According to Malawi former 1st Female President Joyce Banda, a campaigner for women and girls’ rights, “many professional women get discouraged from entering politics because of the treatment they get when they are trying to get into positions of power – the name-calling, the scandalisation and the smear campaigns. Women need to be in leadership to assist other women in getting their voice back and help in numerous challenges that they face. To be successful, girls need opportunities for education and role models.
In the light of this, the Women Fund with the support of the Department for International Development (DFID) Voices for Change, launched a mentorship programme tagged “Grooming Madame President” for young women in institutions of higher learning The objective of the mentorship programme is to build a critical mass of of young women opinion leaders, who will in no distance future be adequately equipped to take on decision making positions across and beyond Nigeria
The skill-focused mentorship program scheduled for 6-months primarily aims at fostering self-respect, confidence, leadership and organizing skills, public speaking as well as creativity and critical thinking. It is envisaged that these skill sets will guide the mentees to prominence on their respective career paths through sharing life experiences and discussing options in careers in the quest for leadership. These they will do with the trusted guidance of professional men and women leaders whose life experiences and achievements are vast for learning.
With the first phase of the Mentorship rounding-off, there have been some remarkable initiatives with the mentees taking on the role of mentors themselves in small groups within their circular influences. An initiative that stands out is the young women’s launch of a pet project called Tasani (Let Her Know). This project is basically targeted at educating women in some selected areas within the FCT on financial management and accessibility; a factor key to effective participation of women in decision making.
As Sydney Smith puts it, “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little” At the Women Fund, we uphold mentorship as the key to unlocking and sustaining our desired development.
Mentor someone today!