Edmond Pruteanu contacted GEN and told us about his organisation Mentors Without Borders (MWB). He had done a little research into GEN and thought our aims were a good match, supporting people to develop their skills and make a difference to their lives. At GEN we are developing our mentoring opportunities for members so learning a little more about MWB is very timely! I had a chat with Edmond to learn more about MWB and how GEN members can be involved.
What was your motivation for setting up MWB?
My main motivation was the fact that extreme poverty is still a huge problem worldwide and it can be easily solved if the underprivileged people become passionate professionals in fields which are relevant in today’s world and will continue to be relevant in the future as well. Wherever there are passionate doctors, architects, software developers, graphic designers, business people, etc. there can be no poverty whatsoever.
Who are you aiming to reach with your mentoring programme?
We are aiming to reach as many people who live below the extreme poverty line as possible. Most of our current mentors are professional programmers and we are relying on our partner NGOs from all over the world to provide the mentees that they select for us with access to computers and internet connections so that they can communicate with our mentors and do the programming lessons remotely. The mentees gradually become mentors themselves and they can help many more underprivileged young people locally using our mentoring approach.
How do you recruit mentors, what commitment do you expect from them and how might they benefit from mentoring?
For programming, our main platform for recruiting mentors is currently github.com and the minimum commitment that we ask from them is 1 month of initial training + 3 months of mentoring. The initial training is proving to be very beneficial in their own careers and lives and they also feel the tremendous satisfaction of empowering underprivileged young people by helping them become passionate professionals. We plan to recruit mentors from a variety of other fields gradually.
What is programming and could you give some examples of how your mentees have applied their new skills in their lives and careers?
Programming is the art and science of creating software applications that are useful and/or entertaining. It can be said that nowadays software is eating the world as we’re interacting with it everywhere: on our computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs, cars and numerous other devices. Our mentees are learning how to create software initially in order to land jobs that allow them to have a comfortable living standard but as their passion for programming grows, they get to have a greater positive impact in the world with their work.
Tell me more about how mentors and mentees can cascade the mentoring within their own organisation.
Our mentors are not only teaching programming skills but with the help of 3 very simple exercises (mental process goal/steps, 10-to-0 relaxation method and super-focus method) they also teach the mentees how to stay focused on their desired goals and how to pursue them with patience, perseverance and joy. This mentoring approach is extremely simple and efficient and can be easily cascaded throughout entire organisations in a short amount of time.
You can read about Bob Mbabazi’s experience as a MWB mentee and mentor in his article. Find out more about Mentors Without Borders on their website. For GEN members wanting to be mentored by MWB, or who know others who would like to be mentored, please email Corinne Cariad: email@example.com.