HRP: Pilot Mentoring Programme supports the development of early career female researchers
Key facts and figures
Supporting the development of early-career female researchers
Doctor of Public Health
13 mentors 13 mentees
Global 7 Regional hubs
The HRP Alliance is an alliance between seven institutions with expertise in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) research. The HRP Alliance is posed with the task to strengthen institutional capacity. Providing mentorship and opportunities to further develop a research career to junior researchers can provide institutions with the opportunity for sustained and secured growth.
In 2021, the HRP Alliance launched its inaugural mentorship programme geared towards early-career female SRHR researchers from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The aim of the programme was to support junior female researchers in their research career as well as in their professional and leadership development.
Specific objectives were:
- To develop a cadre of female mentors from the HRP Alliance hubs and HRP to act as mentors to female researchers around the world
- To provide mentorship to female researchers selected through the hubs in a competitive process
- To evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the mentorship programme
We provided support at each stage of the Programme following our six-step MENTOR process:
- Matching Strategy – we worked with key stakeholders to determine the matching criteria and programme strategy
- Engagement – we ran a launch event to attract interested colleagues (mentors and mentees) to the Programme
- Nominations – we helped co-ordinate the self-nomination and selection processes
- Training – we delivered our Mentoring for Success programme for mentors and our Making the Most of Mentoring Programme for mentees
- Ongoing support – we facilitated quarterly peer circles for mentors and mentees to share experiences and learn from each other
- Review – we ran a Celebration Event to celebrate progress and success
We evaluated each activity and the outcomes of the mentoring relationships throughout the programme. This provided us with rich qualitative and quantitative data that was used to develop the programme and provide learnings for a future mentoring programme.
The conclusion was that all mentors and mentees felt very grateful for this opportunity and described how important it was to them to have support of this kind offered in an all-female mentorship programme.
This pilot successfully supported 26 individuals (13 mentor-mentee pairs) through a structured mentorship programme. The programme provided training and support throughout one full year. It was decided that this highly successful mentorship programme would be replicated with further cohorts.
This is a program I feel should go on to help other girls, other ladies, other women, particularly in Africa, we need these. A lot of us are from homes where our parents haven't had any formal education, like where I am from growing up, not having anyone to mentor you or to say that you could do this when you are confused, when you are at cross roads, what do you do next? And so if I have benefited from this, I would like to ask that you could scale this up so that other ladies like myself in early career research could progress and advance having mentors to help build a better future for the lives of so many women in Africa and beyond. Thank you very much for this opportunity.