Maseno University in West Kenya decided to improve the existing mentorship programme for students, especially to support young female students, as part of the EnGEndering Mentorship (e-GEM) project, in collaboration with CIS-VU. Too often young female students in Kenya drop out from their university studies because they don’t have enough money to pay for tuition fees, experienced sexual harassment, unsought pregnancy or just feel too insecure. Many of these obstacles can be overcome with a little support and good advice, for example through a mentorship programme. Therefore, Maseno University in West Kenya decided to improve the existing mentorship programme for students, especially to support young female students. Together with a local NGO called LakeHub and CIS-VU the Nuffic supported e-GEM project intends to do exactly this.
Last month, Henk van den Heuvel, director of CIS-VU, experienced in Kisumu an excellent workshop to train (future) mentors, mainly - but not exclusively - women. The training addressed issues such as the differences between mentoring and coaching, setting boundaries, active listening techniques and the role of cultural values and beliefs. During the week, he and Prof. George Mark Onyango of Maseno University worked on the development of a toolkit and draft a plan to institutionalise this mentorship programme in the university structure and systems, as to ensure its sustainability.