By mentoring younger people, we understand their generation and become better leaders
The KCE mentorship program started in 2013 with just 25 girls each connected to a university/college female student and has now grown to connect at least 100 girls from Kakenya’s Centre for Excellence based in Enoosaen to university/college students throughout institutions in Kenya. Modelled almost like the Global Give Back Circle mentorship program, the KCE program incorporates a series of workshops held with the girls thrice every year in April, August and December. All through the year, we strive to keep mentors engaged in the program by sharing regular updates of events or opportunities at the centre. To develop or update training content that best suit the needs of the girls at the centre, the KCE mentorship program closely follows new developments in the education sector in Kenya.
Sometime in April while watching one of my favourite early morning TV shows ‘AM Live’ a high school teacher called into the show to comment about the role of women in our societies. In his call, he referenced a certain literature set book that he teaches his high school students which drew my attention. Naturally, it would not cross my mind to know which literature books students are currently studying in our schools as I completed my high school education over 7 years ago. But with a KCE mentee who is currently in high school, it has become important for me to know some of the books they are examined on. Where possible I want to read a few of these books as an effort to understand what my mentee needs to prepare for. I am also able to understand the kind of academic guidance she may need. These are some of the cool things that mentorship makes us do! We get to read books that we may otherwise never bother to read – we want to be able connect with the young girls who look up us by reading the books they must read.
The joy of meeting mentees has been transforming to mentors. At times, we fail to connect with the needs of the girls we mentor until when we do actually meet them in person. This explains why every school break, the KCE mentorship program offers an opportunity to at least 3 mentors to visit the centre in Enoosaen and take the girls through life skills workshops.
In April 2016, we had 5 mentors visiting the centre and they were excited to meet the girls. Below are some of the experiences two mentors shared:
“Meeting Angeline for the second time was amazing. I realised then that I need to make more effort to meet her more often and to write more often as she has a lot of questions regarding careers, subjects and passing exams. It is definitely humbling for me to have a young girl look up to me for guidance. As much she learns from me, I learn from her on the challenges and opportunities facing today’s teenager. I do feel like I am doing my little thing.”
~ Sarah Muthoni, KCE mentor 2013 class
“Having visited the centre, I am not the same person I was. I was enlightened by the experience I had during my workshop days at the centre and my heart will always be held forever by Kakenya’s girls.
~ Mary Onyango, KCE Mentor 2016 class
Recently, I received a letter from my mentee. She imagined that she was in 2018 and had completed her high school studies, excelled and was waiting to enroll for aviation studies. Ever since I got connected to Sakileney, she has always told me that she would like to become a pilot. Having pursued Meteorology for my undergraduate studies, it was easy for me to exchange with an aspiring pilot because I happen to have studied aeronautical Meteorology as part of my course work and in my third year of University interned at an airport in Nairobi. But I have always felt that this is not adequate mentorship for her. Fortunately, one of my friends is currently pursuing piloting and reading Sakileney’s letter had me thinking of ways to engage her with a pilot during her long school break. Besides mentorship, interacting with the people in a career we aspire to pursue helps us to understand what we truly desire to pursue and cling onto these dreams.
By Wilkista Akinyi, Program Coordinator – The KCE Mentorship Program