LIGHTEN THE TORCH: Feedback from SCA UNILAG’S Accountability Partnership/Mentorship Program

Learning could be a tiring process. There will be times when it seems like your best is not enough, and as the Nigerian slang goes, you’ll say “I can’t come and go and die.” You wonder whether it is worth all the stress, and are tempted to give up.

"'Let’s go do it,’ not ‘You go do it.’ How powerful when someone says, ‘Let’s!" — Jim Rohn

When you walk with someone on the same level as you are —an accountability partner— you are reminded regularly that you are not alone and that giving up is not an option. When you are guided by someone who has walked and scaled through similar paths —a mentor—, you are reminded that someone has been through this before and scaled, therefore, you can too. A mentor could help prepare your mind ahead of trying moments or even help you escape them. Having a mentor is an essential ingredient for growth; no one is capable of self-improvement if he sees no other model but himself.

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” — John Crosby

Due to the evident thirst for growth and knowledge amongst our community members, the SCA UNILAG core team decided to host a program themed ‘Accountability Partnership Program.’ The strategy developed was to pair two people in the same track and skill level to learn and grow together for one month under the guidance of a mentor. We created a google form to get the names, skill levels, and tracks of interested members. We had a total of fifty-five (55) responses spanning across eight (8) tracks.

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Some of the core team members volunteered to be mentors in various fields, and we reached out to other people outside the community. Here’s a list of the mentors: Philip Owoeye - 3D Modelling with Blender; Idundun Sydney Oritsetsegbemi -Game Development; Okeke Chinecherem Happiness, Benn-Itua Mercy, Abiola Farounbi & Ayobami Ogunfemi - Front-End Development; Sodiq Agunbiade & Mbaoma Chioma Mary-Data Science; Rukhayat Orekoya - UI/UX Design; Sodiq Akinjobi - Mobile Development; Ifihanagbara Olusheye - Machine Learning; Akinboluwarin Akinwande & Olamide Makinde - Technical Writing. The program ran from Monday, July 13th 2020 till Friday, August 14th 2020. During this time, some participants were evicted based on unresponsiveness and unwillingness to work.

To encourage the participation and growth of more people in the next phase, and celebrate the five most active mentees in various tracks, we featured them in our monthly webinar that was held on Friday, 28th August 2020 between 2 pm and 4:30 pm. The event was themed “The Importance of Mentorship in Tech” and we invited Mr Michael Mekuleyi; a Full-Stack Developer and Data Engineer to be our guest speaker.

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During the event, the mentees were asked to share their experiences during the program, and here are some of what they had to say:

“I had patient and understanding mentors. We (mentees) were all able to publish one article a week consistently for five weeks. I don’t think I’d have achieved what I did during the mentorship program if I was on my own. This program was the highlight of 2020 for me. Also, I found a new family - my mentors and mentees. Thank you for this opportunity; see you at the top.”- Opeoluwa Oshifeko, Technical Writing.

“I was able to get more practical during the mentorship program.”- Mercy Folayan, 3D Modelling with Blender.

“I would rate the program 9/10. I was eager to work, pestered my mentor almost every time in a bid to get things done. He never complained, but encouraged me and was very accommodating.” -Oluwaranti Mercy Oni, Data Science.

We are grateful to all mentors and mentees who made the program a success and can proudly say that the aim of the initiative was achieved in the end.

“We’re here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark.” — Whoopi Goldberg

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