Janet Anaele is a dedicated and multi-faceted professional with over 6 years of experience implementing developmental and humanitarian programmes. She has supported various organisations to strengthen their safeguarding policies and practices. Janet has worked in different thematic areas such as Gender-Based Violence and Harassment, child protection, safeguarding and psychosocial support. Janet is also a certified member of the GBV Case Management Pool of trainers for Nigeria with UNFPA/UNICEF and a trained safeguarding mentor with RSH Nigeria.
Mentoring is a two-way trusted relationship where both the mentor and mentee learn and grow on a personal and professional basis. It is a reciprocal process of mutual growth. Mentoring has provided me with a great opportunity to lead and inspire people on and increase knowledge of safeguarding. In my personal experience, being a mentor is very rewarding but also a challenging activity, and my journey taught me that mentoring is truly a gift to be cherished.
My 6-month mentorship journey started when I was assigned to mentor 2 civil society organisations (CSOs) after actively participating in the RSH mentor training. The mentorship programme aims to support less resourced CSOs to strengthen their safeguarding policies and practices. Through these CSOs I had the opportunity to mentor a total of 5 individuals. Like every other mentorship journey, we had our own fair share of challenges to create a safe space for learning and growth.
As a mentor, I learnt to communicate more clearly and listen deeply, and how to be more empathetic, since I can see and appreciate their situation better. I realised that a mentee would commit and perform exceptionally when you believe in their abilities and strength as an expert.
These mentees have exceptional abilities ready to be released and the RSH mentoring programme provides the much needed catalyst to let these abilities come to the forefront.
For example, I started every mentoring session with a mentee leading the discussions. For one of the organisations where I had face-to-face training, the mentee co-facilitated the training, which is part of building capacity and confidence. I got to understand the nature of the mentees’ work and challenges and appreciated their effort in making sure they provide quality services for persons of concern.
Mentoring helped me develop the ability to listen actively. I realised that my ability to communicate effectively is deeply rooted in active listening.
There were times I feared allowing my mentees to make mistakes but after one of our RSH support sessions, I realised that allowing others to figure it out is a part of learning. My ability to ask a series of powerful open-ended questions helped to guide the mentees to their answer and formulate constructive feedback to put advice into actions. This was empowering, as the mentee had the space to seek the answers themselves, creating a sense of responsibility and ownership of their decisions.
Finally, it was a great privilege to be part of the RSH safeguarding mentoring programme as it changed my perspective and even expanded my knowledge and confidence in safeguarding. The knowledge and experience shared is done in a “give-back or give-first” way. In fact, I grew more through the process because it made me to stop, think and continue. I had more empathy and care for others in the way I communicate and think. I realised to be a good mentor you must first be a good mentee.