Akina Mama wa Afrika is buoyed by the truth that feminist mentorship is an effective way to cultivate and nurture young women leaders that will transform society. This is why, with support from UN Women under the Young Women in Leadership Mentoring Programme, AMwA convened a Mentorship Retreat under the theme “Celebrate, Connect and Catalyze.” The retreat was intended for mentors and mentees to reflect on their mentorship journey, identify areas of improvement to strengthen the mentorship programme and create a space for them to bond and renew their energies and vitality. The retreat held on 12th March targeted 15 mentors and 25 mentees under the leadership programme.
The Opening Remarks were delivered by our Executive Director, Eunice Musiime who welcomed Dr. Eunice Adubango, the inspirational speaker of the day. She noted that the mentorship retreat was an opportunity for Dr. Eunice to share her experience in mentorship and advice on how Akina Mama wa Afrika mentors and mentees can improve on their mentorship. Ms. Musiime, went ahead to introduce AMwA’s new Feminist and Transformational Leadership Manager and Associate Chipo Bangira and Hazel Birungi respectively, to the mentors and mentees who delved right into the introductory exercise where everyone revealed their feelings at that time. Feelings of happiness, positivity, relaxation, peace, love, acceptance, warmth, excitement and togetherness were expressed.
In her address, Dr. Eunice Adubango spoke of her love for mentorship and coaching. She mentors many young people who in turn mentor others. She said of her passion, “It is my plea to have more people mentored because mentorship shapes people.” She advised both mentors and mentees to be intentional with their relationship. According to her, when one is getting mentored, they ought to be vulnerable to their mentor and always be on the look out to find mentors to support them differently. Dr. Adubango commented on many mentorship aspects for example; how mentors should be examples to their mentees both personally and professionally, burn-out and how it is handled and affirmation as a necessity on both sides of the relationship.
…It is my plea to have more people mentored because mentorship shapes people…
She also emphasized the importance of reading, explaining that it makes one resourceful and informed. She tasked them to share books and create time management appraisals and balance their books and schedules. Rita Asimire, a mentee appreciated Dr. Adubango’s advice noting that when mentees and mentors open up, it becomes much easier to learn how to handle each other. “My mentor has always reached out, this is because we started our relationship from a personal connection.”
Eunice Musiime then led the attendees into a reflection session on their mentorship journey where they discussed their accomplishments and challenges and the solutions necessary to optimize the mentorship experience. She urged the participants to reconsider their mentorship relationship if it was not working and recommended that mentors be responsive enough to relocate the mentees if necessary. She reminded both the mentors and mentees to read the mentorship guide that consisted of how mentorship is carried out, the clear exit plan and their roles. She further stressed the need for technology in mentorship mentioning that her very own mentor Hope Chigudu, an international personal and organizational development consultant who lives in Zimbabwe, communicates with her everyday via phone calls and messages.
…My mentor has always reached out, this is because we started our relationship from a personal connection…
In her concluding remarks, Eunice Musiime, introduced Maurine Nalume, a representative from UN Women Uganda and noted that mentorship is a journey that needs to be actively sought, nurtured and earned overtime. Participants afterward attended personal development sessions on self-care and well-being and were involved in demonstrations of making local beauty products. They celebrated International Women’s Day with fun activities like massages, manicures, pedicures and make up. The retreat created a space for learning, inspiration and renewal and unpacked a raft of reflections, observations and recommendations that will be useful in the growth of tomorrow’s feminist leaders.