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My YPARD mentoring experience so far

On February 2017, forty seven African youth attended the MasterCard Foundation’s Young Africa Works Summit (YAW2017) in Kigali, Rwanda. Fourteen of those youth delegates were selected to receive 12 months of mentoring from senior delegates attending the Summit.

Over the last three months, these youth mentees have started forming relationships with their mentors who will support and challenge them during this year to take their next steps in their lives and careers. We’ve asked the mentees to reflect on what they have learned since the Young Africa Work’s Summit. 

My name is Abisola Adedigba, a Nigerian residing in Nigeria, and this is my first time being a part of a structured mentorship programme.

When I opted to join the mentorship programme for the Young Africa Works( YAW)Summit at Kigali, I had no idea of what I was getting myself into. I honestly have not been a part of a structured mentorship programme and I was thrilled to be a part of this program. Alas! I was matched with an experienced professional who so happens to be Nigerian and resides in Nigeria for a great part of the year (with that, face to face contact would be easy). I spoke to him briefly before the summit and spent a great deal of my time with him at the Summit.

My mentorship programme started even before I knew it had started. For instance, while at the Summit, my mentor gave a few tasks to complete which I did but did not feel the impact till I got back to Nigeria. I have heard so much about how important it is to mentor young people.I have seen how mentored people excel but I had never experienced it till now.

Before leaving Kigali, mentees were told to drive the relationship and I can tell you that my first three months of being a mentee have not been the best but I have learnt what it means to not only be accountable to someone but also to be able to communicate that accountability. I talked about wanting to learn to practice critical thinking more often than I have been doing and my mentor helped me register for a course on not just critical thinking but “Critical thinking and problem solving skills”. This has had an impact on my work life tremendously but I sincerely would not have gone out of my way to study it if I had I not been given the nudge.

My mentor keeps telling me that there is no rush in achieving one’s personal purpose. This I have come to understand in the short time I have spent with my mentor. I got to read an article titled “25 things I wish I knew before I was 25” and one thing that was mentioned is that there is no rush to achieving one’s purpose. I had heard from so many people.It had been in my sub-conscious but I have learnt to appreciate that more.

There has been so much to learn from being mentored and I am extremely grateful that I am a part of this thanks to YPARD! In the last 3 months, I have learnt that it can be pretty challenging combining a daily job with a distance-learning coursework whilst still being accountable to all that matter. With the gentleness of my mentor, I have been able to pick myself back up time and time again.

I am not only being mentored career-wise but in all other aspects. For instance, whenever my mentor says he would do something, he does it! That's integrity that I can only learn in the school of life.

The experience so far for me has been amazing and I am certain it would only get better because I am getting better too!

Photo credit: Illume for the MasterCard Foundation