Posted by Mandisa Rasmeni
Joining the Katuka Mentorship Programme as a mentee was one of the best decisions I ever made in life, said Simonee Shihepo, who is now a mentor.
Talking to the Economist Shihepo, who is the Country Representative for the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiatives (REPSSI) Namibia, which provides holistic psychosocial care and support to girls, boys, and the youth, said the Katuka Mentorship Programme is one of the greatest programmes in the country.
“I have looked at different mentorship programmes in the country and online mentorship programmes in other countries, but they do not compare to Katuka. I have been growing as a person since I started with the programme, and I have not stopped growing since I joined as a mentee in 2012,” added Shihepo.
She said she came back in 2014 as a mentor because she never had any visual representative in her community that positively encouraged her or guided her in life and it was like everyone was fighting their own battles.
“This is when I realised that there is a need to work very hard to succeed and it is a blessing to be where I am today because I have been in great positions and it was not easy for me. This is when I decided to invest all my knowledge and skills in the programme as a mentor,” she emphasised.
She explained that the problem in Namibia is that there is no integrity in leadership, nor women’s leadership.
“There were examples of male leaders, but I also felt like if more women can raise to that level of leadership, we can have greater and more integral leaders in the nation and this is why I decided to use my knowledge, skills, and experience to invest in other women,” she said.
Shihepo said she has been growing since she started with the programme and I have never stopped growing.
“I encourage every woman that has a vision for their life, to try and get on board with the programme,” she said.
Talking about the difference between being a mentor and a mentee, Shihepo said as a mentee you are a prodigy you are there to learn.
“I needed someone to guide me because I wanted to tap from another woman’s brain because it is not just about the education and knowledge, the programme builds character, it builds your personality, it helps you break down your vision and dreams and it makes you innovative,” she explained.
She said the programme makes you see other women differently and it connects you with your inner perspective.
“For the future, I want to mentor as many women as possible, but also not just mentoring, I want to see many women rise from this programme and I want to see many women getting to the next level,” she emphasised.
The Economist also talked to 30-year-old Senior Economist at the Ministry of Finance, Josephina Kanyeumbo, who said she joined the Katuka Mentorship Programme as a mentee to get out of her comfort zone.
“It is an opportunity for me to grow and given that I am an extrovert, but my work requires me to talk in front of people, so this is an opportunity for me to work on my presentation and public speaking skills and to get out of my comfort zone of being in the corner or background,” she added.
She said she joined the programme to connect with different women from different industries to learn more from them, hear about their experiences, and see how she can grow as an individual and a young lady in her career.
She highlighted that so far the programme has met her expectation because it is pushing her to get out of her comfort zone and since she joined the programme she has had a radio interview, which is totally not her and which went very well.
“The Katuka Mentorship Programme is pushing me to interact and to keep doing the work that I am required to do to reach my vision and to network with the ladies to learn more from them,” she concluded.