Mentorship Programs

Mentors are the role models, coaches, acquaintances, and guiding lights who will be a crucial part of developing our alumni to positively improve their communities, enhance their leadership skills, and become global citizens. The goal of the Mentor/Mentee relationship is to offer both parties a chance to learn from each other and to build understanding across generations, culture, citizenship, backgrounds, etc.

Below are some questions that help to provide insight into the YALI Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa Mentorship Programs.

Why Mentor?

A young person is out there who wants to hear from someone who has potentially been there, done that, and has lived to tell about it, or even more so, is successful at it. You may not realize that you are exactly the guide, coach, or guru that a young man or woman is looking for to help provide context, examples, share experiences, and to offer support.

Who is a Mentor?

A Mentor in the YALI Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa programs is someone who has worked at least 5 meaningful (think professionally relevant) years and can use his/her own experiences to provide some perspective or specific skill guidance. S/he is interested in helping a Mentee to build leadership skills by exposing real life examples, sharing opportunities for growth, and helping to foster insights.

How Much Time Does it Take to Mentor?

It’s totally up to you, as the Mentor, and the Mentee. It can just be a Skype call at least once a month, frequent contact via email, face-to-face, phone calls etc. The point is not about time (although it works best if the Mentor and Mentee maintain regular engagement during the 6-month mentorship period), but rather, it’s about the quality of the interaction and the help that the Mentee needs in order to continue down his/her leadership path. However, we encourage Mentors and Mentees to interact at least once a month during the 6-month period. At the end of the 6-month period, the Mentor and Mentee will have the option to continue their engagement or might feel that they have mutually achieved their set goals.

How long is the mentorship period?

We propose that the initial engagement lasts for at least 6 months. After the first month of the mentorship, YALI RLC SA will contact both you and your mentor to discuss successes, concerns, or challenges and ensure that the remainder of the mentorship is a success. You should feel free to contact YALI RLC SA at any time with questions or concerns, and you can find YALI RLC SA contact information at the bottom of this page.

How is a Mentor and a Mentee Matched?

The best mentorship relationships are those that happen organically. As such, once a Mentor completes a form found here, a Mentor profile is built and shared on a private portal open only to alumni of the YALI RLC Southern Africa programs. Alumni can then identify and request to be matched with a Mentor based upon the criteria that s/he is looking for in a Mentor – working in a particular sector, experience in a certain area, gender, country or location or origin, etc. Then we turn it over to the Mentor and the Mentee to figure out what works best and what they want to work on together.

What Are the Benefits of Being a Mentor?

Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship. You will also learn new, alternative ways of thinking or approaching life’s challenges. You’ll be challenged to stay on top of industry/organizational/topical news and trends so that you can provide your Mentee with up-to-date advice. You will likely become more excited and enthusiastic not only for your line of work but also to continue improving yourself as you empower your Mentee to improve himself/herself.

Please note: the matchmaking system depends upon the preferences and needs of the individual alumni. Being a Mentor is voluntary and unpaid.

We sincerely appreciate your willingness to share your time, talent, skills, and knowledge with a young leader through the YALI Regional Leadership Center Southern Africa Mentorship Programs. For questions regarding the Mentorship Programs, please contact the Alumni Specialist, Peter Folkard, at