The mutual benefits of mentoring: “We learn by doing”

The mutual benefits of mentoring: “We learn by doing”

A relationship that secured funding for an important project

Roseline Kamdem Magne – a mentor on the Queen's Young Leaders Mentoring Programme – her mentee, Susan Mueni Waita, became good friends through mentoring. Now they are helping each other advance women's rights.  

Susan, the mentee

Susan is a Queen's Young Leader and the Founder of Making A Difference (MAD) Sisters, whose work focuses on the wellbeing of the girl child. 

How often did you have mentorship sessions?

I remember when we were filling the mentoring partnership agreement, we said that we would be in contact at least once every week. But that was not the case because we talk almost on a daily basis.

What was your first mentoring session like?

Our first session was about knowing each other. I had read Roseline’s profile and was eager to meet her. I was so excited to meet a mentor who had similar interests and shared a common passion with me. We became friends from the first day.

Were you able to achieve the goals you set?

Our main goal was to implement a project – that involves mentoring and coaching 60 girls in Kibera on sexual and reproductive health and rights, leadership and financial education – within six months. This was successfully implemented.

Through Roseline’s support and advice, I registered MAD Sisters as a community-based organisation. Roseline informed me about an organisation by the name FRIDA that gives grants to grassroots women-led organisation. She encouraged me to apply for a grant which I did.

MAD Sisters was shortlisted and to my surprise, we qualified for the grant.

Susan Mueni  and some of the beneficiaries of the MAD Sisters Programme

Susan Mueni  and some of the beneficiaries of the MAD Sisters programme

What were the important takeaways from your meetings?

This has been one of my best experiences. I have learnt more than I could ever describe from Roseline. She has made me know that “we learn by doing”.

She has been more than a mentor to me, she is my best friend. Her endless support to help me improve my public speaking, networking skills, resources mobilisation and project management was remarkable.

Roseline, the mentor

Rosaline is passionate about the socio economic empowerment of women, especially the girl child, at grassroots level and the education of children. You can read more about Rosaline on her profile.

Why did you become a mentor

The opportunity to share and gain more experience in the area of development, as well as gain more leadership skills. I also wanted to make new friends and learn more about other cultures and countries.

As a mentor, do you still find yourself seeking mentorship from others?

I still find myself seeking mentorship from others because apart from connecting and learning from other people and cultures, mentoring helps me to refocus.

What were the important takeaways from your meetings?

We became good friends and we continue to communicate after the mentoring programme ended. Maybe we were lucky, but we bonded after the first conversations and developed an amazing friendship.

We work on her projects and I give her advice. With my support, she was able to register her organisation and get her first funding. We were so excited about this and I was very proud of her!

We are both passionate about women’s rights and the education of girls from disadvantaged communities. The shared experiences on these issues and her opinions on my activities gave us both more insights on the problems women and girls face – and how to advance their rights in Africa.

What’s the most important thing to look for in a mentor?

It is important for the mentor and the mentee to share the same area of interests. 

Mentoring demands a good dose of empathy and patience, both from the mentor and the mentee. There are challenges like time differences, connectivity failures, cultural differences that can lead to some few misunderstandings at times.

Sharing the same passions helps to connect each other and keep us all going when there are challenges.

Roseline Kamdem Magne

“We are both passionate about women’s rights and the education of girls from disadvantaged communities. The sharing of experiences on these issues and her opinions on my activities, gives us both more insights on the problems women and girls face and how to advance their rights in Africa.” 

Rosaline Kamdem Magne

 

Susan Mueni Waita

“This has been one of my best experiences. I have learnt more than I could ever describe from Roseline.”

Susan Mueni Waita

Susan Mueni and some beneficiaries of the MAD Sisters programme