New Mentoring Network Supports Women Leaders in East Africa

New Mentoring Network Supports Women Leaders in East Africa

{Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH}Photo credit: Sarah Lindsay/MSH

Cross-posted with permission from the LMG Blog.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Leadership, Management & Governance Project (LMG), led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), is launching the East Africa Women's Mentoring Network. We are calling upon women leaders who have worked in family planning and reproductive health as service providers, midwives, program managers, policy makers, teachers, advocates, and other relevant positions to support the aspirations of younger women. We are seeking mentees interested in learning from seasoned professionals and mentors with experience, wisdom, and enthusiasm.

The East Africa Women’s Mentoring Network is an online platform that will match, support, and guide a one-year relationship between a mentor and a mentee. Mentors and mentees are not limited by geography and may work in different countries.  The online platform allows for a flexible mentoring model while still pursuing set goals and outcomes related to family planning and reproductive health.

"Mentorship" is a method of interactive learning in a relationship between individuals of differing levels of experience and expertise. For women seeking to enter leadership positions, mentors can serve as catalysts to improve skills, gain new opportunities and prepare to better navigate the complexities of both their personal and professional lives. Mentoring encourages the development of leadership competencies, such as communication, advocacy, creating vision and strategy, and resource mobilization, which are often more easily gained through example, guided practice or experience. Additionally, the trust developed between the mentor and mentee allows for guidance and support at any point during a mentee’s career, in comparison to formal leadership training courses which are usually at a fixed time and provide one-time support.  

Throughout LMG’s work in amplifying the voices of women leaders in Africa, we have seen the impact and influence of role models and mentors in promoting leadership. In the LMG publication, "An Open Mind and A Hard Back: Conversations with African Women Leaders," African women leaders identified mentoring as a best strategy to support and move young women into leadership roles.

We need to mentor young women. If we don’t mentor, we lose out on the leadership later.

~ Saudatu Sani, a Member of Parliament in Nigeria

The East Africa Women's Mentoring Network taps into a sorely underutilized resource: the leadership potential of women. The online mentoring network supports networking opportunities for women who either aspire to leadership positions or are currently in leadership positions by facilitating the transfer of critical information and skills. For more information, please visit the East Africa Women's Mentoring Network website.

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