The Transparency & Accountability Initiative (T/AI) is launching a pilot mentorship program in response to needs identified by organisations at the TABridge Sessions for increased strategic technology hands‐on skill building. This year, six to nine organisations will be selected to participate in a five‐month customised program.
Selected organisations will be partnered with a Mentor to support them in developing uses of technology to help achieve their mission and goals, and in the process, develop sustainable skills for strategic thinking and implementation for technology projects.
The TABridge Mentorships are open to all groups working to improve transparency and accountability. Groups will need to demonstrate and understanding of the need to think very strategically about new tech use.
Participants will be selected based on their stated learning goals and the level of preliminary thinking about technology demonstrated in their applications. The program seeks to develop strategic capacity, so organisations with varying degrees of prior experience will be considered, but applications must demonstrate existing thinking about the proposed technology project, or informed questions about the same.
The aim of the TABridge Mentorships is to increase T/A organisations’ understanding and application of technology in T/A interventions so that these deliver stronger impact at scale and positive social change. Participants will receive high-touch strategic guidance from strategy, communications and technology experts. Mentors will tailor their inputs to the organisational capacity of each organisation to ensure that post mentorship.
Mentorships shall run from March through to end of July 2013.
T/AI will accept applications from 1 February and deadline for all submissions is Wednesday 20 February 2013.
Areas of Support
Groups can apply for support for activities such as:
- Development of tech project ideas into mission-driven active tech projects
- Technology interventions in support of specific advocacy campaigns
- Development or expansion of tech projects tied to donor-supported activities or funding proposals
- Project-specific skills-building for sustained long-term capacity of relevant program staff
Approach to support
A mentor shall be matched with each participating group to provide strategic guidance, based on geographical proximity and related expertise. It is important that each group feel they are receiving value during their training; as such, groups will be able to consult with their proposed mentor at the start the project and confirm whether they consider it to be a good fit. An on-going feedback process will also allow each group to confirm they are receiving benefit from the mentoring relationship.
Where external technology expertise is required (e.g., knowledge of mapping or SMS tools), the mentor and T/AI will help to identify providers to work with the mentee.
Mentoring will be provided via telephone, web conference and email wherever possible. In order to maximize the scope and sustainability of the program, Mentors shall conduct on-site visits only where this is deemed absolutely necessary for the training.
It should be noted that this mentorship program carries no guarantee of funding from T/AI donor members for any proposals developed. Organizations can seek related funding independently from pre-existing funding channels. T/AI may or may not help participants and other network members to coordinate outreach for funding as it did during 2012. In all cases, funders’ individual criteria for selection will apply. The value of each mentorship lies in better concept development, principles for effective implementation and opportunities for internal learning that builds sustainable future capacity.
A key requirement of participating organisations is to document and share the progress, challenges and results of their process through informal reporting suitable for publication on the TABridge blog at http://tech.transparency-initiative.org. The purpose of these reports is to capture learning from each mentorship that can be shared with the TABridge network and the wider sector of T/A NGOs, technologists and donors. This will also allow participants to seek support from the TABridge Network, during and after the mentorship period.
Mentors will be required to document these projects from their own perspective, to distil learnings that can help define good practices for strategic technology projects and capacity growth at T/A organizations. Participating organisations will have the opportunity to review these documents, to ensure that they accurately reflect learnings and progress while not divulging any inappropriate details.
T/AI will work with mentors, organizations and other resources to monitor and learn from its mentorships throughout the duration of the program.
Minimum requirements for participation
The TABridge Mentorships are open to all groups working to improve transparency and accountability (including. All groups will need to demonstrate and understanding of the need to think very strategically about new tech use.
Additionally, participating groups should be willing to:
- Spend a minimum of 2 hours per week engaged in the mentorship
- Participate in periodic discussions with others in the Mentorship project and TABridge Network
- Respond to monthly requests for short status updates and feedback
- Participate in possible TABridge webinars and share their learning on the TABridge Discussion list whenever related questions are raised
- Be transparent about challenges and “non-successes” as well as successes throughout the course of their mentorships and give honest feedback to Mentors so they can tailor their support accordingly.
- Participate in a final debrief at the end of the mentoring program.
Click through to the Terms of Reference for a full list of benefits and expectations for participating organisations.