works with parents and community members to build their support for girls’ education.

“It is very important to invest in the community. … The ripple effect is really powerful,” said Noëlla.

Noëlla also talked about how GFC has helped Malaika reach its goals, expand, and promote change. “It’s really great to find Global Fund for Children, that can help us implement and that believes in our inner vision,” said Noëlla.

Corey spoke about the new, participatory process used to select this year’s Sustainability Award recipients. Selection committee members – which included not only GFC staff, but also former award recipients and youth – looked at broad indicators of organizational sustainability including leadership, resources, and learning networks. They selected Malaika as one of the award winners based on the organization’s efforts to cultivate the next generation of leaders; diversify funding choices; and emphasize learning, growing, and acceptance of feedback.

Corey Oser, GFC staff, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, and Alexander Kyerematen.
Clockwise from top left: Corey Oser, GFC staff, Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, Alexander Kyerematen.

With the Sustainability Award, Malaika aims to grow the leadership of its staff, to build its in-house teacher-training program, and to share its model for other organizations to adapt and replicate in the future. “It’s going to really help us to bring Malaika to the next level,” Noella said.

“Lasting change comes from the ground-up, definitely. It’s all about the local model, and through Malaika, I’ve seen firsthand how the entire village can be transformed through the education of girls and women,” Noëlla said.

Missed the webinar? Watch it here.

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Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.

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