According to the 2018 State of South Africa’s Fathers Report, only 36% of children in South Africa live in the same household as their biological father. So it’s no surprise that many South African boys grow up without positive male role models – but Mentor a Boy Child hopes to bridge this gap.
Mentor a Boy Child is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that aims to instill healthy masculinity in young boys so that they can become well-rounded men. The NPO was set up two years ago by co-founders Sydney Mbhele and Mpho Masondo, but what exactly does it take to build a community-based organisation like Mentor a Boy Child – and keep it sustainable?
It takes a clear vision
Mentor a Boy Child began with a two-fold dream: Mbhele and Masondo envisaged a platform that, through workshops underpinned by a curriculum designed to mould behaviour for the better, would help develop young boys into active members of society. Then, the boys would be matched with the right mentors who would help them through their journey of development.
The co-founders, working with a board hand-picked by Mbhele, realised that they needed to start small using a nodal approach, which is key in building a replicable and sustainable programme in the future. They decided to launch an 18-month pilot programme for just 60 boys, aged between 14 and 15, who were all from a historically disadvantaged area.
They also knew the mentorship programme needed to be structured and have clear objectives: they opted for a series of bi-monthly workshops which include inspirational talks, curriculum-driven working sessions, one-on-one mentorship sessions, and feedback sessions.
It takes a spark
Mbhele says, “The team knew that a ripple effect would be needed for the mentorship programme to grow; the first 60 boys in the pilot phase were to become the ‘spark’: the spark that sets off a ripple effect of healthy masculinity in society.”
After completing the programme – which includes upskilling to help them grow and being matched to a suitable mentor for face-to-face sessions (or remote support) – the boys will become role models themselves. These boys will pay it forward to the next cohort, causing a ripple effect of boys inspiring each other to be the men they were meant to be.
It takes a scalable approach
The pilot phase was launched in June 2019 and will run until the end of 2020. All the boys come from one school for now, which will ensure that the mentorship model is refined, tested and ultimately built to scale up for all areas in need.
Mentor a Boy Child has big plans: the NPO aims to introduce e-learning modules as well as an app, and the plan is to leverage larger organisations to channel their connections and resources in the future.
Do you want to support and take a revolutionary organisation to the next level – while helping boys grow into healthy, well-rounded men? Contact Mentor a Boy Child for more information. Visit www.mentoraboychild.org