A safeguarding mentor’s journey in South Sudan

Kiden Lukudu headshot

Kiden Lukudu is a lecturer at the University of Juba, a consultant and an activist. She is a faculty member in the School of Social and Economic Studies and currently pursuing her PhD in Agricultural Economics at the University of Nairobi. Formerly, she was the program manager for Eve Organization for Women Development, one of the country's leading national women's rights organisations. She consulted with Government institutions, NGOs on safeguarding, women leadership, and gender analysis and mainstreaming. She is currently a volunteer in Amal Chariot Foundation, an organisation advocating for and empowering women and children.

Phil Collins once said, “In learning, you will teach, and in teaching, you will learn.” Mentoring is a great way to contribute to others by dedicating yourself to uplifting your mentee and building confidence. To me, mentoring is about building a relationship founded on shared interests and goals.

When I met my mentees at the introductory meeting organised by RSH in Juba, we instantly developed a relationship based on a shared passion for empowering people to make their own informed decisions, supporting and representing the voiceless; especially children, women and young girls and working with communities by providing local solutions to prevalent issues affecting them.

I had the privilege to mentor three civil society organisations (CSOs), Empower Youth Africa (EYA), Women Advancement Organization (WAO), and National Youth Platform Association (NYPA). When our mentorship started, these organisations had no prior solid knowledge about safeguarding and its representation in a CSO context. They had superficial information and bulks of policies that meant nothing to them. But three months into the mentorship, my mentees were able to conduct sensitisation and basic training with their employees, volunteers and beneficiaries about safeguarding.

The first positive sign about this journey was when I noticed that I had ambitious and inquisitive mentees. They were eager to understand safeguarding principles and learn how to apply them in their daily work or when they engage their beneficiaries. That alone pushed me to do more as a mentor; I relentlessly think of creative ways to contribute to their growth. I shared interesting articles with them to encourage discussion about Protection against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. We did role-play scenarios to showcase how power dynamics play a grave role in sexual exploitation and abuse in workplaces. We also had group mentoring sessions to share knowledge and experiences.  

I like to think that our journey has enriched us in a way that neither of us would have achieved if we had taken it alone. As a mentee myself, I have learned critical things that my mentors have installed in me. I only hope to pass those qualities to my mentees and create a safe environment for people away from harm, abuse or exploitation.

I feel that the experience gained in this mentorship programme will continue to advance people and enables local organisations to reduce the risk of harm. As such, this mentoring experience has changed me in a way that it heightened my awareness of my mentee's and their organisation's interest.

I was able to share with my mentees everything that I learned from the safeguarding training conducted by RSH. I used helpful information I read online and on the RSH website or even personal experience concerning safeguarding issues for their benefit. For instance, I didn’t fully understand the importance of safe programming and including safeguarding costs into project budgets, or that its possible to do so, for that matter, until I started surfing RSH website and later on attended extensive training on these subjects

My biggest takeaway from this journey is that mentoring is a give-and-take relationship, where one offers their experience, knowledge, failures, and lessons learned. It has given me a rewarding and fulfilling experience knowing that I could directly or indirectly help someone unconditionally.

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