Mai Khidir & Ola Diab

Founded in 2013, Al Sudaniya Mentoring (ASM) is an initiative that works to empower, engage, and inspire young Sudanese ladies to become confident and pioneering leaders of the future. The six months online mentoring programme provides young Sudanese women with the tools and resources to become engaging leaders and make a difference in their communities in Sudan. It provides them with the support, guidance, and training they need in order to unlock their full potential and reach great heights.

ASM is currently preparing for the 4th year of the ASM Programme. Beginning with just five mentees in 2014, a total of 35 girls have graduated from the programme to date. Fifty five mentors from 8 countries across the globe have participated in the ASM programme. Eighty percent of ASM’s mentees and mentors continue to stay in contact after the completion of the programme.

Mentees during a session hosted by ASM. Image Credit; Mai Khidir

Being selected as a mentee in the programme was described as an incredible opportunity.

“I was unsure about joining, as I thought it may interfere with my studies; however I decided that this was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, and I applied.” Abeer Abdalrahman, ASM Mentee 2016

“I remember the moment when I was informed that I was selected to be a mentee in Al Sudaniya Mentoring (ASM). It was a turning point in my life.” Azza Abdelmagid, ASM Mentee 2016.

Many of the mentees described the positive impact the programme had on their lives.

“The ASM programme taught me how to respect time, realizing that time is the greatest value human beings have. I learnt that every person is unique and valuable in his/her own way. Now I’m completely okay with our differences and I’m passionate about the diversity in our community.” Abrar Alaliem, ASM Mentee 2016

“The programme developed me in a number of ways. Academically, I became capable of achieving the highest set of goals I set for myself. Career-wise, my mentor helped me learn how to build up my resume, and how to take advantage of the opportunities that are available for me in order to outdo myself. Personally, I started recognizing a better, more confident, optimistic, and self-driven leader blooming every day.” Waad Oways, ASM Mentee 2015

Class for 2015 at their graduation. Image Credit; Mai Khidir

Mentees also described the strong connection they had with their mentors, who were able to support and guide them to reach their goals.

“When I was matched to my lovely, kind and helpful mentor, she helped me become better and successful in many ways.” Abeer Abdalrahman, ASM Mentee, 2016

“My mentor inspired me. The young beautiful artist pushed me forward and changed me for the better.” Abrar Alaliem, ASM Mentee 2016

“I found myself paired up with an astonishing mentor. This one-time experience became the door to a number of opportunities that I did not miss out on.” Waad Oways, ASM Mentee 2015

One mentee described her immense progress through the programme:

“Before ASM, I was just a dreamer with no guidance to show me how to reach my goals. I needed guidance. I was weak and had no ability to connect with or talk to people especially males. I had stage fright so I couldn’t share with others my opinions or ideas. Now, I am a girl with a large social network, a good public speaker, and I speak freely as well as share my ideas comfortably.” Abeer Abdalrahman, ASM Mentee, 2016

On the other hand, our mentors are the pillars on which the mentees build their capabilities; together they accomplish the programme goals. One mentor offered her sentiments on the programme:

“Al Sudaniya Mentoring (ASM) is a praiseworthy addition to the youth-run grassroots initiatives scene in Sudan and a fantastic platform for promoting positive social change in Sudan. For three years, ASM has provided me with an avenue to collaborate with remarkable and accomplished Sudanese women from all walks of life to develop and deliver to college-age women a robust curriculum covering a wide range of topics from career and personal development to women’s rights and feminism. Unified by our vision for a better Sudan, the team works tirelessly to ensure that the mentees’ experience is a valuable one. Personally, my experience as a mentor has been enjoyable, rewarding, and educational. The exchange of ideas and experiences between me and my mentees has opened my eyes to the reality on the ground – with all its opportunities and challenges – and allowed me to tailor the program to their context and needs and to better articulate the kind of impact we collectively want to have in Sudan. The diversity of topics covered as well as the practical project component the mentees lead is a strong indicator of the program’s dedication to creating real change- not only in the mentees’ lives, but also in their communities. Both the theoretical and practical pieces of the program complement each other and allow us to support the mentees in becoming better leaders and change agents in their communities.” Leena Zahir, ASM Mentor 2014-2016

Class of 2016 at their graduation in early 2017. Image Credit: Mai Khidir

Finally, we established solid partnerships with like-minded grassroots organizations and initiatives to propel our programme outcomes and further assist the mentees in accomplishing their goals and aspirations. Our partner Al Mustakbal has a few words to describe our ongoing partnership.

“ASM and AM began working with each other more than a year ago. Given both initiatives focus on youth development in Sudan, it only made sense to collaborate to boost impact on the ground. Our mutual support previously involved sharing knowledge, with one example being AM compiling detailed feedback on ASM mentees participation in our Internship Program; it also involved sharing lessons learned. What started off as basic support of one another’s activities is now a full strategic partnership with the aim of maximizing each other’s value-added to Sudan. AM is truly excited to now be sharing all of its intangible resources, including our global network and program content, to help ASM grow even more and reach its potential even faster. By working together, we believe we can only become better at what we do and reach new heights of youth development in Sudan.” Yahia Hassan, Executive Director, Al Mustakbal

We end with a final note by one of our mentees.

“The ASM programme is a life changing program that will help Sudanese ladies step out of the dark cramped room that they are stuck in, and as W.E.B. Dubois said “there is no force equal to a woman determined to rise” and here I learnt how to rise.” Abrar Alaliem, ASM Mentee 2016

Visit the ASM website to learn more about the initiative and find out how YOU can be part of one of the most groundbreaking programmes for young women in Sudan.


This post is also available in: Arabic