Senior officials from the government, private and non-government sectors recently attended a mentors’ workshop sponsored by the Canadian Corporation for the joint RIAM /SNV Rwanda/Rwanda Association of University Women (RAUW) Career Management and Development Training Programme.
The objective of the workshop was aimed at increasing the participants’ understanding of mentoring, to canvas the benefits to mentors and share experiences of mentoring and to practice mentoring skills.
“Rwanda has excellent policies in place for women to take on senior management positions and this mentor programme will encourage middle managers to set career goals and support them to achieve them,” said one of the mentors, Soline Nyirahabimana, the Minister in the Office of the President.
The mentors include former ambassadors, parliamentarians, heads of business and government agencies, senior public servants and leaders of NGOs.
They will be matched with other mentors in similar professions who have also undergone similar training and experience. Narcisse Musabeyezu, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, shared with the group his own experiences of mentoring, telling them that he was matched with a colleague in a similar position in the United Kingdom.
“There are tremendous benefits in this programme”, he said. Key mentoring skills include active listening, giving guidance and encouragement, supporting people to manage relationships, providing constructive criticism and giving practical insights and setting goals and priorities.
Dr Shirley Randell, Senior Adviser in Education, SNV Rwanda and Secretary General of RAUW prepared the mentors’ training and materials based on a similar Australian program.
“Mentoring is a process based on mutual trust and respect in which a more experienced persons helps the less experienced to develop his or her goals and skills” Dr Randell said. “It is about helping another person learn, rather than teaching them”.