Project Mangers Against Poverty

The Importance of Mentoring in International Development

One of sfG MentorNet’s customers uses MentorNet in an international development environment and recently wrote an article on the challenges of project management in this space and of the benefits of a mentoring scheme that has been set up to help support international development around the world. We have summarised the key aspects of this article, for those of you involved in mentoring.


About £12.2 billion of public money was spent on international development in 2015. There are many Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), charities and Not for Profit Organisations involved in providing support around the world.


Managing these projects through project management is fundamental to the success of the programmes and in putting to good use the money that has been provided. And yet it has been difficult to learn from the experiences that different project managers have, to help improve the efficiencies in the process. As Craig Redmond, Senior Vice President of Programs, Mercy Corps says, “If we don’t do project management right, nothing else is possible.” So getting this right and learning from past experiences is crucial.


A new course was therefore set up to help train Project Managers, to learn from what was working and what was not, to change the ways that things have been done and to provide practical guidance for running development projects. Also, Project Managers Against Poverty (PMAP) set up a voluntary mentoring programme to share experience and knowledge and to support those who had taken the course. LINGOs and PMAP are both Not for Profit Organisations.


As these project managers are often based all around the world, the eMentoring platform of sfG MentorNet enabled this programme to move forward. Peter Marlow, the article author, comments: “We have partnered with LINGOs and have a high-quality online e-Mentoring platform from MentorNet initially for 100 users. The platform enables mentors and mentees to register and manage their profiles, and to establish mentoring relationships. It has a familiar feel and a secure messaging area that allows mentors and mentees to have confidential conversations with each other and share documents. The service continues to be provided at no cost to users.”


As such, the mentees and mentors both benefit and Peter mentions the benefits to one mentee for example, “A recent mentee said: ‘I would highly recommend this mentoring program to anyone doing management in development. It’s a great support system for sharing best practices, lessons learned and most importantly, perspectives.’”


Prospective mentors and mentees sign up through the PMAP website and mentees must be currently involved in development projects. The average length of a relationship is three or more months, with the mentors and mentees meeting virtually once every week or two. The relationship is mentee driven. “We have developed a Code of Conduct to ensure that participants are aware of the dos and don’ts of mentoring and being mentored, although it’s mostly common sense.”


It is an interesting article and you can read the full version here (link to pdf file). We are delighted that MentorNet is being used in such varied environments and helping support such a fundamental role in the provision of international development around the world. The article also shows another example of the value of the mentoring schemes many of you are running, in helping share experience and knowledge to improve the lives of others.


We would like to acknowledge Project Manager Today magazine at for publishing this article. Read the full article here (link to pdf file)