Nuggets from Webinar: The TABridge Mentorships

Our 5 November webinar explored the details and lessons from the TABridge Mentorships that ran from March to September, 2013.  During the project, six mentors worked with nine different transparency and accountability groups, helping them integrate technology into their work in a strategic context.

NdifuniDuring the webinar, Tunji Eleso discussed mentoring Ndifuna Ukwazi  as they engaged with poor communities in South Africa, helping local councils to demand the public services to which they are entitled.

CheckmyschoolJecel Censoro (@JecelC), the Coordinator of Checkmyschool, talked about their experience working with mentor Gabriela Rodriguez to maximise the quality and usage of the digital platforms at

We also provided participants with the greatest impacts and lessons from the 2013 Mentorship, drawn from a September meeting at T/AI in London.

Examples of Mentorship Impacts:

  • Individual – e.g., Gained flexible project management skillsIMG_2855
  • Organisation – e.g., Ability to strengthen connections between tech projects and organisational strategies
  • Program – e.g., Techniques to connect citizens to open-data projects
  • Assets – e.g., Guide to creating a testing plan

Mentor Challenges:

  • Competing with other organisational priorities
  • Honoring language/cultural differences, particularly around buzzwords and jargon
  • Overcoming bandwidth barriers
  • Working remotely – mentors and mentees were geographically distant
  • Working within compressed time lines

Good Mentor Traits:

  • Has strong communication and listening skills
  • Has experienced failure
  • Has a passion for sharing knowledge
  • Knows when to say ‘I don’t know’
  • Can act as a node or connector

Good mentee (both individuals and organisations) traits:

  • Can clearly articulate their questions and challenges, and ideally their needs
  • Can invest adequate time and resources to do the capacity-building work
  • Can be transparent about internal issues or challenges
  • Is willing to share organisational processes and knowledge
  • Is self-motivated and self-directed in accomplishing tasks

Overall lessons from the mentorship programme:

  • Important to build a community of mentors that are in communication and can help each other out.
  • Establish a strong communication discipline early (routine emails, contact touch).
  • There is a real thirst for mentoring on technology projects.
  • Even remote mentoring can have a big impact (though a site visit is worth the investment).
  • Making peer connections is invaluable.

The mentors were drawn from the TABridge community and events.  They were:

lucy-chambersLucy Chambers (@lucyfedia) is the head of the Knowledge Unit at Open Knowledge Foundation, which supports data users by organising training via School of Data and building software tools to fix data problems.


Eleso TunjiTunji Eleso (@etcho3) is Director, Pre-Incubation at Co-creation Hub Nigeria an experienced strategy and business support professional



MikelMikel Maron (@Mikel) makes beautiful trouble with maps at and



Photo 17-10-2013 14 31 40Gabriela Rodriguez (@gaba) is an activist and hacker that has been building software for the last 15 years. She works with open data and participatory systems with the organization DATA in Uruguay.



Sarah SchachtSarah Schacht (@sarahschacht) is an open governance advisor to CSOs and governments, currently authoring a book on open government trends.



DirkDirk Slater (@fabrider) works with grassroots activists and advocates to harness the power of information by gathering, packaging, distributing and protecting it through his consultancy, Fabriders.



GunnerThe project was designed and managed by Allen Gunn (Gunner, @Allengunn) of Aspiration.  He also convened and facilitated the mentors meeting and provided strategic support and advice to the mentors.

To view a recording of the webinar, click here

Other posts about mentoring on this website:

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