As a way to engage Center for Excellence (KCE I and II) alumni who are now in university and provide better support for our current primary school students, this fall, we began the process of revamping our mentorship model.
In the past, trained volunteers from universities across Kenya would serve as mentors for our primary and high school students, but now that our own KCE alumnae have sufficiently come of age, those who are interested are receiving training to serve in this role. The first mentorship training workshop took place earlier this month. Our alumnae were trained to give guidance in a variety of personal and professional subjects including effective interpersonal communication, job readiness, leadership skills, and problem solving techniques. This peer-led approach empowers them to be front line experts, leaders, and positive role-models for our younger girls, and being from the same community, they will also be better able to identify with the challenges our younger students are experiencing.
This format further allows mentees the safe space to build their self-esteem, develop their voice, and overcome negative peer pressure with guidance from older girls who have walked in their shoes. Mentees acquire the necessary skills and confidence to make their own healthy life decisions, including remaining in school, delaying marriage, and building lifelong relationships with older generations of KCE alumni.
The response so far from our newly trained mentors has been incredibly positive. Christine (right) joined our primary school, KCE I, in 2010 as a fourth grader. Today, she is studying information technology (IT) at African International University in Nairobi. Christine was one of our alumni who was recently trained to become a mentor to our younger girls. Here’s what she has to say about the experience: “I am so excited about becoming a mentor to the younger girls because I also had a very good mentor whom I loved, and we shared a lot. I’m planning to teach my mentees leadership skills and values that will guide and inspire them. I believe in giving back to the community because if it weren’t for the support I get from Kakenya’s Dream, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am in life and my in my education.”
Elizabeth (left) is a first year student at Kabete National Polytechnic, studying health records and IT. Like her classmate Christine, Elizabeth also trained this month to become a mentor to our younger girls. She says, “The mentorship programs organized by Kakenya’s Dream have really helped me to realize who I am. I have also learnt how to communicate with others effectively. I am happy because I have my own mentor and now I will be mentoring someone else too. I intend to share with my mentees about the importance of honesty and integrity, being trustworthy, and to believe in themselves.”
Purity (right) is a first year student at Eldoret National Polytechnic. She explains, “I feel that it’s time to share what I have learned over the years from the programs I have attended at Kakenya’s Dream. Since I come from the same community, it will be easier for younger girls and the entire community to listen to me and help join in the fight against the harmful cultural practices that hinder girls in our community from achieving their dreams in life. I will also mentor them to become important people in society so that others can look up to them as well.”
Our KCE alumni are delighted for this opportunity to give back to their community in such a meaningful way, and we know their insights and guidance will be invaluable to our younger girls as they make their way in the world. Being a mentor and receiving mentorship is truly an empowering experience for all involved. A special thanks to our partners Women for Change for helping make this re-imagining of our mentorship model possible!