Mentor of the Week: Everton Lukorito

Everton is a banker with over 10 years’ experience. He has been a mentor at ELF for 15 months in the entrepreneurship space.

His mentorship experience has been a great one as he has always found joy working and sharing insights with the younger generation who he believes have much potential if well coached. “The journey has been insightful and mind blowing. The sheer fact that someone looks up to you and tasks you to be the best so that you can create the best out of him/her is fulfilling.”

“Our current generation is on a different platform and if we sit and watch, we will have a case to answer to the ancestors. You know that proverbial question ‘When did the rains start beating you?’ I better play my role by mentoring and not wait for the moment to answer the questions.”

His greatest moments have always been when creating ice-breaking moments with his mentees as he gets to create connections with mentees and understand on their needs and goals.

Everton believes good mentorship is about getting your mentee to fulfill their potential and letting them see what they hold in them. “It is mining the Gold out of the mentee who thought they have Coal. It entails hand holding and opening the mind to a new sphere step by step.”

His advice to new mentors, “We must realize that behind the scene we have young people who wish to walk your path, and joining the mentorship journey will not only create a better people but a people who will make mentorship take a different perspective in the world.”

His favourite quote ‘All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts’ by William Shakespeare.

Dr. Daphne: It is gratifying to see young people accomplish their goals.

Dr Daphne Kagume is a Mental Health Therapist, Advocate and Consultant with a strong social justice and multicultural background as well as an unwavering passion for helping individuals and communities overcome adversity and thrive. Her work has centered around gender, social justice, and multicultural issues with a major focus on Trauma-Informed Practice. She has special interest in how the intersection of Gender-based Violence, oppression and Trauma impacts individual and community well-being and factors that contribute to individual and community resilience. She is vastly experience as she has worked in various settings including NGOs, Higher Education, private practice and has held various roles including Programme Manager, Therapist, Community Advocate, Clinical Supervisor, and Advisor on Trauma-Informed Practice and Adjunct Faculty.

Dr. Daphne is intentional in using her skills and professional experience to bring about positive change around mental health and well-being in Kenya. She envisions a country where every individual will have equitable access to quality and affordable mental health service.

She has been a mentor at ELF for one year in the space of social services and academia. Her experience has been wonderful as she gets to experience growth in the young women that she mentors. “It is gratifying to witness them accomplishing the goals they have set, becoming more and more confident and learning to chart their own path,” she adds.

Her biggest challenge in mentorship, however, has been on her availability and the availability of her mentees to meet physically due to distance and other constraints.

According to her, good mentorship starts with having a good fit between the mentor and the person being mentored. “It is important for both to take the initiative and for the mentee to be clear about what they want to accomplish through the mentorship relationship. Clear and open communication is also important. Communication on goals, successes, challenges and barriers.”

Her advice to professional who are getting into mentorship or may be interested, “This is a very rewarding journey and I would encourage people to do it to help grow young leaders for tomorrow. Young people can look at problems with fresh eyes and bring innovative solutions. Mentorship requires consistent effort from both parties, so mentors need to be ready to put in the time and effort to see results.”

“I have been very blessed to have met wonderful professionals who have mentored me and guided me in my career journey. This is my way of paying it forward.”

Her favourite quote: ‘Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides; Just like hopes springing high, Still I will rise’ Maya Angelou

 

Deogracious Maero: Mentoring is an opportune time to learn more about yourself

Maero M.O. Deogracious is a Medical Doctor currently pursuing Master of Medicine Program in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi University. Throughout his carrier as a medical doctor, he has been actively involved with women and girls’ issues. He was involved in the push and initiation of a program that aimed to reduce and offer services to victims of gender-based violence. The program with support of a non-governmental organization involved health professionals at the facility level and community point men and women at the community level. He has also started a cervical cancer screening, treatment and referral centre, whose main objective is early diagnosis of  pre-cancerous stage disease and early intervention to prevent full-blown development of the pre-cancerous state to cancer. He has also initiated a recreation and rehabilitation centre for the youth.

