AFRICA MATTERS x YYAS: SCHOLAR EXPERIENCE REPORT

A report by Kudzaishe Bhuza - Harare, Zimbabwe

One way Africa Matters Initiatives (AMI) upskill and empower our communities is through our flagship programs. The Schools Leadership Development Program (SLDP), Youth Leadership Development Program (YLDP) and the Africa Matter Ambassador Program (AMAP). Due to the success of the aforementioned programs, a mentorship program was organized between Africa Matters Initiative in partnership with the Yale Young African Scholars. The main purpose of the mentorship program is to support scholars by refining their project implementation and execution skills, as well as connect them with experts in their fields of interest. However, it has soon grown beyond that.


Kudzaishe’s Experience


A total of three scholars were awarded the mentorship opportunity, including myself. During the first call, the scholars were informed about the Africa Matters Initiative by Reanne Olivier and Nicole Archibald. We were told that this was not just going to be a mentorship program for project management skills, but also for personal improvement as well. Scholars were assigned to mentors and coaches who best suited their fields of interest.


The scholars were assisted in identifying areas of weakness in their projects and then were helped to strengthen those areas. I am currently being helped with mostly establishing sustainability for my social impact project and being mentored concerning issues of self-improvement such as personal branding. The mentors and coaches are very friendly and professional, making it easier to ask for help and discuss issues of relevance. My coach Nicole, has gone above and beyond in her support to scholars than only assisting in the program’s specified areas. In my case, she and my mentor are currently helping me with my university application.


The mentorship program uses a problem-based learning approach. This is seen by how scholars are made to set up meetings from the time to the agenda. This has been highly effective as we have been afforded the opportunity to do research, implement, and then receive feedback. It has been useful in my project as I have learned to tackle problems to learn how to solve them.


I would say the major skills the program has helped me gain are the art of communicating and networking. Through this program and by the assistance of my assigned mentor, Thandiwe Nanto, I have been able to reach out to other similar organizations and listen to how they tackled similar issues. I have been able to find strategic partners and establish good public relations for my projects.


I am grateful for the time I spent with the Africa Matters Initiative to this point. It has equipped me with social entrepreneurship skills that have changed the way I see the world. Every interaction is a transfer of energy and I think I have gained more energy on this one.


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Afrika Matters Initiative NPC 2018/033657/08