By Alwonia Izaaks
SINCE its inception in 2015, a youth driven mentorship and development program championed by Panduleni Nghipandulwa (26), has continued to expand spreading its influence into high schools in and around Windhoek.
The program coined, the Youth Development and Mentorship Program and designed to assist youth in career related matters and their academic endeavours, seeks to reach 50 000 learners in the near future.
From the start of this year, the mentorship and development program has been taken to various high schools with Jan Mohr being the latest beneficiary having received a mentorship visit from Nghipandulwa this week.
On the sidelines of the program, Nghipandulwa told Confidente that he realised learners might need mentoring to avoid the mistakes he had made when he was younger and other mistakes commonly made by high school learners.
This, he says, gave birth to the Youth Development and Mentorship Program venture, adding that he would like to further spread his wings. “I have spoken at different public platforms like the Namibia Careers Expo and I have also been invited to events to speak, arrange presentations and workshops that address issues Namibians face on a daily basis,” he said.
After graduating from the University of Cape Town in 2015, in the field of International Relations, Politics and Philosophy, Nghipandulwa got involved in various community development projects.
To this day, he not only single-handedly maintains a mentorship program, but also owns a food supply company.
With his food supply business he has managed to supply places such as Windhoek Country Club, News Café and Street cuisine, something he mentions with so much pride and joy. Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person assists another in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth. Mentoring is also important, not only because of the knowledge and skills students can learn from mentors, but also because mentoring provides professional socialization and personal support to facilitate success in school and beyond. Quality mentoring greatly enhances students’ chances for success.
According to Nghipandulwa, the initiative to mentor at schools aims to instil leadership values, discipline and work ethics among the youth, hence he provides the service free of charge to give equal opportunities to every learner to succeed in life.
The programme started earlier this year visiting different schools especially in Windhoek, but hopes to expand into other regions and aims to cover the whole country by the end of 2018.
The second part of the programme is to mentor up to 100 grade 10 and 12 learners. The idea is to get them together at least once or twice a month, and with the assistance of about 10 volunteers, these learners are then assisted with subjects they may be struggling with at school. Valencia Roman (17) Grade 11 learner at Jan Mohr Secondary School, says she wants to study Drama, but it’s not the vision and aspiration her parents have for her. She explains that the most vital piece of advice she took from what Nghipandulwa said in the school visit this week was that one should not allow their parents’ situations to determine their future.
Mentor relationships have been shown to increase the self-esteem, behaviour and academic performance of a mentored person. This is important, particularly among teen students experiencing adverse life events. There are advantages for both the mentor and mentee through a mentorship program. Opportunity to reflect on own practice, enhances job satisfaction, develops professional relationships, it uses your experience, making it available to a new person, it enables you to practice interpersonal skills and it provides personal satisfaction through supporting the development of others. And for the mentee; provides impartial advice and encouragement, develops a supportive relationship, assists with problem solving, improves self-confidence and offers professional development
Seventeen year old Utji Kauapirura explained that what she found most important was that one does not necessarily need to focus on school alone, but even if she fails, she can still do something and be someone. “His story just showed me that you can always change and become a better person,”
In his Jan Mohr session Nghipandulwa concluded by saying: “Believe in yourself, work hard, believe in God and there is nothing you can not accomplish”.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015