The aim of mentoring is to open young people’s minds to understand themselves, the society and best practices to ensure nobody manipulates or takes advantage of them. Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person by transmitting knowledge, social capital, and the psychosocial support relevant for day to day interactions in the society and environment they work or live in. Mentors indentify teachable moments in the mentee and expand their potentialities to fully apply themselves and perform better. They share their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives, school work, become better social beings and in careers.
Historically, our African traditional family set up where the young children sat with their grandparents and received advice as they enjoyed the African fairytales and stories told by the aged; was a wonderful way of mentoring. Each story had a moral lesson and in such environment, children grew into morally upright individuals who had been mentored in all spheres of life. The older women, aunties and sisters taught younger girls about their bodies and mentored them on how to be women of virtue while boys were mentored to be responsible men.
How do we mentor?
Our focus is to develop a whole person using techniques that help the young people feel comfortable and relaxed for easy self understanding and improvement. These techniques may include:
Accompanying: We stand together and learn together. We get involved in their thinking to easily influence a change in the way they respond to issues in the society.
Sowing: We plant in young people the mental and emotional seeds which might not make sense to them now but will when a situation that require such response comes future in life.
Catalyzing: Our focus is to equip the young person with knowledge about the changes that will come before they occur; to make them mentally and emotionally ready to ensure they make right decisions that do not negatively affect their lives, like teaching girls about menstruation, young people about drugs, what to expect in a boarding high school among many more, will open the young people’s mind on what to expect hence nothing will be confusing.
Showing: This is making something understandable, or using our own example to demonstrate how appropriate and inappropriate reactions could be. e.g. How to express themselves.
Harvesting: We want to know what they have learnt from their experience and use them as learning opportunities, e.g. what they have learnt from their age mates using drugs.
Role Model: Here we aim to show the young people how something is done. For instance how to work hard, how to manage time, how to be courteous and respectful, among others.
Questions: This is aimed at making the young person aware of their actions or ways by asking them open headed questions after which we help them adjust their thinking which will change their responses in future.
Flash back/reflection: We help youngsters revisit past experiences which we analyze together by asking; what went well and why? What was wrong and why? What went well but fell short of their expectations and why? Then we help them with mental and emotional tools to help them recognize other better options and act more knowledgeably and differently next time.
Benefits of mentoring
Career choice: It will guide the young on career choices they make to ensure they maximize on their potential.
High potential mentoring: It will aim at identifying, defining and developing talent to increase young people’s confidence to take on higher-responsibility tasks and prepare for leadership roles presently and in future.
Diversity mentoring: The person with low self esteem or regard is given emotional benefits to strengthen their ability to perform in school and become better socially
Knowledge increase: The younger person is given an opportunity to increase his/her knowledge by learning from the past, present and equipping them with knowledge to handle future situations.
Knowledge transfer mentoring: The young person will be imparted with set of skills and emotional tools to boost their coping abilities.
Boost Education: Aimed at providing supportive and advisory role for the student to build confidence, time management, essence of hard working, personal discipline at home and school, to boost performance and personal wellbeing.
Resiliency: The focus is to help the young people address the issues that cause students to underachieve in education while preparing them to deal with future difficult circumstances that can affect their lives and alter their success by fostering of resiliency. The tools given help them to adapt to these situations and respond to them in a way that avoids negative outcome and enables them to emerge stronger and to learn from the experience.
Importance of Religion: The young people are mentored to realize the existence of God, the importance of religion in life and safe religious practices.
Respect: Mentoring will make the young more respectful to themselves, parents, leaders and make them more patriotic citizens.
In the mentoring process we aim to indentify and reinforce use of protective factors which are factors that modify or transform responses to adverse events so that the youth avoid negative outcomes and encourage the development of resiliency e.g. development of strong believe in self, self identity, respect, courtesy etc. While identifying and mentoring the young people to avoid risk factors which are circumstances that perpetuate poor outcomes and prevent acquiring resilience as a tool e.g. bad company, drugs and alcohol, peer influence, personal pain, academic failure among others.