Last week, BOMA mentors and staff met in Archers Post for the annual BOMA Mentor Workshop (BMW). The workshop was 5 days and consisted of a variety of training sessions, organizational updates, and reflections.
Our BOMA Village Mentors are the heart and soul of the REAP program in the field. BOMA is committed to supporting local leadership and has 30 mentors working in 26 communities throughout Northern Kenya. Paul, a mentor in Sereolipi, works with 40 business groups in his community. “I am working with people I know and people whose backgrounds I know,” remarked Paul during training, “I know their needs and so I know how I can diversify the businesses.” Similar to Paul, all of our mentors have ties in the areas they work and are thus personally invested in the success of the business groups and the community itself.
Gatherings such as the BOMA Mentor Workshop are important opportunities for mentors to share best practices and refresh their knowledge. One new development introduced by BOMA in the past year is the use of technology to manage field operations. Beginning last September, all Mentors began using tablets to collect data. This has enabled BOMA to track how many visits mentors make per day, how business groups are performing, and other data that is useful to improve programming. Mentors sync their tablets every day to share Business and Savings Groups reports. During the workshop, Mentors learned a new application of their tablets, Geo-Mapping. Geo-Mapping will enable Mentors to share the location of each Business and Savings Group they work with.
While the Workshop is important for learning new skills, it’s also a valuable time to get feedback from the Mentors. Many Mentors offered suggestions for how to improve the REAP Training Manual, which BOMA’s Training Manager, Christine Muuthia, is in the process of revising. They also had the chance to meet with their respective Field Officers and other Mentors in their region to address location-specific updates and challenges.
Overall, the BOMA Mentor Workshop was a wonderful and informative week filled with learning, sharing, and growing. All of us at BOMA are constantly impressed by the dedication of our Mentors and their commitment to the women and communities they serve. We are looking forward to seeing what they will accomplish this fall and reuniting in January for the refresher workshop.