The year 2020 was probably one of the most challenging years we faced in a long time. Covid-19 interrupted the life as we knew it and forced us to adjust to a world where people were not able to as often meet friends and family, others could not attend school, many businesses had to close down and in many cases no one was able to move from one place to another anymore. It was a time of uncertainty where everything can change unpredictably from one day to another. These times demands our adaptability more than ever before.
Like everything else, also Aiducation’s Mentorship Academies were impacted by Covid-19. When mentors are not able to travel to the talent’s country and it is unknown if, how and for how long people are allowed to come together, organizing Mentorship Academies almost seemed impossible. But continue to create impact is part of Aiducation’s DNA and so we were able to work out a blended form of Academies together with our biggest Academy sponsor Swiss Re Foundation. With the help of committed and flexible Swiss Re and local mentors as well as very experienced and motivated teams in our Talent raising countries, we were able to conduct 5 so called Long-Distance Academies.
In our Long-Distance Academies we brought together 30-40 talented students in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda for Mentorship on the topics around entrepreneurship and a corporate career. While AiduTalents and local mentors were able to meet physically, the Swiss Re mentors from all over the world like Australia, Hong Kong, England, Canada, Bratislava, India, Mexico, Switzerland and the US joined virtually to speak, coach and mentor our talents via webinar style meetings. What started with an unknown journey, big technical challenges ahead of all of us and a lot of uncertainties resulted into 5 impactful Long-Distance Academies and a positive as well as interesting experience for everyone involved.
Sabina Vrhnjak from Switzerland was a mentor at the Swiss Re Entrepreneurship Academy in Kenya and says: "...feeling connected, proud, and genuinely happy that I was able to ‘spend’ a week in Kenya as one of the mentors of the Swiss Re Entrepreneurship Academy. So many inspiring journeys of young startup entrepreneurs, and so many encouraging words: on how we – now more than ever – need to stay connected, take care of each other, and above all: trust our hearts & intuition more – because this is what makes us successful in the business, and can grow our potential..."
More insights from the Entrepreneurship Academy can also be found under: https://gyla.net/news/339919
In the following video of the Swiss Re Start Up Academy in Ghana, mentors like Jeremy Scott-Mckenzie and Prince Essel, coordinators like Diana Agbenyo and Abeiku Greene form JA Ghana and participants like Cynthia Anaba and Hagan Prince share their experiences with us:
Josephine Namayi was a participant of the Swiss Re Start Up Academy in Kenya and describes the experience from the virtual Academy as mind-blowing: "Seeing all those people from different parts of the world, miles apart and in one meeting was amazing. I would definitely want to be a part of more of the same." More insights from Josephines experiences can also be found under: https://gyla.net/news/376418
And with our Swiss Re Start Up Academy in Uganda we were even mentioned on television with the following report:
Despite the distance and the technical challenges, we were able to connect talents with mentors from all over the world and enabled an impactful week full of learning, a lot of fun and new friendships. This was only possible thanks to everyone who was involved and committed to make this work. We are thankful for the Swiss Re Foundation and the Swiss Re mentors for adjusting quickly and their willingness to contribute to the impact virtually. Thanks to all our local mentors who not only acted as speakers and mentors but also as the extended arms of our international mentors. And we are very grateful to our local partners like JA Ghana, JA Uganda and Aiducation Kenya who did a fantastic job in organizing and implementing the blended Academies on-site.
Whatever the year 2021 has in store for us, we are confident that together with our partners, talents and supporters we can continue creating impact around our core products.
Written by Cynthia Brauchli