Among the various interventions that LMG undertakes to advance women’s leadership, mentoring is a strategy that can enhance the effectiveness and broaden the perspectives of emerging leaders. Studies have shown that mentoring is a powerful way of empowering women to become more effective as leaders.
To scale up this program and determine the feasibility of building a mentoring network, LMG conducted an in-depth survey to gauge interest in and eventually develop guidelines for a mentoring program. The survey was conducted among LeaderNet members to determine important criteria for a women’s mentorship program. A total of 281 participants took the survey, administered in January 2014, and indicated the degree to which they believe each of the possible actions below would contribute to the success of the mentoring program.
Table I: Responses from LeaderNet Survey on Mentoring for Women
A high percentage of participants felt strongly that clearly defined goals, objectives, monitoring, evaluation and expectations of the mentoring program as well as clear expectations from the mentor and mentee were factors most likely to help its success (See chart above). In addition, participants also indicated that strong commitment, effective communication, and positive attitudes from both the mentor and mentee were highly likely to make the mentoring program successful.
Responding to the Demand for a Mentoring Network
The LMG Project is using these findings on mentoring to inform its work with the Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN) based in San Francisco, and the Chronus online mentoring platform in establishing a Women’s Mentoring Network for women health leaders in Kenya. This pilot will serve as a model for other mentoring networks in Africa and Asia.
Lessons learned from the pilot program will be used to inform the creation of a strategic framework for the East Africa Women’s Mentoring Network. The program will focus on women engaged in the health systems of East Africa who have backgrounds in medicine, nursing or nurse midwifery, pharmacy, public health or business allowing them to move into management, leadership or governing roles in the public or private health sectors of East Africa. LMG and GWLN will define strategies for the identification, recruitment, and selection of women to participate in the Kenya-based pilot mentoring program.
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