Leadership & Development

What Would Happen if Every African Youth was Under a Mentor?

I’m not mimicking to suggest a white superiority or a ‘feel good’ promotion but United States of America is known for its mentoring movement and a young person having what he/she calls a ‘personal mentor’ is not a new idea.

Millions of adults, mostly over 50 years are not afraid to directly dedicate time, talent and experience to improving the lives of young people.

As a matter of fact, Watson Institute in Boulder, Colorado, for example, has developed in collaboration with Lynn University, the newest model of higher education in the world. In their highly personalized, award-winning methodology, they have developed a bachelor program in Social Entrepreneurship, with emphasis laid on community and mentorship, shifting away from a fierce culture of stand-and-dictate notes human beings, test-taking and rote memorization and reproducing.

Each student is paired with two mentors relevant to their passions and challenges. Such arrangements is what powers America and the same is true to other Western countries.

In Africa, Kenya for example, youth mentorship is not only an unpopular thing but one of the most undervalued and unappreciated tenet of life.

But it should not be so.

Kenya is a blessed country with tons of trailblazers – a professional class of folks who have shattered glass ceilings in business and social circles and, who have as souvenirs, stories of corporate success, excesses and influence. If you happen to follow them on digital media, they express a bubble of their expertise either teaching emotional intelligence or warning bosses to watch out half-baked graduates seeking intern positions.

What would happen if these class of people, who rubbishes youth as ‘spoilt kids’ chose to assign themselves two mentees at any given one moment of their lives? To work with us to show us that anything is possible? To help us thrive and increase odds of success in life?

Of course cases of spoilt and difficult youth as well as half-baked graduates would reduce. According to a 2017 audit report by Commission for University Education, which unearthed so much rot in public universities, Kenyan graduates are the most useless people on earth’s lithosphere and employers don’t want to give us a second look. But instead of laughing at our nakedness, we can be shown how to dress up through mentorship!

The power that be in mentorship is hardly new. Historic icons we know like Socretes, Plato and Freud owed their crafts to the magnanimity of mentors. mentorship is the thing that makes all the difference in human development anywhere in the world. When the successful old leads the way, the youth are better placed to deal with the inevitable challenges of finding an exciting, useful, healthful place in a culture that continues to despise and marginalize them. They also acquire the kind of social capital and guidance that will help them thrive.

We become people through other people and it is not possible to rise to a level of success, excess and influence in isolation. If we work this way, we can not only forge formidable intergenerational relationships to transform our future but the country could also benefit from a national intergenerational model for matching younger and older participants.

But as youth we have a role to play to close the mentoring gap. We must be willing to learn continuously and to leverage the insights of people who have a genuine interest in our growth and success. As for me, I’m up for grabs by any willing relatable role model who wants to make a continental difference.

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