Is Mentorship The Turning Point In Nepal Politics

Is Mentorship The Turning Point In Nepal Politics

June 30, 2024, 8:30 a.m.

In the current political landscape, the surge of youthful participation in 2022 elections has sparked a dynamic wave of change and fresh perspectives. With this, the perpetual debate between old, experienced hands and new, fresh perspectives continues to define and refine the course of governance and leadership.

Mentorship is a nascent concept in Nepal. Mentorship in politics is not only a way of fostering continuity but a vital mechanism, for nurturing talent and building a new generation of ethical leaders. “Mentorship plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between education and practical knowledge through the guidance and wisdom of mentors”, mentions PratigyaSimkhadaBanskota, the political advisor at the Embassy of Switzerland in Nepal. She asserts, “The mentor-mentee relationship channels ideas, thoughts, and energies effectively, steering them towards impactful outcomes while helping avoid common pitfalls”.

Politics, as a sector, requires the understanding of historical context navigating legislative processes and understanding the complexities of development and policy. The mentorship relationship here becomes a medium to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, invaluable insights and experience. These insights surpass what can be learnt from textbooks alone providing first hand perspectives on government complexities, constituency needs and the art of fostering consensus among diverse viewpoints.

NingmarDongba, former ward chief of LikhuTamakoshi rural municipality says “There are a lot of things we know but we aren’t able to confirm about turning the thought into action. This is where mentorship becomes a guiding light.” With thought-provoking insights and discussions mentorship helps navigate the challenges effectively and helps understand why the thought was wrong or right and how it can be refined to bring about a better outcome.

Mentorship is a dynamic partnership where both mentor and mentee play crucial roles. It transcends hierarchical differences; the mentor should view the mentee not merely as subordinate but as a person brimming with potential and capability - a catalyst for positive change. By embracing this perspective, mentors can overcome biases and concentrate on harnessing strengths while addressing areas for improvement. This approach fosters a profound sense of fulfillment for both parties, enriching the mentorship experience.

Honorable Renu Chand, a member of National Assembly mentions “I should be able to see a friend and a guardian in my mentor’. She emphasizes that effective mentorship thrives on a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. This foundation allows for openness and flexibility while ensuring that the hierarchical structure remains intact.

In navigating the complexities of mentorship, the key lies not in blurring lines but in striking a harmonious balance. It's about respecting the hierarchy while embracing the camaraderie that defines a meaningful mentorship relationship. This ensures that mentorship remains a powerful force for growth and development, benefiting both mentors and mentees alike.

Conversely, for the mentee, respect forms the cornerstone of this relationship, analogous to any other meaningful connection. It involves valuing the mentor's guidance and expertise, recognizing their role in facilitating growth and development. The focus should extend beyond networking benefits to a genuine eagerness to learn and enhance one's skills, thereby maximizing the mentorship's impact.

In essence, effective mentorship thrives on mutual respect, openness to learning, and a shared commitment to personal and professional growth. When both mentor and mentee approach the relationship with these principles in mind, they create a fertile ground for learning, innovation, and mutual satisfaction. This collaborative effort not only enhances individual capabilities but also strengthens the fabric of leadership and mentorship within organizations and communities.

Mentorship inspires the mentee to become a mentor in the future as they understand the crucial importance that mentorship has had in their career and in their life. This in turn creates a ripple effect where the culture of mentorship develops and flourishes multiplying the positive impacts.

Chand mentions “The concept of mentorship is talked about but had not fully been implemented. There needs to be an articulation of thoughts between the seniors to bridge the generational divide. This helps foster the internal dynamics of the party as well as the collaborative effort.”

A problem also is that the leaders don’t know at what phase they can call themselves mentors. Most of our leaders are seniors in age they have taken a log of time to reach that position and it looks like if mentorship culture will not be developed then the youth leaders will also be old by the time they reach the position where they can lead and have a say in the decision making.

While it is important is the mentor must see potential in the mentee and the mentee must also work hard enough to prove that they are capable of handling the political party and taking it to heights, the political party that their senior leaders have built with decades of effort. They must not forget that a mentor is always a mentor there is no point in life where you can say that I don’t need a mentor anymore. As you grow with time and experience so does your mentor. One must always be grateful to the culture. This culture of gratitude takes a person long way ahead in life.

TulasaLataAmatya, former advisor to UN Women mentions “Mentorship is not just a passing tradition but an essential component of effective political leadership and democratic governance. It helps a mentee turn a thought into a long term vision. It allows individuals to think moves beyond immediate electoral cycles and allows individuals and consider the broader impact of their decisions on society and future generations.”

Mentorship programs in politics play a crucial role in promoting diversity and inclusion within government institutions. They encourage underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, and young people, to participate actively in politics by providing them with the necessary support, encouragement, and advocacy. Mentors can help break down barriers and empower mentees to overcome systemic challenges they might face.

Anju Acharya, the former deputy mayor of DupcheshworGaupalika of Nuwakot district mentions “When political leaders convene in such programs, they facilitate the exchange of experiences and mutual learning. This interaction fosters deeper understanding and connection among individuals, transcending political divides. Ultimately, this collaborative spirit is crucial for nation-building, with cooperation serving as its cornerstone.”

While the ongoing discourse underscores the dynamic tension between tradition and innovation. It highlights the importance of bridging generational divides through collaborative dialogue and mentorship. The wealth of experience and vitality and innovative thinking in the political discourse enables the contemporary challenges to be addressed more effectively. As the true essence of effective governance lies not in age-based rivalry but in the symbiotic relationship between seasoned wisdom and youthful energy.

(Kharel is the host and producer of Inspiring Women and Global Perspectives talk shows.)

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