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MENTOR-AFE: Frequently Asked Questions

What is MENTOR-AFE and what does it offer?
The Age-friendly Environments Mentoring Programme (MENTOR-AFE) is a distance mentoring programme, established to develop skills to lead, influence and implement age-friendly cities and communities. It is being introduced to further strengthen the Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities (the Global Network), and to foster leadership development in people striving to make their communities more responsive to people of all ages.

Over a 12 month period, a mentor will provide guidance and support to enable a mentee to develop the specific skills they need to advance their work on age-friendly environments. Exactly what’s on offer will be unique to the mentee’s development needs, the mentor’s skills, and the time and energy committed to the relationship. Mentors and mentees will receive certificates at the end of the year, recognising their contributions and achievement.

MENTOR-AFE is a programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) delivered with support from the International Federation on Aging (IFA).

What skills are involved in developing age-friendly environments?
There are a wide range of skills important to developing age-friendly environments including, but not limited to the following:

  • advocating for age-friendly environments and/or the inclusion of older people;
  • building strategic partnerships;
  • facilitating participatory processes;
  • addressing inequalities;
  • conducting a baseline assessment;
  • developing an action plan;
  • evidence-based programme design;
  • implementing and managing an age-friendly project or programme of work;
  • monitoring and evaluation;
  • analysing and developing policies;
  • imparting knowledge and skills to others;
  • managing and coordinating teams;
  • fundraising;
  • developing and implementing campaigns; and
  • communicating and promoting project activities.
Who can apply to participate as a mentee?
The programme is open to individuals from communities that are members of the Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities and as well as government and non-government representatives from low and middle-income countries. MENTOR-AFE is especially targeted at people in leadership positions and positions of influence within cities and communities. This is in order to focus on those who can gain significantly from mentoring and whose actions can have a significant impact within their communities.

Individuals selected to be mentees may be from a range of sectors, agencies and backgrounds. They may be at different phases of development – just starting out on their age-friendly journey or ready to evaluate impact. All mentees will demonstrate a strong desire and commitment to creating age-friendly environments, and an awareness of the key skills they need to develop to be more effective.

Do mentors have to be from the Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities?
Not necessarily. The MENTOR-AFE skills are not unique to age-friendly cities and communities, and much can be learned from people working in other contexts.

Mentors will be selected because they are ready and willing to support mentees to develop the relevant skills and apply them to the development of age-friendly environments.

How do I apply?
Application materials and instructions are found here (hyperlink). You’ll be asked to submit:

  • a completed profile form (note there are different forms for mentors and mentees)

If you are selected you will also be asked to sign a Declaration of Interest form. Mentees when paired with suitable mentors will develop and sign a Mentoring Accord that sets out what they will achieve and how they will do this.

When is the application deadline? When will I know if I've been matched with someone?
The application deadline is 18 December 2020. By the end of February 2021, you will receive an email letting you know if you’ve been paired with someone and what happens next. There will be introduction seminars in March 2021, and the twelve months of mentoring will officially start in April 2021 and continue until March 2022.
What is the time commitment for mentoring? What other expectations are there of mentors and mentees?
Regular communication is essential to successful mentoring. In the mentoring accord mentees and mentors will decide on the frequency of communication needs to achieve the mentees’ objectives. We strongly recommend that mentors and mentees are in touch every month at a minimum, through phone/Skype and more frequently by email.

Once introduced, mentors and mentees will together develop a Mentoring Accord, setting out an agreed plan for communications and the skills and activities that will be the focus of the mentoring. The Accord will help to structure the relationship and set agenda for communications, and be a reference for measuring progress.

How are mentors and mentees chosen and matched?
Potential mentees and mentors both apply to participate in the programme.

The mentees chosen will:

  • have a key role in a city or community that is a member of the Global Network.
  • be able to demonstrate knowledge of and a commitment to developing age-friendly environments.
  • have clearly identified which skills they need to develop and hence be likely to draw the maximum benefit mentoring programme.

Mentors will be chosen on the basis that they can support a mentee to develop the skills they want to develop through their knowledge and expertise. Mentors will also be asked to demonstrate that they have relevant experience with the skills required to develop age-friendly environments as well as mentoring experience and be committed to investing time in the relationship.

A Matching Committee set up by WHO, and comprising IFA and representatives from three affiliates to the Global Network consider applications and look for the best matches. We will be asking mentors and mentees selected for the programme to agree to the person they’re matched with.

Can I be mentored in my own language?
We will do our best to pair people that speak and write the same language. You’ll be asked in the application form to state which languages you’d be able to use in the mentorship.
Are some people more likely to be given a mentor? How can I improve my chances?
Your chances of being awarded a mentorship depend on the strength of your application, whether there is a good match available, and on the number of applications we receive.

To give yourself the best possible chance of being paired with a mentor, answer all questions in the online application form clearly and fully.

If I am unsuccessful, can I apply again another time?
Yes, both mentees and mentors can apply again in future years. We expect to be offering the programme at the same time each year. You’d need to provide a fresh, up-to-date application. Keep an eye on the Age-friendly World website and newsletter for updates.
How much does it cost? Will I be reimbursed for my time, travel or other costs?
There are no costs to join this programme. There may be some costs for telecommunications, which you’ll need to cover as MENTOR-AFE doesn’t finance mentoring relationships.

We do encourage low cost forms of communications, such as email, mobile phone applications, or online calling platforms (eg. Skype, WhatsApp). Keeping costs low enables regular and substantive discussions, for high-quality mentoring. While most mentoring is likely to be done remotely, if there is an opportunity for in-person sessions, we would encourage this. Discuss and agree any costs before mentoring begins.