Category Archives: mentors

Full Circle

One of the themes of my research conversations and meetings is about the “place” the work happens, or where does work happen? When I went to Netsquared to meet likeminded people in the US with the impression that the non-profit and tech sectors combined with philanthropy and funders was so better organised there I was told, in no uncertain terms , that I was mad and things were far better in London..more of this to come in following posts.

Evidently for us much work is done virtually, between real people, and or their avatars, in a place we have called and conceptualised as many things, – cyberspace, online, metaverse, chat rooms etc. But the “place” surely is the meeting place of motivation, need, demand and supply. And who better to talk to me about all of this than Nancy White whom I failed to “meet”in London when she was here talking to the BBC, hosted by colleague Robin Hamman, and to E-mint (her write up is in five posts from here to here.

Really I wanted some tips about designing our trial/pilot for maximum impact and learning and I am sure it was only the beginning of the conversation. But what really struck me is that designing for the second and third waves of adoption is going to be really interesting and pretty complex as we figure out and test the growing capacity of mobile phones to be a link in a chain of communications leading to an email or blog post for areas where fixed line connectivity may never really take off.

Links to check out from Nancy: Bioteaming and the wisdom of virtual team collaborations
Knoweldge Management for Development
The Institute for Development Studies
And a reference point for existing project groups in this area D-Groups


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Filed under communities, design, mentors, pledger, research, Resources, trial

Current TV – Seeds of Tolerance project and prize

wish I had spotted this sooner..but for any of you (residents of the US only) who have the time in the next two weeks and want to make a short video about tolerance , why not win $100,000 and give $15,000 to a charity of your choice.

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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

comparing models

One of the many things I said I would do is look at different existing mentoring and mentoring-type organisations. Thanks to M.T.Rainey of Horses’ Mouth and Gideon Lyons of Unltd for sending me these two remarkably different types of examples. is a Netherlands-based charity whose novel idea is to create online villages around specific projects (development-focussed) and ask online volunteers or “neighbours” to help with the needs of the village or project. So what you get is a collaboration between online volunteers to provide the village with its needs. They also have a facilitator role per village.

africa villages and neighbours

Here is the story of Zapotillo in Ecuador. The project is complete so you can see the whole story, see who the volunteers are, and what they did. This is certainly the most original project I have seen so far – and they have about 4,500 volunteers currently helping 73 villages in 24 countries currently needing 169 actions. So perhaps we can help out here to get some practise!

The other project comes from Accenture the global management consultancy. They have started a charity called Accenture Development Partnerships aiming not to make a profit, but to cover its costs. It looks like a group of people from within the company had this idea and decided to make it work after good experiences of working with VSO. It’s part of Accenture’s corporate citizenship agenda and aims to deliver their services to NGOs and projects for a price they can afford.

accenture development charity

Both projects testify to a need and a demand which different organisations and groups of individuals are seeking to address. I’d love to hear what you think about both of these and their projects. There are case studies on both sites.

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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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fantasy mentors

thanks to the Guardian…a concept for us.

Locating an appropriate mentor isn’t easy. There are no mail-order catalogues displaying a range of besuited CEOs with come-hither expressions. You cannot score mentoring from a street hoodlum or bid for it on eBay

This project has been described as a social marketplace…a public utlity, and this article could have been written just for us. How do you find a good mentor? That is one of the biggest questions we are trying to resolve. Could you ever find one on Ebay? Now there’s a thought. Why not be the Ebay of mentoring? At least three pledgers have come up with this thought But just what are we trading..let me have your comments!


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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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