As a medical resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology, he has continued his involvement and passion in women and girls’ issues by volunteering counselling services in the gender-based violence program across the city. He is also seeking to influence policy on abortion by undertaking a research that intends to evaluate the illegal abortion complication, severity, and associated factors. This interest has been greatly influenced by the experiences of the harm he has seen illegal abortions have on girls and the community at large.

Currently, he is the chairman for Doctors Union, Nairobi City County Chapter, where he spends his time fighting for doctors’ rights and advocating for better health services to the Nairobi residents.

Deogracious believes that good mentorship is putting one-self in the same capacity as the mentees at that point in life; reflecting and asking yourself questions that relate to the situation. ‘What would I want to be told at this point in life? What supporting structures would I want and more importantly what did I not need then.’

“It is a vivid reflection of your past to the future. Your ups and downs, strengths and weakness, victories, and failures. It is also an opportune time to learn more about yourself from yourself and from your mentees. Mentorship involves also looking into the present. It is one of those things that if your heart is in it, go for it,” he adds.

His greatest moments in mentorship have are when his mentees keep coming back to him for more support and knowledge. “Close contact and keeping in touch warms my heart. It means you are having an impact. My worst is when we lose touch with my mentee.”

“My drive for mentorship is in-borne. It is that small flame that never stops burning. The spirit in me that always wants to contribute towards change.  I aspire to be an advocate for gender, women and girls’ issues which include reproductive health and rights, gender equality, early child marriages and teen pregnancies, access to education and employment, intimate partner violence and access to water and sanitation. In the long-term, I want to be a witness of the steps being made towards achieving progress in women and girl’s health and health unrelated issues.”

His favorite quote, ‘Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle. And so, we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent – Martin Luther King, Jr.’

Ruth Kimeu: Be a River not a Reservoir

Ruth Kimeu is a trained teacher, who taught for 9 years before becoming a Chartered Insurer where she has been for the last 9 years. She is a mentor in the corporate leadership and life success field. 

For Ruth, mentorship is about adding value to others and helping mentees discover and re-discover their rooted greatness. It also involves improving mentees discover their potentials and passions by asking them questions that invoke and propel them to act. “Touching young people’s hearts, impacting the world and making the world a better place for generations drives me as in my mentorship journey.”

“My mentorship journey has been an uphill task. It has given me great learning experiences, opened a door to a life of significance with fulfillment. I also learnt, if I have to add value to my mentees, I have to constantly grow myself,” Ruth.

“I saw a mentee’s mental attitude change; We had a challenge to read/listen to audio of a certain book in 7 days, by day two, the mentee was more than halfway! I was beaten to the game,” Ruth reminisces as she explains one of her great moments in mentorship.

In her 3 years of mentorship at ELF, Ruth also been able to understand the different personality temperaments view of life and appreciated each one of them as none is superior to the other. She has also discovered and appreciated the use of social media to connect with young people.

Her mentorship journey has not been an easy one, she has had to endure a few challenges along the way. Being a full-time employee, she has had time constrains along the way as at times she has to travel around meeting mentees who are within proximity. “Sometimes I am not able to travel to meet personally (face to face) mentees who are residing miles from Nairobi,” she adds.

Another major challenge that she has faced along the way is having to hold the hands of her mentees even when she is facing difficult/low moments in her life. Managing her personal crisis moments and staying afloat has not been easy, but she has managed to hold on.

Her advice to professionals interested in mentorship, “First time mentoring is scary, but action kills the fear. Speak with other mentors to support and help build your confidence. Each one of us has some valuable experiences to share with others. Someone gave us a helping hand in life to be where we are now. Mentorship is highest form of giving since you do not expect it back. Giving is more fulfilling than getting. Be a river not a reservoir. Give, and give and give more and leave seeds of greatness in this world.”

Her favourite quote; ‘You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want’

Chris Ouma: The Sky is full of stars and there’s room for them.

