PMPS launches a mentorship program

In February, MLI launched our inaugural, virtual PMPS Mentoring Program. This new 12 week program is designed to shape PMPS youth leaders and participating teachers to evolve and become role models to other PMPS youth in their communities, to build their mentorship knowledge base, and to apply their skills through hands-on learning opportunities as facilitators and mentors of the PMPS curriculum. Luz Angela Guzman, MLI’s Program Manager in Colombia and in-country representative, has been engaged with Peacemakers and Problem Solvers since the program’s inception. “Our Peacemaker Leaders are conscious that small changes lead to bigger changes and we know that connecting them with one another contributes to greater positive change. Through the mentorship program, we aim to strengthen our Peacemakers leadership skills, so they can successfully mentor other youngsters to become leaders, inspiring others to collaborate for a better future of their own communities.”

The training program is being led by certified international coach and psychologist, Maria Fernanda Granados, and the inaugural cohort includes 12 participants, primarily from Uraba, Antioquia in Colombia. Asked for her thoughts about mentorship, Ms. Granados says: “To be a mentor is to inspire, is to create closeness to develop, care for, share with, and help others so they can acquire knowledge, skills, and abilities to increase their productivity for the benefit of all.”

MLI decided to check in with a few of the participating mentors-in training, to gain their insight on the program so far.


Mariana Muñoz, 16 years old

Senior High School Student


1. Provide us a little information about your community.

Chigorodó is a multicultural little town located in the Urabá subregion, where people dance from a Bullerengue to a Mapalé, where there are a variety of field crops, such as bananas, cacao, and passion fruit, where we find races from Afro-Colombians to indigenous people. A town full of flavor, culture, and sunny afternoons. Chigorodó is a place where the bright yellow of the sun meets the green fields, where the solution to the heat is those bathes in the river and passion fruit ice pops. Chigorodó is a place full of life, but with few opportunities.


2. Did you know anything about mentorship before starting the MLI Peacemakers and Problem Solvers Mentorship Training Program? I had no knowledge of any kind of mentoring before starting this training program.

3. What qualities do you believe make a good mentor? Motivation, communication, guidance, challenge, and especially good listening.


4. How do you see yourself as future mentor in your community? I see myself as a person capable of guiding my community through leadership, empathy, and good communication.


5. How can you get the best out of this mentorship program? Learning and considering in each step that I give all those lessons that we were given in the program, which are undoubtedly necessary to be a good mentor.


6. What are the most important qualities you need to strengthen in order to guide your own group of young mentees through PMPS? The qualities that I must strengthen the most to carry out a good job as a mentor are, to be someone in whom others can feel listened to and oriented, to be an optimistic and realistic person at the same time, that through leadership and self-knowledge can guide in the right way.


7. What challenges do you see in your community that you can help to address by being a youth mentor?

First, I would like to help my community by removing that bandage of ignorance that they have, helping them to see that society has serious problems and it is necessary to tackle them and contribute to them. Keeping in mind what our problems are, possible solutions can be reached or at least contribute to the improvement of these.


Eva Cano

15 year old senior high school student


1. Provide us a little information about your community.

My community is the municipality of Chigorodó (Guaduas River, in the indigenous dialect). It is located in the Urabá subregion and has more than 57,000 inhabitants.


2. Did you know anything about mentorship before starting the MLI Peacemakers and Problem Solvers Mentorship Training Program? Yes, of course, we had already been given a brief idea of ​​what the program would be, and I knew that it is a way to train ourselves as new leaders for new PMPS groups.


3. What qualities do you believe make a good mentor? I believe that to be a good mentor one must be able to be empathetic and flexible, because as a mentor, different situations can arise that we must understand in order to create or change the way we deal with it. Hand in hand with this, you must also be able to communicate, listen and motivate, this is important to be able to cope with your role as a good leader, thus generating confidence and trust in other people.

4. How do you see yourself as future mentor in your community? The way in which I envision myself as a mentor in my community is by having the ability to instruct new mentors who, like me, want to grow and help our community develop, enjoying their leadership and expecting to make positive impacts from any area they decide to do so.

5. How can you get the best out of this mentorship program? In the first place, the first way is to have high expectations about everything that I can learn and accomplish from it, and the rest of the work comes from attending each of the mentoring sessions and having all the best disposition in it.

6. What are the most important qualities you need to strengthen in order to guide your own group of young mentees through PMPS? I believe that at this time I need to strengthen the confidence and trust that I feel as a leader and that others perceive it. I believe that this is fundamental when you want to establish an organized and steady group.


7. What challenges do you see in your community that you can help to address by being a youth mentor?

I believe that one of the great challenges is fostering in young people the needed confidence that we should have to believe that we can be an agent of change in our community, believe that we are capable of identifying problems, creating ideas and solutions for them.


Kevin Guerra

Teacher



1. Provide us a little information about your community.

Carepa is considered the model example municipality of Uraba. Its name is derived from the Embera Katío language which means "parrot”. It is located in the center of the banana axis, and it has a wide potential of growth in social development aspects. It is characterized by a population that promotes the practice of sports and cultural spaces. It has an ethnic diversity richness with the presence of Afro-descendant and indigenous populations, population form Antioquia and the Caribbean region. This cultural blending creates diverse gastronomic practices. There is progress in some of the neighborhoods, especially in leadership aspects and community boards, but there are also urban and peripheral settlements where public services are not recognized, so it is important to manage it with the local administration for an adequate inclusion of these services and allow a sustainable growth of the municipality. Therefore, it is important to promote employment, education, and quality of life in several sectors.


2. Did you know anything about mentorship before starting the MLI Peacemakers and Problem Solvers Mentorship Training Program? I did not know the concept of mentoring. In the educational processes that I have participated, I have learned about the importance of generating youth communities to take advantage of our potential and thus make greater impact. In many processes in the region, youth leadership has been promoted to contribute to issues that arise in the local context.


3. What qualities do you believe make a good mentor? The qualities of a good mentor are cooperation and teamwork, curiosity, active listening, creativity and innovation, teaching others with patience and dedication.

4. How do you see yourself as future mentor in your community? A leader who is mobilized, who does not let fear paralyze him, who is willing to contribute to social causes, and to those initiatives that promote the well-being of the community, who also creates safe and free environments where adolescents and young people can participate, expose their ideas, learn their skills, and who does what is needed to motivate others to get involved. That creates joint actions among all.

5. How can you get the best out of this mentorship program? Having a new group of young people who know their environment and who want to bring change through small but significant actions in their educational community, their homes, and with those around them. I want to take advantage of their potential to create concrete actions that derive in a sustainable process. I want to allow the continuation of the training of Peacemakers and mentors in the institution, empower the directors and teachers to continue leading this project, and make it visible in the classrooms.

6. What are the most important qualities you need to strengthen in order to guide your own group of young mentees through PMPS?

Develop empathy, determination, commitment, and responsibility, to learn and have synergy with my activities as a teacher and in the Peacemakers and Problem Solvers project, be able to motivate students to take advantage of this space, and take ownership and lead the processes.


7. What challenges do you see in your community that you can help to address by being a youth mentor?

Existence of communication with an aggressive style. In some families verbal or physical abuse occurs, and this is reflected in the behavior students have in classroom. I believe that enhancing empathy and assertive communication through non-violent communication processes can improve relationships among students. In the pandemic, it was evident at school that many students lacked connectivity and the technological resources to access at home, this may be an opportunity to look for alternative means or find better ways that allow us to connect.

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