Oxfam OPTI and Mowgli Mentoring combine forces to enhance market development within the West Bank and Gaza agricultural sectors

The success of a mentoring programme lies in setting the right foundation, and for Mowgli this means making sure that we select the right people onto our programmes while managing expectations about what mentoring is all about and how it can support the personal and professional development of both mentor and mentee.

Within all Mowgli programmes, our foundation setting begins with a half day Mentoring Awareness Session (MAS) which, as the name suggests, is aimed at helping people to experience what mentoring is in practice, and its value whilst fitting it into the context of the programme.

Pictures taken by: Ahmad Daghlas

This is exactly what we did in the West Bank and Gaza in September as we officially kicked off activities supporting the Oxfam OPTI Mentoring Programme. This programme is aimed at promoting the economic contribution of small-scale agricultural producers, empowering them to create more income generating opportunities for themselves which will pour into the economic development of their communities.

Why agribusiness? In the West Bank and Gaza, data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) shows a decreasing employment trend within agriculture sector. In the first quarter of 2019, employment decreased by 16 percent, a figure that represents a drop of 1,803 jobs. In addition to the high unemployment predicament, food insecurity is an additional socio-economic risk within the region; challenges that Oxfam OPTI are working to mitigate through this programme.

The Mentoring Awareness Sessions gave over 220 professionals the opportunity to learn more about the programme, and interact with mentoring first hand, to understand, and distinguish it from other approaches of building human capital.

Within this programme, we’re leading on the selection and preparation of 45 professionals sourced from Oxfam’s partners and incubators in the West Bank and Gaza, who will be trained as 360-degree mentors supporting the personal and professional development of their matched mentees. The target mentees are entrepreneurs and innovators developing solutions in agribusiness, and professionals offering support services in areas such as agronomy.

With participant selection currently on-going, the next notable phase of the project will take place next month when Mowgli will deliver Kickstart workshops to train selected professionals as mentors.

The Oxfam OPTI mentoring programme is being delivered under the Integrated Market Development Programme funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)