Mentorship is often considered a core component of education, professional training, and career success. It provides early to mid-career professionals with access to more experienced individuals and their networks to further support the mentee’s professional and personal development. Successful mentorship can also build long-term collaborations and mutual learning1. Mentorship is different from coaching or capacity strengthening in that the personal relationship built between the mentor and mentee is a crucial component. A good mentor provides various aspects of support, including instrumental (assistance with skills), informational (advice, suggestions, and networking introductions), emotional (listening and empathy), and appraisal (feedback)2.
The goal of the Data for Health (D4H) Gender Equity Mentorship Program is to develop a cadre of well-trained, connected, and supported public health practitioners and researchers with sufficient expertise to effectively integrate gender equity into their health data work. The mentorship will focus on enhancing the knowledge and expertise of global public health professionals in areas such as gender transformative processes, policies, and outcomes, and using gender equitable data to do so. The mentorship program will empower them to strengthen their capabilities and make significant contributions in the field from a gender perspective. The program will be managed by the Gender Equity Unit, housed at the Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with gender experts from partner organizations within D4H.
Mentors will work with individuals associated with D4H-affiliated mentees who want to build their gender equity expertise. Mentees will be matched with D4H Gender Equity Mentors based on their own mentoring goals. Priority will be given to mentors who are in the same country or region as the mentee to promote mentoring from someone with a shared lived experience. While several mentors will come from D4H affiliates, some will be outside of the D4H network if specific gender equity-focused mentorship is needed. The mentors will provide guidance and support on incorporating gender into mentees’ country-specific work, suggest further opportunities for gender equity integration and learning, and support the mentees in the ways that will most benefit them to move towards gender equity both personally and professionally. The D4H Gender Equity Unit will facilitate all mentoring matches and follow-up.
This one-year mentorship program will use regular virtual and/or in-person interactions to strengthen the relationships between a mentee and their mentor. Matching of mentors and mentees will be based on mentoring competencies necessary for mentoring within a global health context. We adopted competencies keeping in mind the challenges often faced by mentees and these include 1) maintaining effective communication (e.g., help team implement strategies and plan with equity and gender lens, support change management), 2) aligning expectations, 3) addressing diversity, 4) fostering independence, 5) promoting professional development, 6) promoting professional integrity and ethical conduct,7) overcoming resource limitations, 8) fostering institutional change (e.g., advocating for self and others even if that conflicts with traditional gender roles, gender-responsive budgeting, equitable human resource practices), and 9) technical area of expertise3. For example, some mentees may seek mentors to support the development of their technical skills related to data equity issues, while other mentees may want to prioritize overall professional growth and career development given gender equity challenges. Mentees will be matched with mentors who are keen on sharing their resources, skills, time, and experience in different areas of expertise.
To further strengthen mentee-mentor networking, mentees and mentors will gain access to our peer mentorship network on Slack. Topic-specific channels will be developed where mentees can ask questions, share perspectives and resources, and connect with other mentees and mentors for growing their mentoring network. This network will uniquely connect mentees from across D4H countries, promoting cross-cultural discourse. Members of the Gender Equity Unit will monitor the network to answer questions or seek mentors and other experts who can participate as needed.
For Mentees: Mentee Application
For Mentors: Mentor Application
Applications to be a mentor or mentee are accepted on a rolling basis. Eligible candidates will be contacted by the D4H Gender Equity Unit for information on mentor-mentee matching.
Coming soon: Mentors and mentees will be provided with materials to support their mentorship journey. We will share resources on expectations, roles and responsibilities, and guidance on topical and professional areas once admitted to the program.
For any queries, please send your questions to Vidhi Maniar, Program Manager at the Gender Equity Unit, at firstname.lastname@example.org.