A mentoring program for the Gambian youths

After one and a half years of training, the first group of trainees in the Gambian Youth Project have only 6 months left to prepare for their future careers.

A challenge for both sides

19 volunteers from the Lufthansa Group will be on hand to give them advice and support. Listening, asking questions, encouraging, correcting, supporting . . . Of course, these mentors also need to be prepared so that they can master their task in the best possible way. To this end, we have planned three – virtual! – workshops together with the help alliance, the Lufthansa Group’s development aid organization. 

We have already held two workshops. The first workshop in November was about critical self-reflection of all mentors. It seemed important to us to analyze the motives, wishes and expectations in order to be able to provide support in a solution-oriented manner and with honest commitment. We also looked at the possible challenges and the knowledge and talents of each mentor.

A second workshop in December focused on the country and the economic opportunities in The Gambia. We focused on three business models in particular: vegetable growing, poultry farming and food processing. We linked an economic assessment of the three business models with many questions to be elicited from the Gambian youth so that the mentors could provide critically accurate guidance.

These three areas were explained in detail in the virtual workshop

Closely accompanied to professional success

The young people have to work out their business plan themselves, but we consider support from the mentoring group to be very important. The young people’s start-up capital is limited, they cannot afford to make mistakes – that is why well thought-out planning is essential. We all want them to succeed in their careers.

Well, and how do mentee and mentor find each other?
All Lufthansa volunteers have made a short video of themselves, and the Gambian youths will make the same video of themselves. We will then initiate the best possible match-making . . . and then we’ll get started.

It is supposed to be a 1 : 1 mentoring, thereby we assume that some young people will join forces and plan a joint business. We anticipate 15 – 20 business plans. Mentee or mentee group will work in email or whatsapp communication with their mentor. We are excited and prepared for anything, including failure or frustration, which is the very reason for the reflection conducted in the first workshop.

Although the creation of a business plan is an exam task, it is also the most important foundation for a successful start to a career. After one and a half years of learning and living together at the training camp in Ballingho, the young people are now moving towards their personal professional independence.


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