Did you know that mentorship is cited as one of the core factors that effectively complements classroom learning? Research has shown that mentorship alongside classroom learning equips students with capabilities that allow them to be globally competitive.
Dr. Chao Mbogo, an award-winning mentor, leader, innovator and change-maker saw a crucial gap that computer science students and those with an inclination to technology studies, in particular were lacking hence making them less competitive for global opportunities.
“At least 60% of Kenyan university students do not receive any consistent and structured mentorship outside the classroom. Yet, mentorship frameworks have been cited as one of the factors that would effectively complement classroom learning in order to enhance and enrich students capabilities thus improved global competitiveness,” says Dr. Chao – Program Lead and Founder Kamilimu.
KamiLimu, derived from two Swahili words, “elimu” which means education and “kamili” which means whole or complete, was founded in September 2016 in response to this stemming need. It mentors students in various areas such as professional development, scholarship awareness and application, innovation ICT skills not taught in the classroom and community engagement.
KamiLimu addresses this gap by offering a 50-50 opportunity for both male and female students by providing a space where students can learn core skills that they do not necessarily learn in the classroom, such as interview preparation and writing award-winning scholarship applications, as well as creating a community for peer-mentorship and support.
Dr Chao submits that the influence KamiLimu has already made is significant, “We have so far served 96 students from 10 universities in Kenya, with the current cohort of students consisting of 36 mentees and 12 peer mentors from 9 universities. Additionally, we have worked with over 40 industry professionals so far and 4 organizations who have given their time and skills to the program and reviewed the mentorship curriculum,” the doctor adds.
KamiLimus’ curriculum implements a 6-month rigorous and involving mentorship. Where each month’s content addresses the five pillars of the program that includes:
- Professional Development, which includes sessions such as CV writing and Negotiating Skills.
- Personal Development, which includes sessions such as Financial Literacy, Public Speaking, and Health.
- Innovation and ICT Skills, which includes sessions such as Design Thinking and Pitching Skills.
- Scholarship application, which includes scholarship awareness and review of scholarship essays.
- Community Engagement, where we have worked with institutions such as Akili Dada and Children’s garden home by training on digital skills.
Kamilimu is also a sponsor at the upcoming Africa Women in Technology Conference, where its students will serve as moderators and volunteers.
“We hope to grow to an independent entity as well as scaling our mentor-ship program to Computer Science students outside Nairobi,” says Dr. Chao.
As an active advocate for quality education as a key driver for transformation in Africa, Dr. Chao Mbogo, has 5 key points advice to students:
- Build your non-tech skills, such as communication, writing, and professional acumen.
- Continually learn and stay knowledgeable as IT is very dynamic.
- Purpose to work on projects that intersect with other fields, from social science to education and arts.
- Seek a community that will support your growth.
- Do what you enjoy. Enjoy what you do.