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Why be a mentee?

We are trying our best to make sure every one of our 15,000 YPARD members has the opportunity to be mentored. If you are a YPARD member and we are running a mentoring program in your country (see http://ypard.net/mentoring) then you are eligible to apply for mentoring! 

Benefits of being a mentee:

  • Tailored support to help you achieve your goals
  • Enhance your technical and soft skills through formal and informal training opportunities
  • Build networks with leading agricultural professionals of all ages
  • Be exposed to new ideas
  • Develop and practice a more personal leadership style

 

“YPARD has unlocked a huge potential in me, and the capacity to help others and reach out for more young people for agricultural development.”  Mentee, Kenya


Meet Esther

Esther Ndichu is a lecturing floriculturist and budding greenhouse farmer from Kikuyu, Kenya. Esther was keen to introduce modern farming techniques to her village but as a young female farmer encountered many challenges doing so - she had trouble accessing land, affording the materials to build a greenhouse and was met with skepticism by the community.

Through the Kenya mentoring program, YPARD helped Esther have the confidence to convince her family to allocate a small plot of their farm for her greenhouse. She started growing greenhouse tomatoes and lettuce and broke even on her first harvest! She now employs one full-time member of staff and hires up to four people on a casual basis.

Esther’s tomato greenhouse farming project benefited enormously from the advice of her mentor, Nicholas Korir. He helped her fight fusarium wilt – a soil borne disease that previously claimed around 30% of her production - and as a result she successfully supplied tomatoes to her local area in a time of scarcity. Esther has plans to open a second greenhouse and is already mentoring others in her community.

Esther believes that Nicholas has been instrumental in helping her overcome challenges: “Consistent communication with my mentor has played a very big role in success of my farming. This being my first greenhouse it had a lot of challenges which, if I had no advice from my mentor, I probably would have given up along the way.”

Nicholas has seen a major cultural change in Esther’s community, observing that many neighbouring farmers had watched Esther’s success and were replicating her methods. “I was able to help convince Esther’s parents to give her land in a highly male centric community. Explaining YPARD and its vision to the parents helped them to have a light bulb moment and they finally said they would support her all the way.”
 

How much time do you have to commit as a mentee?

Every mentoring relationship is different and is based on a number of variables included the mentee's needs, the mentor's skillset and expertise, location of the mentor and mentee etc. We do not prescribe the type of relationship each pair should have, however we do expect mentee and mentor to meet (either face to face or by phone) for at least 2 hours per month for an agreed period of time (normally most of our programs are 12 months).

We describe mentoring like driving a plane. The mentee is in the driver's seat and the mentor is your co-pilot. As mentors are busy people, we also invest time in training mentees about how they should conduct themselves in mentoring relationships, so as to make the most of their mentor's limited time.

 

What qualities do we look for in our mentees?

  • Passionate
  • Wiling to learn and find ways to grow
  • Willing to help others
  • Honest about their needs
  • Grateful for the time others are investing in them
  • Responsive to communication
  • Able to commit to the requirements of the mentoring program

 

Meet Duncan

Duncan grew up in a small village in Kenya and was surrounded by farming his whole life. He noticed that harvests were being limited by pests and diseases so he decided to focus his studies on development of resistant crop varieties and help struggling rural farmers improve their agricultural production. He joined the YPARD mentoring program a shy research assistant with clear ambitions to gain international research experience.

Under Justus’ guidance and moral support, Duncan successfully applied and received a PhD scholarship to study at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology where he specializes on management of a cereal crop pest.

Duncan proactively undertook many courses during the mentorship period to grow his data analysis and research skills. He found the presentation training delivered during the project to be transformative for his confidence. Duncan is also giving back to his community by mentoring a young agricultural researcher and poultry farmer. He also participates actively in farmer based forums in the social media.

“Without YPARD, I wouldn’t have a mentor, a great listener and an adviser. Now, I have a development journal and a purpose road map, which is a guide for my personal, interpersonal and academic/professional development”.

 

If you have any other questions, please contact YPARD’s mentoring coordinator michelle.kovacevic@ypard.net