Christopher Ouma (prefers Chris Ouma), is an expert in research and development in health and education sector. Currently, he works with the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, as city-based Research Consultant. He also doubles as an Associate Partner and part-time Researcher at Public Health Innovations (PHI). Prior to joining the University of London, Mr. Ouma served as the Managing Consultant at PHI and Projects Development Specialist with Camerafrica Consultants. His previous works spans across sub-Sahara Africa including working with top and leading international NGOs, research and academic institutions, and healthcare regulatory agencies. He has also led a Kenyan team for a multi-country initiative to address deficiencies in the Reproductive Health policies and laws in the East African Community region.

Besides, Chris has co-authored and published several articles and research papers/reports, and is a regular speaker at national and regional conferences and in the media (on matters HIV/AIDS, SRHR, Youth Leadership and Development, Innovation and Future Thinking).

He mentors in the policy, research & development, entrepreneurship & innovation, and projects development.

Chris describes mentorship as a two-way relationship which does not only require a good mentor but a good mentee as well. “The program must be deliberate, right from the beginning, in helping the mentee find their way/true north star from the very beginning, and be able to stay connected to it as he/she (mentee/student) evolve and navigate life and career.

“The biggest difference between people having a successful mentor relationship boils down to initiative, by mentees – mentees, just like mentors, have to take responsibility for cultivating the experience of mentorship too.”

Chris describes his mentorship experience as a journey of discoveries, unlocking and awakening his deepest self and that of his mentees. “Times spent together with my mentees sharing with them stories about my failures are my best. The shock and surprises on their faces get me humbled and amused. When mentees stick with you even in your most dire moments and continue believing in you – I got not excuse but to emerge stronger and continue inspiring and giving them hope. This makes me feel real and authentic.”

Losing a mentee during the mentorship journey is one of the greatest challenges for Chris. In his case, most mentees struggle with issues of identity and take time to identify what they are relay good at which in turn leads to them bailing out of mentorship.

His advice to those interested in mentorship, “Mentorship is the best relief from stress for any professional out there. If you are thinking of add more things into your life outside work, mentorship should top on your priority list. It keeps you refreshed, recreated and increases your wisdom.”

“Being mentor makes you an understanding human being. It keeps your mind young and your skills fresh. Successful people who don’t mentor others will over time lose touch with their own excellence. Mentoring someone connects you back to the original you who became so excellent.”

His motivation to mentor young leaders is driven by simplicity & inspiration, interest in young people and commitment towards creating brands in the young people that he mentors.

Favourite quote, “The sky is full of stars and there’s room for them all.”

 

You too can be a mentor. Sign up and be a mentor with us today: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScDv5a8RxsLiCbQ9YnVYxgub_qwKS9r-2XRARiUS9UKaZ_snw/viewform

Stella Agara: If it is good for Africa, She loves doing it and she will do it.

Stella Agara is a Governance and Youth Development Specialist with 12 years’ experience working on a broad spectrum of Governance issues and vast experience on the execution of Youth Led Development programs across East and Southern Africa. She has vast experience in promotion of good governance and accountability, youth led development, tax justice with a focus on impact on youth and women, anti-corruption and promotion of integrity, leadership development, policy analysis and legislation, research and evidence based advocacy, training and facilitation, strategic planning, project management, Monitoring, evaluation, reporting & learning and data quality management. She has a background in Law and a PGD in International Relations and Diplomacy.

The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple

She is the 15th Laureate of the Bremen Solidarity prize, an award she won for her work in tax justice and promotion of Youth Led Development where she campaigns for youth to demand accountability from Governments on the illicit financial flow from the continent. She was also awarded the AU Youth Anti-Corruption Ambassador for East Africa. She is a Nelson Mandela fellow from the Woman in Public Policy program.

Stella previously worked with Action Aid Denmark as a Youth Advisor seconded to Action Aid Malawi. She is a former Deputy Executive Director of the Africa Youth Trust. She also served the Africa Youth Parliament as an internal Consultant on Youth Leadership for Governance Processes in Africa.

