MenEngage Africa Training Initiative: Call for Mentors

Sonke Gender Justice 
University of Cape Town
MenEngage Africa Training Initiative

MenEngage Africa Training Initiative: Call for Mentors

Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice Training course
Cape Town, South Africa
16-26 September 2013 


Sonke Gender Justice Network, the MenEngage Africa Network and the Women’s Health Research Unit at the University of Cape Town are proud to host the second MenEngage Africa Training Initiative course: ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’, to be held from 16-26 September 2013 at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. A critical component of this training course is the ongoing support and guidance afforded to its participants through its Mentorship Programme. We hereby invite interested individuals to apply to serve as mentors on this programme from October 2013 for a minimum of six months. Mentors are not expected to attend the training course but provide support to participants as they implement their Projects for Change in their home countries. 

About the course

‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’ is a short, intensive, ten-day residential course which seeks to expand the skills and knowledge of women and men in the Sub-Saharan Africa region to scale up work on engaging men and boys in gender equality, and build a network of leaders and gender justice advocates. In so doing, it aims to strengthen existing work on the greater involvement of men and boys in the prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, fatherhood, LGBTI rights and other issues pertaining to gender equality.

The course will incorporate a mix of thematic and skills-building sessions – covering both theoretical and practical components – as well as a site visit and daily opportunity for self-reflection.  Thematic sessions will address the topics mentioned above, while the skills building sessions will specifically address leadership (including youth leadership), organisational development, research methods, advocacy, resource mobilisation and monitoring and evaluation.   

As part of the training, participants are expected to submit a ‘Project for Change’ proposal, which will be refined during the course and, most importantly, implemented within their respective organisations once the course is completed. The Project for Change is a project or programme that is applicable to engaging men for gender equality in areas such as sexual and gender based violence, HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health or, LGBTI rights to name a few potential thematic areas.  Through the implementation of the Project for Change, it is hoped that participants will be able to practically employ the additional skills and knowledge gained from this training course. 

To assist participants with the implementation of their Projects for Change, MATI has developed a Mentorship Programme that will be carried out for a minimum of six months . This programme is a critical aspect of the training as it seeks to provide participants with ongoing support and guidance during the implementation phase of their projects. Ultimately, certification for the training course will be based on satisfactory implementation of the Project for Change and thorough engagement in the Mentorship Programme. 

(To learn more about the training course, download this Training Course Report.)

Outline of first Mentorship Programme

After the first training course which was held from 20-30 August 2012, 23 participants from the training began implementing their Projects for Change with support and guidance from highly skilled and knowledgeable mentors from across the African continent and the globe. A mid-term evaluation of the first Mentorship Programme revealed that 65% of participants, or mentees, found the programme to be either good, very good or excellent. As one mentee explained, “From the Mentorship Programme, I have been able to tap into the expertise and experience of an older colleague in the same field of work and advocacy, further enhancing and building my capacity in the areas of project design, implementation and execution.” Another respondent described their mentor as a “guiding star.” Having access to mentors who work in the fields of gender justice and human rights, and who have substantial project management experience has meant that mentees were engaged in continuous learning long after the training course had concluded.

The Mentorship Programme had numerous benefits for mentees as well. Speaking on their experience, one mentor commented, “Every young person who invites me into their life…it’s always an honour. It’s an inspiration…” Mentors were able to extend their networks on the continent, increase their own knowledge of gender and human rights issues in the African context as well as gain personal fulfilment from supporting the next generation of leaders in the pursuit of gender equality and respect for human rights.

The Challenges of the Mentorship Programme

While the first Mentorship Programme was hugely beneficial for both mentors and mentees, there were some challenges experienced. Both groups reported that they experienced difficulty in making the time to connect (via telephone, skype or face-to-face meetings) often because of their work schedules. There seemed to be a lack of commitment to the programme from both mentors and mentees.

To mitigate this, certification for the participants attending the training course ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa’ will be delayed until satisfactory participation in the Mentorship Programme has been determined. Therefore, this equally requires mentors to commit to the programme to not only ensure that mentees’ Projects for Change are being implemented but additionally, that they can receive certification thereafter. Hence, the Mentorship Programme plays a critical role in nurturing gender justice advocates beyond the ten-day course in order to continue effective gender transformative work on the continent.

(To learn more about the first Mentorship Programme , download this MATI Mentorship Mid-term Evaluation Report.)

Call for Mentors

Given the importance of the Mentorship Programme, Sonke and its partners are seeking highly committed and experienced individuals to form part of the Mentorship Programme. Mentors must be committed to the goal of gender equality and work from a human rights ethos. We would appreciate mentors from a diverse range of occupations including gender activists, programme staff, project managers or coordinators who work in the fields of women’s rights, children’s rights, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV and AIDS, for LGBTI organisations, as youth leaders as well as those working in government, as UN Agency representatives, donors, academics and media advocates. Such persons should be willing and able to freely give of their time and provide ongoing support to mentees as they implement activities related to their Projects for Change. 

Specifically mentors would be required to;

  • Be available for and committed to monthly support meetings (through telephone, email exchanges, skype calls or, where feasible, face-to-face meetings);
  • Be in a position to meet the costs of communication in cases where the mentee’s organisation is under resourced;
  • Sign mentoring agreements that outline the terms of the relationship as provided by Sonke;
  • Provide advice, coaching, and/or feedback to mentees on a regular basis;
  • Maintain confidentiality within mentoring relationships;
  • Guide the mentee for six months as they implement activities related to their project.

Who is eligible?

An ideal mentor would:

  • Have experience working in non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), government, UN agencies, donors, academic institutions, faith based organisations, juridical systems or other relevant organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Have a minimum of 2-5 years work experience in gender, advocacy , human rights, social justice and/or sexual and reproductive health and rights issues;
  • Have a minimum of 2-5 years in a leadership role, or in project management/coordination;
  • Have a basic understanding of gender issues, particularly around gender justice and male involvement/masculinities;
  • Hold at minimum a Bachelor’s degree in international relations, human rights, health rights, gender or other relevant fields (practical experience will be taken into account in lieu of an educational background);
  • Be fluent in English;
  • Experience as a mentor an added advantage.

Benefits for Mentors

Participation in the ‘Masculinities, Leadership and Gender Justice in sub-Saharan Africa’ training course presents a number of opportunities for mentors, including;
  • Expanding your network on the African continent;
  • Increasing your knowledge of gender justice and human rights issues in different contexts;
  • Making an invaluable contribution to the development of activists working for gender transformation and human rights.
Please note, there is no remuneration being offered to mentors. However, Sonke, MenEngage Africa and Women’s Health and Research Unit at the University of Cape Town will provide a letter attesting to your participation at the conclusion of the Mentorship Programme. 


The course organisers wish to express sincere appreciation to the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency (SIDA), the Oak Foundation and the UNFPA South Africa Office for their financial support in making his training course possible. Particular thanks also to members of the MenEngage Africa Network, including those on the Advisory Committee, for their on-going commitment, input and collaboration. 

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