Category Archives: mentees

Nata Village Blog

Pledger Curt Hopkins alerted me recently to the Nata Village Blog, and put Jon Rawlinson in touch with us at MW.

Jon and I finally met this week and he told me how his travels in Africa, videoblogging along the way have changed his life.

Stopping off in a remote village in Botswana he chanced across a US peace corps worker who had set up home in Nata Village. With his travelling companian he chucked in his plans for a comfortable night at the lodge to visit the village and stay closer to the ground. The visit and people he met changed a lot and Jon has since set up a blog for the Nata Village project and Melody Jenkins’ many projects educating locals about HIV and setting up a clinic there.

Currently in London, Jon is looking for ways of using his considerable video shooting and editing skills to contribute more. Have immediately snapped him up as a mentor. But what did hearten me was to find that he has scoured this blog and has now been in touch with (see previous post) and it’s CEO Matt Flannery , and will be visiting them in San Francisco mid August to offer his help.

You can read about the two Microsoft Fellow’s findings (see previous blog post) here, or on Matt’s blog.

Without describing our whole conversation – all my old documentary making tendencies came pouring out as we discussed the power of narrative and the kind of storytelling video is good at. He is off too to meet Current TV who if they have any sense, will snap him up. Hmmm, got me thinking. Given they pay $500 per video used maybe I should take it up again to fund Mentoring Worldwide!

Glad our blog is working. Come September, following a real holiday, I hope others will want to start co-blogging here, and we work together to get our trial/ proof of conept up and running for real.


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Filed under Africa, communities, mentees, mentors, microfinance, non profits, pledger

serendipity – Kiva and Life in Africa

Friday June 2nd (apologies, blog is so out of synch). I am preparing to meet Fiona Ramsay of Kiva in San Francisco. Researching the organisation I find , on their front page no less, a description of Life In Africa…the project run by Christina Jordan …one of our pledgers! Something is definately going right. Christina is a pledger active in the Omidyar Network (and we have quite a few people from the Omidyar Network community who did pledge). She is also an Ashoka Fellow living in Uganda.

Fiona desicribes the groundbreaking work that Kiva is doing. Barely a year old they are winning plaudits, and pioneering an effective peer-to-peer microfinance organisation which as Fiona diplomatically puts it is “deceptively complex”. I leave inspired and with a new sense of how mentoring could make a difference. Perhaps not directly with entrepreneurs on the ground, but with the newer and smaller Micro Finance Institutions who report on the projects, write journals and suggest the entrepreneurs to Kiva. They have a great model and we will talk again. If you are interested in Microfinance I strongly encourage to take a look at their work and get involved.They have two interns blogging from Africa at present, and their founder, Matthew Flannery blogs at Social Edge.

Back in London I book a call with Christina. Life In Africa has potentially six mentees for us. I hear about the project, but also am immensly encouraged to ask for help. The time is coming and we’ll soon have a framework that people can volunteer into. I listen too , this time in the Omidyar Network, to her amazing efforts to work with the best of internet and computer providers in the area (Kampala and Gulu) BushNet and Inveneo and realise that while the solutions may be out there, getting people on the ground to join up the dots is still unbelievably hard, and patience, courage and perseverence are the name of the game. She has two Microsoft Fellows visiting to learn about the project and the difficulties and needs in the area of connectivity. Sounds fascinating.

It somehow did not seem so suprising when I called Fiona today a month after the conversation with Christina to find the same Microsoft Fellows about to report their findings to Kiva, tomorrow.


Filed under Africa, mentees, microfinance, non profits, pledger, trial


Pledger Curt Hopkins is launching a new blog project in Botswana. It’s a project to increase HIV/AIDS education in the African country of Botswana through blogging and is the kind of project which could yield wonderful and important results in its own right but also could lead to new projects which would benefit from mentors in the future.

but what I really love about the way he and his colleague Brian Schartz write about the way the culture of Botswana where he lived has affected his life and working practises

There is a saying in Setswana that I have adopted as part of my life. “Boiteko ke boikone.” Trying is success. I believe that our project could be part of the solution to this crisis that plagues Botswana.

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you heard it here first , straight from the horse’s mouth!

I met up last week with MT. Rainey the pioneer behind a new charity and soon to be launched online mentoring service called, Horse’s Mouth. MT has raised funds from and the Russell Commission to build a new website and platform. It’s billed as e-mentoring but as we talked she explained that really it was like going straight to where the experience is. Not long-term one-on-one relationships that took place at fixed times. More like a first time mother being able to contact someone in her area who had “been there” recently and could pass on what she knew. While I thought longingly about how much I could have benefitted from such a service when young, I also reflect that while we had great similarities our target groups were different. Who knows they might franchise their web solution later on, so that would be one for us to explore. At the end she said reassuringly I think, that she had been where I am a year ago..hmm quite a hard act to follow!

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Pledger Jan Leeman alerted me to this excellent service. E-clips from Cornell University. It’s currently being used on the ground in Armenia by the Women’s Business Society. This is another good example of how publishing experience to share can support global mentoring.


collection was created by Dr. Deborah Streeter and contains thousands of video clips that were created from in-depth video interviews or presentations by entrepreneurs and other experts involved with supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses. Interviewees include startup and experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, bankers, angel investors, and employees of startup companies.

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antibes calling

pledger Amy Nicholls is busy starting her new company but found time to visit me in London before she moves to Switzerland in June for six months. She wants to help out by researching some of the offers we have been made by projects on the ground with potential mentees to be, or should that be mentorees? In particular she has some good contacts in India she will explore for us, and that is where she will start. We discussed a few quandries of our own! One that keeps coming up – we are thinking big, but want to start small to test out a number of assumptions about what we can deliver, and what the expectation of our mentees might be.
I’m putting together and outline of some testing we might run over the summer – what would you like to see us try out?

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Filed under India, mentees, pledger