Nurturing Empathic Leaders in Tanzania and South Africa

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N4 is partnering with Harvard Business School to foster the next generation of empathic entrepreneurs and leaders. Together we focused on Mexico and Tanzania for a pilot project, and below is an update on our work in Africa with LEAP in Cape Town, ArtWorks for Youth in Port Elizabeth, African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, and HBS in Tanzania. Quick take: we are determined to offer a progressive, ethical, and comprehensive education that supports Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs and empathic leaders.

In one year, Narrative 4 has been responsible for 885 story exchanges across the African continent. Whether Narrative 4 is working in South Africa with LEAP in Cape Town, ArtWorks for Youth in Port Elizabeth, African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, or the Harvard Business School in Tanzania, one thing unites us all: the uncompromising vision to offer a progressive, ethical, and comprehensive education that supports Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs and empathetic leaders.

N4’s African sojourn began in Tanzania, on the coast of East Africa, alongside Harvard Business School as part of Harvard’s MBA FIELD program that focuses on students completing a project that helps their Global Partner develop or improve a product, service, or experience for a segment of its customers.  Narrative 4’s role was to pilot a threefold project that (1) increased HBS students’ “microculture” immersion in their designated global location; (2) built cultural sensitivity and empathy for disparate experiences; and (3) enhanced the students’ ability to engage in diverse markets with diverse teams and to help them make empathic decisions impacting diverse populations.

Some 130 Harvard & students and Tanzanian students and locals engaged in story exchanges as part of the learning experience.

Port Elizabeth / ArtWorks for Youth

ArtWorks for Youth conducted a virtual exchange involving seven AWFY students in Port Elizabeth and seven students from Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York.  The AWFY students were filmed as they told stories about the issues they face as students in the Eastern Cape, the province that has the lowest graduation rate in South Africa.  Students shared information about the schools in the both cities at different corners of the globe.

African Leadership Academy

According to ALA, Africa’s “greatest need is ethical and entrepreneurial leadership,” which is why N4 ambassadors travelled from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg to run workshops and engage in dialogue to ensure this vision becomes a reality.

Over five days, Narrative 4 ran professional development for ALA’s “Staffulty” to better facilitate story exchanges across campus and build greater understanding around the theme of race, power, and privilege, worked with the campus Wellness team to discuss how the story exchange can continue to add value to their curriculum as well as work with educational leaders from Limpopo, a province north of Johannesburg, in a workshop designed to engage educational empathy. Representatives from the Sumbandila Scholarship Trust ( who attended are excited to continue the relationship with N4 and bring the story exchange to their young student leaders.

In a chance opportunity, N4 also got to visit the Northern Farm Recreation for Conservation initiative ( and witnessed the incredible mountain bike program that aims to teach at risk children from the townships to ride competitively, build and maintain mountain bikes, and successfully run the business that is visited by 1000s each year.  It was true empathy into action and will inspire our own N4 students to create passionate projects that change their communities for the better.

LEAP Schools

“South Africa’s education system is in crisis,” says LEAP, the innovative school striving for “positive transformation of communities through the meaningful education of children from those communities.”

N4 met with the co-head of LEAP’s Global Teaching Institute (GTI) who reported that the story exchange has been used in the training of 60+ teachers in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Teachers were asked to consider either a positive or negative experience as a student. The discussion transitioned into stories about their own students and how they might better support those who have had negative experiences with teachers in the past and how they, as “champion teachers,” might prevent them in the future.

LEAP would like to use the N4 model for educators who teach and lead the 6 LEAP Schools’ Life Orientation Curriculum. Topics in the curriculum include self-esteem and awareness, as well as other issues that would be included in a Health and wellness curriculum.

N4 and LEAP are discussing N4’s possible involvement in the Access Summit, LEAP’s annual summit, which includes educators and school administrators from all over Africa.

5/5/17 – Forging Connections in the Heartland (a BBC report)

5/5/17 – Feeling Empathy “on a Molecular Level”

4/28/17 – Bridging the Middle School Divide

4/21/17 –A Culture of Caring in South Africa

4/14/17 – “A Tool for Culturally Responsive Learning”

4/7/17 – Creating a Narrative for Loss in Limerick

3/28/17 – Cross-cultural Classroom Magic in Mexico and Chicago

3/21/17 – Building Resilience in North Philadelphia

3/14/17 – Empathy in Israel

3/7/17 – Student Leaders SCHout for Diversity

2/26/17 – Creating One Military and Civilian Family at West Point

2/19/17 – Middle School Scientists Embrace the Story Exchange

2/10/17 – An Intergenerational Story Exchange in Ireland, a National Magazine Award in New York

2/3/17 – Connecting at UConn

1/27/17 – Students in Mexico Open Up About Living with Violence

1/20/17 – Narrative 4 Gun Awareness Documentary Nominated for National Magazine Award

1/13/17 – Narrative 4 Limerick Rings in the New Year with Readings

1/6/17 – Young Journalists Exchange Stories with Locals in Costa Rica