Girls Guiding Government: Mentor Testimonials

GGBCThe Girls Guiding Government Program, a partnership with the Global Give Back Circle, empowers the next generation of women leaders in Kenya and Rwanda through mentorship, training, and community service.

Learn more about the Girls Guiding Government Program here.

Betty Adera

Chief of Party, DREAMS Program Global Communities

Betty AderaThe day Nelly was assigned to me as my mentee, I knew right there that God had given me the daughter I never had being a mother of two young men. In the short time that I have known and mentored her, Nelly has brought so much joy, fulfillment and enrichment to me also. In some instances, it felt like she was actually the one mentoring me! She has also provided me with innovative ideas on how to better support and more positively engage with young people in my networks in Kenya, especially during the long and challenging political/electioneering period. Nelly’s drive to succeed in life and make a difference in her school, community and country gave me great impetus as her mentee to also put in extra effort towards my own dream of running for public office come 2022. As Nelly plans to visit me and my family in December 2017 after she clears school, she will not only bring Rwanda to us in Nairobi, Kenya but will also be able to share with us her strengths, aspirations, and fears with us and together strengthen this relationship beyond the Program. I am committed to follow through with Nelly in her after years and be a part of her life always as she thinks through her career and relationships. Many thanks to the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Program for letting Nelly into my life as you continue to do the same for millions of other girls around the world.

Violet Akurut Adome

Member of Parliament, Uganda

Violet Akurut AdomeI have been a mentor in the Global Give Back Circle – Girls Guiding Government Program for the last two years, where I had the opportunity to mentor Precious – a student from Starehe Girls’ Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. I must say it was a wonderful experience, constantly I was in touch with my mentee, thanks to the program Coordinator who kept reminding me to write to my mentee, even a midst my tight schedule doing my parliamentary work, I had to take a side time to write and guide Precious and she constantly wrote back to me thanking me for guiding her and for being her role model. She looked forward to becoming what I am and achieving her life's goals, she was inspired after I shared with her my own life experience coming from a humble background, yet was able to join schools, which were a preserve for the privileged. My school experience, work and family gave Precious more encouragement to work so hard at school, she pledged to revise her books, attend class and be obedient and respectful to her elders and colleagues, but above all trust in her God for everything was possible with him.

I guided her on how to write a policy statement and how to present it, and I guided her on how to write and pass examinations, to this she promised to do her best and I want to believe with the confidence this program has instilled on the girls who had the chance to be mentored, they shall surely pass with very good grades compared to their counterparts who were not in the program.

I must say this program enabled me to provide career guidance to Precious by the time she joins higher institution she would be focused on what she wants to be in future and on strategies of arriving to that goal.

This program opened a window for us mentors to make presentations to our mentees at the Global Give Back Circle – Girls Guiding Government Conference - this too provided exposure to us to get to know one another and share our experience of mentorship with one another.

In conclusion, I would like to thank more sincerely Lidemta and her team at the Global Give Back Circle - Girls Guiding Government Program for the work well done and for such a wonderful, but rare program and recommend for its expansion and continuity. I want to pledge to continue being in touch with Precious and to guide and mentor more girls given the opportunity.

Bravo to the Wilson Centre and Global Give Back Circle, I am sure with such guidance to the young girls at an early age through to their education path, we shall achieve 50x50 women in public service by 2050.

Kateryna Busol

Legal Associate, Global Rights Compliance

Kateryna BusolAlthough I decided to become a mentor because of my willingness to share and help, I soon realised that, perhaps, I needed my mentee even more than she needed me.

The girl from post-genocide Rwanda has much to discuss with and, in fact, teach a young woman from war-stricken Ukraine: the defiance in the face of circumstances, the belief in the power of self, and in the importance of the community, the individual responsibility for one's personal development from as early as school for the sake of the more sustainable collective future - within our neighbourhoods, counties, states, regions and the larger world.

Mentorship is a unique experience of a dialogue of hearts: sharing your stories, you realise that you already share much. I wish I could inspire my mentee as much as she inspires me. Thanks to her and to this Programme in general, I am now contemplating launching a similar mentorship initiative in Ukraine.

If mentorship teaches us anything, it is the realisation that we can help much more than we thought we could. It is truly empowering. For both sides.

Bonnie Edwards-Jackson

Finance, U.S. Department of Agriculture - Rural Development

In 2016, I was selected to participate in the Global Give Back Circle – Girls Guiding Government Program, a partnership between the Global Give Back Circle and the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project, and was matched to a young girl name Mary who resides in Kenya.

