On Wednesday, 18 November 2020, the Katuka Mentorship Programme acknowledged 31 mentors and mentees who completed this year's intake. It also introduced 48 participants as next year's candidates.
Bank Windhoek's Head of Corporate Social Investment, Sponsorship and Events, Bronwyn Moody, said: "In February, we committed to sponsoring the Programme because as connectors of positive change, we believe that it plays a critical role in empowering women in the small to medium enterprise sector," she said, as she commended the Programme's continuation regardless of COVID-19 challenges. "Thank you to the leaders of the Programme for going virtual with this year's sessions and not merely cancelling it, and for all the hard work and commitment between mentors and mentees."
With Bank Windhoek as the primary sponsor, the Programme aims to empower and encourage entrepreneurs, business, and professional women to succeed in their careers through mentorship by seasoned business-minded and professional women. It was launched in 2001 by the late Lena Markus, a former Businesswoman of the Year in the category Corporate/Professional. "The Programme matches a mentee and mentor with a similar personal and professional interest in the process of support, sharing, and learning to help entrepreneurs and businesswomen who want to start up, successfully run or achieve success in their existing field of business and reach their full potential," said the Programme's Organiser, Desèré Lundon-Muller.
In its nineteenth year, the Katuka Mentorship Programme has produced significant results in the participating mentees' careers. To date, 401 entrepreneurs and businesswomen have completed it. Entrepreneur Rauna Hekandjo, who spoke on behalf of the 2020 participants, said although business was challenging due to COVID-19, being part of the Programme was beneficial as it allowed her to become innovative and seek solutions to tackle problems. “We learned a lot about financial management, and are grateful to Bank Windhoek and the Katuka Mentorship Programme for this opportunity," said Hekandjo.
Brief 2021 Programme overview
The 2021 participants will kick off the Katuka Mentorship Programme with orientation training in February 2021, with the second and third gatherings scheduled to take place in April and August. The mentors and mentees are as follows:
Mentors: Abena Tambrescu; Ailly Hangula-Paulino; Eunice Ajambo; Annemarie van der Riet; Naita Awene; Mathilde Ishitile; Kobie du Preez; Erika Preuss; Simonee Shihepo; Gloria Kapingana; Khiba Ritta; Profijt Louise; Helene Vosloo; Njembo Janet; Shaanika Ndawedapo; Olivia Nghaamwa; Rebekka Tangi Amakali and Louise Brown.
Mentees: Abasha Tjipetekera; Belinda Karuaihe; Ebby Avula Hamukwaya; Emma Claasen; Imelda Hoebes; Joyce Luanda; Justina Ndimba; Kiselle Clarke; Ksveria Hambabi; Leena Iipumbu; Mariana Shaakumeni; Martha Kanyemba; Martha Kautanevali; Ndeshi Kakwambi; Nelly Mwawedange; Olivia Mwanyekange; Ravioli Kooper; Rejoice Hoaes; Roselda Jantjies; Saara Niitenge; Selma Benjamin; Twakondja Povanhu; Victoria Luanda and Zelna Garoes.
With renowned human resource specialist Sabine Ruegg as its trainer, the Katuka Mentorship Programme is open to all women with Namibian citizenship. It requires participants to desire to learn, develop, and commit to its activities for a year. After scheduling events and meetings, both the mentors and mentees meet for training sessions. "Congratulations to all graduates and all the best to 2021's intakes," concluded Moody.