Focus on: Mentoring Young Men8th June 2018

Every participant in our WYLD Programme is put into a mentoring pair, either as a mentor or mentee dependent on their age, experience and capacities. Mentoring provides an opportunity for young leaders to discuss difficult situations and decisions, to reflect on their development and learning, to dream and set goals with someone invested in accompanying them. This kind of investment in another person puts peer-learning into action and reveals the value of each individual: A mentor and mentee commit to walk through life together for a year and, because of this, they get to celebrate successes and review disappointments together, with huge benefits for both of them.

There are currently 72 young men and young women involved in our mentoring programme in Goma.  DRC Team member Sage caught up with four of the young men to find out what impact it is having on them…

screen-shot-2018-03-18-at-20-52-35DAVID: “Something new that I have learnt is that mentoring makes a positive impact on both of the people involved: it gives a confidence and a practical application for the things that are discussed together.”

Escreen-shot-2018-03-18-at-20-52-20LISHA : “This mentoring program is very important because I found out a lot of things about myself which are helping me in the process of positively changing my life. Before meeting my mentor, I had no way to express myself in front of others because I didn’t know what was inside me and I thought that nobody understood me or could see my point of view. However, now I can stand and say that, thanks to the work of The Congo Tree through me, I am a good public speaker with no fears about who I speak in front of, I now know I have something to contribute. One thing that Sage (Participation Officer, DRC Team) told me was, ‘Don’t be modest [timid]’.

“Now, in any situation where I face the challenge of speaking in front of others, I properly prepare my words like my mentor David encouraged me to do, I remember Sage’s advice, and I confront the challenge in front of me. Anytime that I apply the advice from my mentor, I have been successful”.

screen-shot-2018-03-18-at-20-52-44DIEUMERCI: Before I was a part of The Congo Tree, I had thought that leadership was about power, being rich and having an elevated position in the community. In reality, what shocked me was to see that it was young people just like us who taught us to be become great leaders in life. I am thankful to the whole team who trained us because they were not held back because of their age, but they taught us very well, despite it. I understood from them that, “If you are capable to change a classroom you can change the whole world,” and that will always push me to act positively in my society. Even in my family, a positive change is happening, and where I live, I am already making positive change in my community. I thought that it was only whites that could teach us what we learnt at The Congo Tree but, in fact, this is not the case and I understand it better now after what we’ve learned [from our Congolese facilitators]: we are the ones who will change everything.

I love being a part of the mentoring programme. I have been a mentor to Julson since April 2017.  As a mentor, I have a mentee who pushes me to discover his abilities, and also my own. My prayer is that all the Congolese youth can take this training because our mentality, our view of the world is progressively changing.

I am also happy about the creative mind that The Conge Tree helps us develop. An example of this is the social project which we are asked to complete. I expected to be given around $1000-1500 but this was not the case – we had to design a project for just $100. We discussed ideas as a team until we had a project that could work with what we had to offer, and we are currently fully involved in making it happen.

“I know now that, with the little that I possess, I can do something. It isn’t necessary to have a lot to make a difference, but it is necessary to start humbly in order to succeed.” 

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AXEL: I am extremely happy to have gone through the training with The Congo Tree, I’ve learnt so much about my life!

I was glad to be part of the mentoring program, where I was placed with my mentor Gedeon. Since being with him, he has talked to me about things which have truly revolutionised my mind, and my spirit feels the change. Gedeon is great with me and he pushes me to learn a lot. From when we started our mentoring relationship to now, I have already seen a professional development in myself. Before, I didn’t see him as a mentor, I didn’t like to work and I didn’t like to deal with the things that upset me too much. However he continued to show me how good it is to be financially autonomous and not to depend on my parents for everything, I started to work hard. Now, I have a job, which ultimately lets me direct my life. I thank the organisation of The Congo Tree for the work that they have done with us.