“Mentoring relationship is constructive and positive way of looking at a solution from a variety of options.”
Mentoring or peer support in learning is part of the learning facilitation process of SOCHARA. To support the learning of the fellows during the fellowship and to ensure that they become committed to the learning, a peer support is arranged for each fellow under the programme. This form of peer support is called mentoring: the process through which an experienced person in an institution/organization trains and counsels new fellow. The core role of the mentor is to facilitate the search for a deeper meaning that fellows are seeking through community health while enhancing their functional abilities within the community; facilitate the processes which the fellows are involved in overall helping/ enhancing their understanding on community health. To ensure this process encouraging environment for learning facilitation, efforts are put to support learning facilitation at various levels within the programme.
This peer support/mentoring process is ensured at 2 levels the team mentor: a person in charge for the mentor’s role; and the person in-charge of fellow at the partner institution called the field mentor. The Institutional / Team mentor are person whom fellow’s chart their learning cum working pathway. The mentors (team and field mentor) function together at different levels to ensure that a fellow becomes committed to the process of learning. Common features of the mentoring at field and team mentors are:
- Make the fellow comfortable by being a senior peer/friend and guide
- Ensuring basic orientation to the field programme
- Have space to guide and evaluate performance
- Help the fellow to evaluate and consolidate on his learning experiences
- Encourage documentation of experiences
- Share the experience with each other and larger group initiated by SOCHARA
The mentoring organizations characterize the health vision in the functioning of the organization, adequate experience in community health work; working on social determinants of health; engaged with community processes for at least 5 years; community capacity building and networking; community based approaches to health issues and problems; working with Panchayati Raj Institutions; using a rights based approach; and supporting campaigns addressing health determinants.
This process of communicating with mentors and exchanging of mentoring experiences between the team and field mentors happen through mentors meeting and workshops. To enhance the mentoring of the fellows through field mentors SOCHARA organizes workshops for mentors at regular intervals. These workshops strengthen the capacity of the mentor organizations and serve as a medium for exchange of information about the mentoring process.