I am Dinesh Panday, a YPARD member as Nepal representative and Communication officer at YPARD Asia and Pacific Coordination Unit. I am 28 years old and currently pursuing PhD degree in Soil Science at University of Missouri- Columbia, United States.
The YPARD, where I am working, emphasizes the importance of youth to youth empowerment by networking and provides platform for information sharing and dissemination, as well as online and offline meetings and events. YPARD Nepal is a national chapter of YPARD, established in 2012 and currently 45 members are working as a national team including different agricultural development sectors.
We know that education is important, however, there are lots of things missing in education in terms of soft skills (like, interpersonal skills). If a young professional has lack of competency, we cannot think that s/he will be able to deliver right message to targeted audience or how others can be benefited?
Very fortunately, in the past year, I got chance to read YPARD Mentoring Program in Kenya and my own learning experiences from 2015 Youth In Landscape Initiative, which motivated me to develop a program called, EduMala (Edu= Education, and Mala= Connection) as an educational training module.
“EduMala: Raising Your Career Potential”, a blended online/offline mentoring program, run by YPARD Nepal in technical support of Dream Work Solution to build the interpersonal skills of Nepalese young agricultural professionals. Our network of professionals belongs to diversified background with specialties in agriculture sector who serve as mentors in volunteer basis.
We are adopting peer-peer assessment technique using e-learning, downloadable content (English and Mother language- Nepali), and online conference meeting to interact among mentors and mentees. However, regarding existing problems of electricity and internet access in Nepal, offline module is also available. The benefit for us is an opportunity to grow up professionally by improving our sharing skills. For mentees, it will enhance skills, confidence, understanding of agriculture in rural development, also helpful to expand their networks and knowledge of their own fields.
The 5 weeks long course with 5 mentors which means, every week different mentor with same mentees. Everyday mentor uploads his/her 1-2 pages long brief document as PDF prior to exact session date and mentees are supposed to make a discussion after reading that material. With the materials supplied the mentees can put their queries to the mentors.
We received 114 applications to participate in YPARD Nepal- EduMala Mentoring Program, however, only 34 were able to join first session. We offered assignments (as blogpost, group discussion and report writing) to measure the success factors, and used survey and online conference meetings to provide feedback from mentees to the mentors and also to improve EduMala in future.
The first batch of the mentoring was held in between 3rd January and 13th February 2016, saw 34 mentees learn how to communicate more effectively, network, write proposals, publish in academic journals, about government youth policies, entrepreneurship and event management. Additionally, there is another better chance of individual to work closely with YPARD Nepal, where we can measure his/her performance in long term basis. Read more about us, and one of the mentee’s feedback.
Based on our progress, now we are planning to start second session from 27th March to 7th May 2016 with 40 mentees. We will take applications on a rolling basis by considering you for entry into our third session later this year. After this, we will upload all of our course modules publicly on EduMala website.
3-month EduMala Mentoring Program
Starting with June 2016, we are going to launch a 3-month EduMala Mentoring Program including young farmers, students, entrepreneurs, researchers and development workers from across Nepal to promote agriculture networking, mentoring and entrepreneurship skills. In 2015, YPARD Nepal organized a workshop, “National Youth Forum on Agro-based Entrepreneurship Development”, where we identified the lack of mentoring or access to entrepreneurship skills is one among the six different agro-based entrepreneurship problems in Nepal.
The mentoring program will include 10 mentors and 20 mentees with use of online e-learning, downloadable course and training modules, face-to-face interactions, webinars, case study, business plan development and analysis etc. The grants will be used to hire experts, mentor’s travel cost, manage onsite trainings and to develop course modules in English and Nepali languages.
- Call for applications of 3-month EduMala mentoring program- 17th April (deadline, 3 weeks)
- Screening of mentors and developing outline of course modules (English/Nepali)- 8th May (deadline, 3 weeks)
- 3-day orientation workshop (Chitwan district, Nepal)- 4th -6th June
- Field visits- 1 visit per month in between June and August
- Mentor-mentees interactions at least 2 hours per week- June to August
- Project completion meeting and summary of progress- 10th September 2016.
Budget ($ in USD)
- Communication, Event Management and Coordination- $400
- Field Visits (1. High-value Crop, 2. Agricultural Marketing, 3. Processing Plants)- $900
- Orientation workshop (3 days)- $1200
- Course Module Development (English/Nepali)- $600
- Video Project and Traditional Media Coverage- $400
- Experts (up to 3 based on field visits) and Mentors (10) Travel Cost- $1300
- Brochures/ Fliers and other Publications- $200
We invite you as a professional and your entire organization to serve as a mentor and share your course modules related to entrepreneurial skills. If you are bringing your module at EduMala, it means you are supporting for capitalization of knowledge as well as publicizing your organization. We want to make it live and need your support.
Blogpost and illustration submitted by Dinesh Panday (Nepal) – ypardnepal(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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