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Self efficacy through mentorship and role modeling....

How can we help women overcome various challenges - build women’s self efficacy (confidence) and improve access to information

The challenges range from lack of access to education, poverty, unemployment, social discrimination and cultural practices that endanger women.

In some communities in Kenya (and in Africa) a girl may be forcefully undergo FGM and usually after the procedure she is considered ready for marriage. Early marriage denies her right education.

Many girls living in slums and rural areas cant afford to but sanitary towels due to poverty. when they are on their menses, they stay away from school for fear of embarrassment in case they soil themselves. It affects their academic performance.

Other challenges (not limited to Kenya) include the lack of the ability to negotiate for their sexual rights and this puts women’s health at risk , gender based violence . Some women believe that if your husband doesn’t beat you, then he doesn’t love you…

So, here is a woman who was forced out of school to get married and is living in an emotionally or physically of abusive relationship. Because she training she doesn’t know how to start a business and can’t leave her husband. He is her sense of security. How will she take care of her children? If she leaves her husband society may reject her.

This woman is neighbor, your sister, auntie or friend. Afraid she hopes that her daughter’s life won’t be a replay of hers. Her self esteem is in tatters. Can she get any help? YES she can. But where can she get the information she needs? Lack of access to knowledge she needs is her other problem.

Suggested solutions

1. A girls mentorship program and social modeling to build this woman’s and her daughters self efficacy. According to Albert Bandura self efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation. Social Modeling, witnessing other people successfully completing a task is another important source of self-efficacy.

“Seeing people similar to oneself succeed by sustained effort raises observers' beliefs that they too possess the capabilities master comparable activities to succeed” (1994).

In Swahili we have a saying samaki hukunjwa angali mbichi. Translated meaning is you start coaching children when they are still young. A network of professional women willing to be mentees…for Kenyan school girls is necessary. Are you one of them…?

Were once in the position of the woman above. Would you help another women out?

2. How about a Women’s mobile internet cafes? This will help overcome the lack of access to shave access to the many resources on the web that gives the knowledge that helps them make informed decisions. I haven’t figured out how to overcome the language barriers, any ideas?

3.Strengthen the capacity of the organizations already in the field. Sometimes all they need is training and an email leading them on the right direction for training or accesses to resources. Why reinvent the wheel?

World Pulse is a good place to start connecting the dots...

Bandura, A. (1994). Self-efficacy. In V. S. Ramachaudran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior,4. New York: Academic Press, pp. 71-81.



Jency's picture

Vicious cycle

It is a vicious cycle if you do not educate your children. I read recently that these children inherit their parents' poverty. I am sure your solution will work, if you are able to gather up enough women who will be willing to offer their expertise. How is the voluntary sector in Kenya?


I hope things are back to normal after the disaster.

YAOtieno's picture


Those are encouraging words. I hope it actually works. I want to learnform organizations that have mentorship progreammes. Do you know of any ?

Yes hings are calmer. It happened when i was sin bed so sometimes I dream that my bed is shaking and i wake up scared ...otherwise I am good, I will cope

Thanks for reading my article


A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Grace Wanene's picture

Great Minds Think Alike

Hi Y, (kinda sounds like a tongue twister! )

Like the subject says, great minds think alike. So the word I have been looking for all this time is "self efficacy"? Thanks for building my vocab. I would give anything to see more women in Kenya believing in their ability to succeed. Because lets face it, it's hard for older women to mentor young girls when they don't believe in themselves. Let's join hands and make this thing happen!

Kind Regards,

YAOtieno's picture


Thanks Love,

Lets keep this conversation going ...on inbox.



A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Beverly Rose's picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your stories. I work a a domestic violence advocate on this little island in Hawaii. Unfortunately, violence against women is universal, but there is hope! And you and your ideas are a big part of this hope. Empowering women - building self efficacy - strengthens one side of this equation. And believe it or not, there are men out there who are helping to overcome patriarchal beliefs and behaviors (just not enough of them!).

You ask good questions and have good ideas. I would like to know more how you would use World Pulse to 'connect the dot's.

Wishing you much success in your endeavors.
in peace,

YAOtieno's picture


Hi Beverly,

Thanks for reading and sharing what you do. Indeed I agree with you that there are many men who help to overcome patriarchal beliefs. My grandfather who i consider my hero and my father are among the many good examples that I have learnt from.

World pulse is place I come for many reasons. It is a place for connection - connecting people, ideas, organization to each other, I t is a place I cam learn from people who are already working with women and share their stories, It is a rich source of information and resources that I could share with other women who don't have access to the net. It is a place I link yo with people like you who ask thought provoking questions that helps me think about my next steps or plans. Besides that I is also a great place for inspiration... the list is endless. What I need most is guidance. And I hope to get it here.



A candle looses nothing my lighting another

sarahmol's picture

Great ideas you offer. I

Great ideas you offer. I agree that the answer to empowering women is through building their self-confidence. It's heartbreaking to think of all the formal and informal ways that women have been told they are not good enough. It is hard to gain confidence from within out of no where. It is a great idea for women who have overcome obstacles and insurmountable odds to tell their stories and mentor young women to do the same and start believing in themselves. I hope one day, with people like you helping, we will get to a place that you and I imagine.

YAOtieno's picture


Thanks Sara,

Yur comments. It reminds me of a stay of an eaglet that once lived among chicken ( I haven o idea about the details of how the egg got mixed up:-) For a long time it did not know it could fly until someone told it it was an eagle ,,,and then it found its freedom. Women have for a long time been programmed to think like chicks and have walked with our head bent down when we could actually fly as high as eagles,,,

Thanks for the encouraging words...and happy to connect with you.



A candle looses nothing my lighting another

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