Many of you enjoy and thrive on helping other people as part of your everyday work and everyday lives. But have you thought about taking that beyond your own community and using your professional and personal skills to help a community in a developing country? LG Professionals Australia’s International Mentor Program is now recruiting enthusiastic, committed mentors who would like to help young people (aged 22-35) in Cambodia and Nepal learn about project management, governance and leadership, and work on their own personal development.
During the course of the program (July-November 2016) mentors help their mentees – via email and skype – to create, deliver and evaluate a community or workplace development project. Thanks to the generous support of program sponsors Insync, mentees can apply for and receive seed funding that can stimulate their project. They report against this grant and learn helpful budget management skills during the program.
Mentors pay a registration fee of A$250 to cover local, in-country administration costs and training expenses. This is typically paid for by the mentors’ councils. The course is free for mentees.
To get you thinking, read the article below from local government professional, Ann Hawley, about her experience as a mentor.
To register as a mentor, visit http://internationalmentorprogram.com
Hurry! Registrations close 17 June 2016. Do it now!
PA to the CEO, City of Boroondara, Victoria
Mentor 2013, 2014, 2015
Participating as a mentor in the International Mentor Program for the last three years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my working life. I have learnt about a completely different culture, developed new relationships, been of real help to people in developing countries, and most surprisingly, found it contributed towards my own professional development. I have remained in contact with all my mentees (and ‘adopted’ a fourth). Highlights have continued beyond the program. My first mentee is now expecting her first child, and another visited Australia and we spent a day together.
Sithet, was my 2015 mentee. His community project was to improve the book-keeping capability of the Village Development Association (VDA). There were plenty of challenges, including his own tendency to set himself too many goals with unrealistic timelines. During the process, Sithet learned a lot about project planning and how to phase the activities. And by the end, he had about 80% of the village involved and on-board with improved, regular record keeping. He also thought that after the project, 50% of the village were confident enough with VDA to put their savings with them.
It wasn’t all plain sailing. Personal challenges took Sithet away from the project for a time, but we worked through those and he got back on track to achieve the best result he was able to. I guided him to achieve a more productive outcome by reducing the tasks he set himself and to build confidence in his ability. As Sithet didn’t really appreciate his full potential and had low self-esteem, we worked on skills and confidence building. He has also learnt to motivate himself and others.
During the program, Sithet told me he was looking for a change in employment, so we spent time on interview skills and techniques, and worked to develop his communications skills. The end result was after having been unsuccessful in interviews prior to the mentor program, Sithet gained employment in a new, exciting and different field!
I have learnt the importance of encouraging and supporting people to achieve their goals. This is especially important in a developing country, where opportunities can be hard to come by. It is incredibly satisfying when my mentees realise their dreams, and to think I played a part in that.
Working with my mentees I have learnt the meaning of compassion and encouragement. It gave me so much satisfaction in helping them develop personally and in their careers. It fits really well with my own work, as I do similar things in my workplace, encouraging young people as much as I can. It has made me appreciate – so much more – what we have and what shouldn’t be taken for granted. The program is definitely a two-way learning program and I look forward to continuing into 2016 with a new and exciting challenge.
Sithet with Kimnang, his local mentor, who helped him during the program. Kimnang was one of Ann's mentees in an earlier program. They are pictured during the Mentees' Orientation Workshop at the start of the program.
Sithet (third from the left) working in the community, working with the Village Development Committee.
“My mentor is good at using guiding questions, and advice that leads me to have critical thinking on the proposed topics discussion across the program. He shared with me about his practical experiences related to leadership, motivation, governance, and accountability, so I am getting an overall understanding of the topics broadly…. He guided me to gain confidence in myself.” Silong, Siem Reap 2015 (Mentee).
“It is the best program I have ever come across, because it helps grow the ideas that I never think of. Ideas are more important than money because they make people go in the right direction!” Bhuwan, Kathmandu 2012 (Mentee).
“The program reminded me that often the challenges we face in life are universal and regardless of culture we are all striving to do the best we can, with the cards we're dealt.” Mentor 2012 program.
“The highlight for me as a mentor was seeing how my mentee developed both professionally and personally with her confidence. Through the program she developed her skills and made the most of every opportunity.” Mentor, 2014
“It was satisfying to see the development of my mentee over our time together and I also had to challenge my thinking as a result of the questions posed. It was a great experience and one that I would recommend to anyone thinking about getting involved.” Mentor 2015 program