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Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
Clutterbuck Associates Partnering with the
Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
Clutterbuck Associates (CA) started working with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in the spring of 2010 as they were developing their Mentoring Women in Business programme, which aims at building capacity, confidence and ultimately capital through e-mentoring. The Foundation works globally to provide women with access to business development support, technology, networks and finance . Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs in countries where they lack equal opportunities, so they can grow their businesses and become greater contributors to their economies.
CA became the programme’s training and evaluation mentoring partner and participated in the launch of their pilot in July 2010. The programme combines
e-mentoring, access to web applications, ICT training and peer support to unlock the potential of women who want to start or expand their businesses in developing and transition countries. Following the pilot phase and once best practice is in place, the Foundation will scale up the programme to include a thousand women by 2013.
Clutterbuck Associates main area of support for the pilot programme has been in shaping the Mentors’ and Mentees’ training and designing and assessing the evaluation of the programme. Full evaluation at both a formative and summative level is essential not only to ensure that the programme processes are working effectively, and to highlight whether there are changes that can be made to improve these elements; but also to assess whether the original objectives of the programme have been met. With such ambitious numbers forecast, it is important for the programme to be working effectively for all involved to ensure success is maintained and outcomes are achievable. It is also imperative for all stakeholders involved to be assured that the original objectives of the programme have been met – to reassure them of the value of their involvement and to secure further support from potential new stakeholders.
Clutterbuck Associates have also supported the Foundation with:
- Consultancy and guidance around programme design and setup, recruitment of Mentors, designing of application forms
- Designing and running interactive workshops for mentors
- Designing and delivering a train the trainer session to enable the Programme Manager to deliver specialised Mentee workshops cost effectively at the mentee’s location
- Further support around review sessions with mentors
- Manuals and online resource documents
We are now working with the Foundation to ensure quality is maintained around the selection and training of participants while ensuring the scalability of the programme to larger numbers.
The Mentoring Women in Business programme’s pilot phase is now half-way through its duration and the Foundation and CA are currently processing the mid-point evaluation forms and analysing feedback gathered at a brainstorming/review meeting with the Mentors and from ad-hoc conversations with the Mentees.
Although the evaluation process is still at an early stage, there are many indications that the Mentees are finding the mentoring support valuable for developing their business and marketing plans and for achieving a higher level of confidence and clarity in their business ventures.
Through the use of technology the Mentors and Mentees are able to conduct their virtual mentoring relationship successfully. Many programme participants highlighted time, flexibility and cultural awareness as key elements for engaging in the
e-mentoring programme. Distance and cultural differences call for more time to develop the relationship, but the virtual meetings allow for great flexibility and creativity in the communication tools.
Based on the feedback received, the Foundation is working on developing the
e-mentoring platform further, by improving some of the management processes and by adding new features that will support the Mentees and Mentors in their relationships.
"Clutterbuck Associates immediately understood the innovative potential of our online mentoring programme and decided to engage from the very beginning. Their advice and practical support enabled us to focus our energy on engaging the right technology and offering our mentors and mentees the best service possible."
Giulia Corinaldi, Mentoring Project Manager