Ayuk Anne-Chantal Besong: Overcoming connectivity problems

Ayuk Anne-Chantal Besong: Overcoming connectivity problems

“Time difference and connectivity failures help one learn to be patient.”

Ayuk Anne-Chantal Besong is a radio and television journalist, digital communicator, climate change reporter, youth motivator and project manager from Cameroon. She’s also both a personal and advisory mentor in the Queen’s Young Leaders programme.

Why did you want to mentor Queen’s Young Leaders?  

Because I believe the little experience I have had over the years can be helpful to the Queen’s Young Leaders, to help them see how things are done elsewhere in the world.

How has your mentoring experience been so far?

Super! At least the few times when internet problems and difficulties in time zones didn’t stop me getting through!

I only wish the difference in time zones did not create so many difficulties in setting up meetings, but it has been good talking to the Queen’s Young Leaders. I was happy I could share with them, and also learn from them at the same time.

How have you been helping your mentees achieve their goals?

"...to help them fine-tune their ideas by asking questions."

Well, so far I have been presenting them with experiences I have had on similar issues they are working on, so they can see how I succeeded and craft out a working method of their own.

Sometimes my help has just been to listen and try to help them fine-tune their ideas by asking questions. I have not been able to help as much as I would have, because of connectivity problems. But I hope before this year's programme ends I will be able to do more.

However, apart from the Queen’s Young Leaders mentoring programme, I also keep an eye on the Queen’s Young Leaders from Cameroon – helping push forward their social media messages by sharing their content on other platforms I manage; encouraging them face to face or via phone calls when they get in touch, or sometimes just from a distance.

What you have learned or gained from the experience?

"I have also learnt other new ways of working around projects..."

I have first and foremost learnt to be patient. Time difference and connectivity failures help one learn to be patient.

I have also learnt new ways of working around projects by bringing in ideas that some of the Queen’s Young Leaders I worked with shared, and which I found out I could add to how I communicate about projects.

I also learnt about other Commonwealth countries. I had to do a study of each country the Queen’s Young Leader I mentored came from before our mentor sessions, so as to be able to also make small talk and make them feel at ease at the beginning of each session.

Do you have any tips about dealing with connectivity issues?

Whoa! This is a tricky one!

What I did was to keep trying to get to my mentees each time I had a little leeway with internet connection. I know for some I may have been a bit pushy. I am sorry if I was, but it’s helped me shake them about to know that a missed appointment did not mean I was letting go!

Another thing I did was use various communication media. We used Skype and when internet connectivity would not permit, I got some of my mentees to send questions via Whatsapp. And I would reply on the same medium, or leave a response on Skype as a video message.

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