Community Development Program


The MCW Community Development Program develops and supports community centers as spaces for skills development, entrepreneurship and social services for youth living in underserved communities. MCW currently has 4 centers: Rwanda (1), Tanzania (2) and Zambia (1).

Tailored to the unique needs of the community, each center offers youth the opportunity to enroll in low-cost vocational courses, IT/computer training courses and social programs. The vocational and IT classes are offered at a nominal fee to encourage youth to make a real investment in themselves; the social programs are free for the community. These programs are subsidized by micro-enterprises also known as income-generating activities (IGAs).

The idea behind our centers is to provide youth with the skills and experience to compete for jobs and earn a living in their country.

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    Local Ownership

    Critical to the sustainability of an MCW center is the commitment to empower the community to oversee and operate the centers. In each country where MCW works, it establishes a locally-registered organization, such as Miracle Corners-Tanzania (MC-T), which is led by a Board of Directors comprised of local stakeholders representing public bodies, businesses, non-profit organizations, and MCW-New York. The Board is a volunteer body responsible for all fiduciary, programmatic, and legal issues.

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    Low Cost - High Quality Education

    MCW offers high-quality, low-cost vocational training courses (e.g. sewing, construction, handicrafts and plumbing) to youth. At some centers, courses are offered at 20% of the market rate, enabling many segments of the population, who otherwise might not have been able to afford the fees, to register for classes.

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    Sustainability

    MCW works with local Boards of Directors in each country to make the center(s) self-sustaining in both financial and organizational terms. As a first step, MCW raises funds for building the center, often with complementary support from local governments. Then, the Board designs plans for the development of skills development courses and micro-enterprises, also known as income-generating activities (IGA’s), whose revenue and profits support the center’s operating expenses. This allows the centers to offer courses at a lower rate than similar schools in the community or country. Current IGA’s include a piggery in Zambia and a handicraft project in Rwanda. IGAs in the pipeline include a taxi project in Zambia and a garden/landscape business in Rwanda.

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    Social Programs

    Bringing value to the communities where we work, our centers offer a number of social programs based on the specific needs of the community. Designed by the local Board of Directors, these programs range from youth group activities to trauma counseling and from performing arts and sports to reading comprehension.

Africa Leaders Seminar

Bringing together leaders (e.g. Country Directors, Center Coordinators and/or Board of Directors members) from each country in Africa where MCW works to share ideas, lessons learned and best practices and gain the tools needed to either operate the center, including reporting, business plan development and financial management, or develop programs in the spirit of MCW’s mission and culture.

Sideris Memorial Scholarship

The George Sideris Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to honor the memory of the late Dr. George Sideris, a biologist teaching at New York University and Long Island University, in New York, USA. This fund commemorates his commitment to MCW and the communities it serves, his passion for teaching and educational travel, and his conviction that the gift of education should be available to all, the world over.

Purpose:
Provide youth leaders involved with MCW or one of its affiliate organizations in Africa for at least two years with opportunities to advance their education via scholarships and educational stipends to certificate or full degree programs.

Criteria:
This fund is open to MCW Leaders who have been associated with MCW for two or more years and should be used for attendance in select educational programs.

Internships

The purpose of the CDP internship program is to recruit social-minded youth in the four African nations where MCW works and provide them with relevant professional experiences to advance their careers while supporting their desire to be positive agents of change in their communities.

Internship focuses will vary by center. Examples of internships include:

-Vocational instruction: an intern will work with an MCW faculty member and learn advanced vocational and pedagogy skills;
-Financial accounting: an intern will work with the center coordinator and country director, if necessary, to develop and implement financial accounting systems and statements;
-Purchasing and supply: an intern will work with the center coordinator and country director, if necessary, to develop and implement inventory management systems;
-Small-business management: an intern will work in the early stages of income-generating activity development, observing and creating programs for the effective management of the business.

In certain cases, internships will be used to prepare an intern for future employment with the organization.

Who will participate?

MCW will focus on students completing their tertiary-level education for project-specific internships and community youth for community-focused internships or internships leading to employment.

How will internships be run?

Internship role descriptions will be drafted by MCW, with roles focusing on specific program areas or IGAs in need of extra support. Interns will be selected after review of their qualifications, which may include criterions such as education level and area of study, proximity to the youth center, previous experience and leadership potential.

Internships will be advertised via the MCW website and by the community center staff and boards.

Inua: Hand-Crafted Products

In partnership with Inspire Trade, MCW and its community centers in Africa are creating locally-made crafts to be sold on the U.S. market. In Swahili, the word “inua” means to empower, which is what we’ve decided to call our products.

100% of the profits from these hand-crafted items will be reinvested in MCW community centers to empower individuals and the community.