She has spent most of her adult life working on promoting youth leadership for governance processes in Africa and particularly leadership with legacy. Her mantra is ‘If it is good for Africa, She loves doing it and she will do it.’

She offers mentorship on design of interventions to promote the participation of the most vulnerable in promotion of governance and accountability. She also mentors in the governance space and tailor makes scenarios that enable her mentees figure out what needs to be done to enable the vulnerable groups they work for to regain power, organize and begin influencing governance from a place of power.

Stella describes mentorship as a two way journey that requires great effort from the mentee and not the reverse. “Mentorship should not be hard work, toil and strife for the mentor, it should be the effort of a mentee who has visualized grace they would like to tap into in a potential mentor; effort to draw, effort to sap into the grace and co-create greatness as a result of the shared experience. At the start of this mentorship you need me more than I need you; work to make sure in the end the relationship is symbiotic, that as a mentor I tap into your grace as you tap into mine. If you have no calling you are committed to then we have no business starting this mentorship journey.”

Her greatest moments in mentorship are usually when her mentees flourish, thrive and take charge of the sectors that they are being mentored on. This, givers her satisfaction when her mentees flourish, thrive and take charge in the sector for which they got mentorship on.

Mentorship is not always rosy, Stella reckons.  “I was assigned a mentee who I have never met one on one or had a session with ever since we were first introduced on email. I cannot tell whether it is the distance, the alignment of priorities or otherwise. I count this as a wasted opportunity.”

“I am a product of mentorship; one of my most memorable mentors Ms. Joyce Umbima practically planted every feather on my wings. If I had not pushed my interaction with her and requested for mentorship, the people I mentor today would not be learning the generous lessons I share today. My mentees would have missed out on the quality and efficiency of advocacy that Ms. Umbima represented and imparted upon me, that I continue to share today. My reference to the example of the lost mentorship opportunity as a ‘Wasted Opportunity’ is an understatement, because I know that all great men and women in this world are ‘living vessels’ that opened up to receive grace to be great and most importantly, gave their time to carry the mentors greatness on their shoulders.”

Her advice to professionals who want to join the mentorship journey, “Remember God aligned people, resources and opportunities to get you to where you are today; your only job is to ensure you grow that seed and multiply the army that shall be serving God and promoting a divine agenda in their leadership in your sector. Build an army that will carry the mantle long after you are gone. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Her motivation to mentor young leaders is born from the revelation that we all have a very specific, divine assignment here on earth and limited time.

Her favorite quote, “The unfolding of your words gives light, it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalms 119:130)

Mentor of the week: Nafula Wafula

A fierce advocate for gender equality and human rights who is also passionate about Pan-Africanism, youth empowerment and social justice.  A lawyer by training who also adds up as a gender, human rights, advocacy, youth engagement consultant.

Currently, she is the programs director at Brydges Centre, an organization that provides child rescue and protection services, education and economic empowerment to at-risk youth and out-of-school girls.  Nafula currently leads the centre’s skills development program which has successfully trained 227 young people in vocational skills, technology, entrepreneurship, and employability skills. Besides this, serves as on the board of International Youth Foundation (IYF) and is a board member of Siasa Place, a youth serving organization focused on meaningful youth engagement and participation in political leadership, and a board member board of Kenya’s National Employment Authority which provides for a comprehensive institutional framework for: employment management; enhancement of employment promotion interventions.

At ELF, her mentorship areas are around gender, advocacy, organisational strengthening, effective campaigning. Besides mentorship, she is a facilitator on gender and leadership and a strong advocate of young girls getting space on the table of leadership.

“Tough at times due to time constraints. Engaging and exchanging experiences and lessons has been incredibly inspiring though, and being a better mentor is truly a journey whose path I am still on,” Nafula on her mentorship journey so far.

Nafula’s advice to interested in taking up mentorship, “Have an open mind and a willing heart. Mentorship is a two-way journey, the mentor, and the mentee both learn from each other in many ways. Be committed, be authentic and never be afraid to ask questions and never be afraid to admit when you do not know. It is the beginning of the learning process.”