The Foundation For Tomorrow hopes to provide well-rounded, child-centered care for our scholars. To do this, there is so much more to focus on than just traditional, classroom education. With this in mind, TFFT’s Peer Mentoring Program was born! Nice Kahembe, TFFT’s Mentoring and Coaching Program Coordinator based in Tanzania, gave the US staff some insight into how the Peer Mentoring Program functions, what she hopes students gain from the program, and how she hopes to see it grow in the future!
The Peer Mentoring Program was created in 2017 and we are excited to see how it continues to influence our scholars.
TFFT hopes that our younger scholars/mentees will:
- Have more school based opportunities to spend time with older, more mature peers
- See caring and supportive behaviors modeled
- Have a stronger connection with their peers
- Experience more positive school related interactions
- Develop personal interaction skills
TFFT hopes that our older scholars/mentors will:
- Have opportunities for to influence other students in a beneficial way
- Experience constructive interactions with their younger peers
- Improve their leadership and communication skills
- Gain stronger feelings of connectedness with one another
- Become further interested in volunteer opportunities
After pairing an older and younger scholar, the two of them create an agreement that identifies goals for the mentoring relationship. This agreement assists in developing an individual action plan as well as monitoring the relationship to ensure it is working out in both of their favors. Scholars participating in this program are also given a Peer Mentoring Guide which features activities that mentors and mentees can complete either individually or together. These activities are intended to add structure to their meetings and help them get to know each other better and build their mentor-mentee relationship.
Both students fill out weekly journals and discuss the successes and challenges that they have encountered, as well as any other concerns they might have, like additional training they’d be interested in or issues within the relationship that might arise.
We have seen the Peer Mentoring Program directly impact scholars in multiple ways. Academically, both mentees and mentors have worked to improve their studies and grades. One of our mentors, Apaifura, did not perform very well last term. After becoming a mentor, she has been working harder, asking teachers for help, and attempting to have a better grasp in areas and subjects she previously did not understand!
We have also seen how the Peer Mentoring Program has influenced our scholars on more personal levels. Every participant has demonstrated leadership skills and commitment by attending all of the mentoring sessions and being genuinely excited about the opportunity to participate. The program and relationships that the mentors and mentees develop allows them to strengthen their relational skills and feel more comfortable voicing their concerns and opinions. Students feel as if they have a support system and are more comfortable in the classroom and school environment.
Training, regular monthly check-ins, and individualized support are provided to the mentors throughout their experience as a peer mentor. So far in 2018, 26 students have been trained as peer mentors! 15 of these are TFFT scholars, and 11 are non-TFFT scholars in other schools where our Peer Mentoring Program has been implemented. We are so proud of the amazing work both the mentors and mentees have accomplished and how they emphasize the importance of their relationships with one another. In order for the scholars to be successful in the classroom, they need to feel valued, listened to, and supported. We hope that the Peer Mentoring Program continues to do this for scholars for years to come!