Mary applied to the Program to obtain assistance with her dream of serving as a great leader in her country by using her interest in finance and mathematics to one day become a cabinet secretary of finance in Kenya. I applied to serve as a mentor with the Program to provide support to an adolescent girl who desires to successfully transition from secondary school into a public sector career.

As her mentor, she and I communicated monthly via written letter correspondence sharing information about life challenges and experiences. Throughout her school year Mary and her classmates attended leadership workshops to strengthen and build future leadership skills. Upon learning of her attendance at the workshops, I always asked her what she learned and how she planned to apply what she learned as a future leader.

At present, Mary has completed her final year in high school and plans to go to college to continue her education. I trust that she and I will continue to stay in contact.

My experience as a mentor has been extremely positive and I strongly encourage any woman, who is interested in making a positive difference in an adolescent young lady’s life to become a mentor.

Gbemi Kehinde

Project Management Assistant, Peace and Governance Office, INGO (Abjua)

Gbemi KehindeI will forever be grateful to your team for the opportunity given to me to mentor Anna. We had a vibrant relationship because Anna was willing to be mentored, she was willing to share her dreams, fears, anticipation, and agitation with me and I was grateful to be available through her emotions. In some instances, I had to make personal calls to her to empathize, calm her fears, and raise her confidence. She sure is a keeper. I will always be there to build her up and not put her down as I realize I have been in her age before, and I didn’t want her to go through what I experienced for lack of mentoring when I was her age. It can be scary and overwhelming when you don’t know what the future holds. Anna was always ready to share all that she learnt with me. We also discussed at length about giving back to the society, as most girls won’t have the opportunity she had with the Global Give Back Circle. Above all, we both enjoyed ourselves and were always looking forward to reading from each other.

Johanna Papa

PSC Contract Specialist, Macfadden & Associates, USAID - Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI)

Johanna PapaAs a mentor to my dear friend Wairimu Sylvie, a young leader from Rwanda, I conclude that this journey has been an exemplary learning experience for both of us. The Global Give Back Circle has created a platform for empowerment, excellence, and diversity. It is our duty, as women, to empower each other and I am grateful to be a part of this movement.

It has been an honor to mentor Wairimu and I remain committed in sharing my knowledge and experience. Thank you for this opportunity.



Donna Stauffer

USAID Contractor - Senior Advisor, Foreign Service Center (FSC), USAID

Donna StaufferBeing a mentor in the Global Give Back Circle has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. I look forward to my bi-weekly letters from my mentee with as much anticipation as I do with letters from close friends or pen pals of childhood. My mentee is enthusiastic, intelligent, highly motivated, and already an impressive leader within her school and her community. It is an honor to play even a small part in helping her realize her potential and achieve her dreams.


Philippa Sturm

Global Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Professor Emerita, City University of New York

Philippa StrumIt was a joy to mentor Elizabeth Njoki this year. Some of the questions she asked about the possibility of women serving in public life reminded me of those asked not long ago by 18-year-olds in the United States; others were specific to her situation. I was glad to be able to offer her encouragement. I feel as if I got to know her family as well, and I share their pride in her graduation. I hope the experience was as helpful for her as it was fulfilling for me.



Pat Vinkenes

Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget, United States

Pat VinkenesI signed up to mentor through the Global Give Back Circle on the strong recommendation of an old friend in the State Department, who has been involved and mentored several girls for years. Despite her recommendation, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect or what I had to offer. But, I have found this experience far more fulfilling that I ever imagined. The most important part is the ability to listen, encourage and empathize. Sometimes it is just being there. While trying to help my mentee stay motivated and handle the competing challenges of national exams and the uncertainty in her future, I learned more from her than she learned from me. I have a much better appreciation of the challenges and joys in her life. She is an absolute delight. As it happens my daughter is a high school senior and experiencing the same anxieties. The same recommendations for stress relief worked wonders for both; eating healthy, exercise, enough sleep, laughing with friends and reaching out when you need help. They are both smart, accomplished young women with great futures. Although my mentee just graduated from high school, finished her national exams and will soon enter college, we have agreed to continue to be in contact. Our goal is to meet one day. And I have asked to mentor another girl from the next class.

The program staff and other mentors were always ready to help with any question I had. They were particularly helpful when my mentee asked a question that I couldn't answer with research. I highly recommend this program.