Updated: Sep 22, 2021
On Wednesday 16th June, 2021, we hosted 9 women leaders from Ngarariga, Limuru at our offices in Lavington Nairobi. The 9 are representatives of the over 80 women currently undergoing training in business skills, life skills and catering under our Business Women Support Program (BWSP). The women were selected based on their leadership qualities to undergo mentorship training and in turn, they will mentor the rest of the group in the village. This mentorship initiative aims to ensure continuity of economic development and learning by the women in Ngarariga, long after the classroom sessions come to an end.
The women and Foundation staff during the visit
Mercedes during her presentation
The visit was kicked off by our Managing Director Mercedes Otaduy who officially welcomed the women to Kianda Foundation. She also led an extensive session where the women and staff members of Kianda had an opportunity to tell the rest of the group more about themselves, their families and their work.
Next, our Director of Outreach Programs Susan Kinyua presented on the history of Kianda Foundation and on our current projects. During this session, one of the women Mrs. Mary Kabui who is a retired secretary, commented that in her youth, she had a strong desire to study at Kianda Secretarial College, but did not get the chance to. She was however pleased to learn that the same room where the session was held was one of the classrooms of the secretarial college. The women were quite curious about the Foundation’s hospitality colleges, especially Kimlea Girls Technical College as it is Limuru area. They were eager to have their own daughters and friends get to know more about the hospitality institutions so that they could get a chance to benefit from their subsidized fees.
The mentors then had an introductory session on mentorship led by our Projects Officer Jacqueline Wambua. The session was lively and interactive, covering the basics of mentorship, as well as the Empath’s Economic Mobility Pathways, which the mentorship training is modelled after. The Empath model has been slightly modified to make the content relevant to the women’s context. It covers Family Stability, Well-being, Financial Management and Education and Training.
Jackie during the mentorship session
Mrs Njoroge speaking on sympathy
During the session, an engaging discussion on empathy vs sympathy was initiated by Elizabeth Njoroge a former teacher. Through the discussion it was concluded that to be a good mentor, there is need to go beyond feeling sympathy to being empathetic towards mentees and their predicament.
Assumpta making her point on mental health
There was also a lively discussion regarding mental health that was initiated by Assumpta Gichiri. This discussion was continued during lunch break. Generally, the women felt that it was time to acknowledge mental health issues do exist and that professional mental help is vital so that people do not suffer in silence. This silence, Assumpta was quick to point out, generally leads to cases of suicide as had just happened in their village the previous week, where a young man of 28 years old hang himself at his parent’s home. Another mentor, Jane Nyambura also contributed to the discussion by narrating a story of her close friend who suffers from mental health issues and how she has tried to assist her, realizing that it was time that she sought professional help for her.
Finally, the women held a round table discussion on the way forward, specifically, how to best go about their mentorship training. It was agreed that the women will be trained once a week for 5 sessions and that they would also have mentors from the Foundation whom they could reach out to and receive the support they need. After a brief photo session with the Foundation staff, the women departed.