Being a good mentor to Afghan female internsThe USAID Promote: Women in Government project provides female interns with an opportunity to gain meaningful, hands-on work experience in a field of interest by providing internship opportunities at partner ministries. This helps the female interns to pursue and advance their career path with the government.

The 16 pilot interns who are currently completing their three-months of practical work at the partner ministries have successfully acquired knowledge and experience on how the systems and policies of Afghan government work and how to apply the modern approaches of management to their daily activities. To provide additional guidance and support to these interns during their practicum period, the project has identified seven mentors to coach the interns on a daily basis.

Mr. Essa Khaterzai, the Organization Development and Capacity Building Manager at the Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC), mentors three project interns. As a mentor, Mr. Khaterzai demonstrates positive attitude during work and values picking up new skills every day. In order to ensure that his mentees are engaged in meaningful work, Mr. Khaterzai prepares quarterly work plans for the interns to guide them in their on-the-job training.

In addition, Mr. Khaterzai makes it a point to meet with his mentees daily to provide support, guidance and feedback on their assigned tasks as needed. This further proves his commitment to meeting the objectives of the internship program and also his mentorship role. “I feel proud that I am able to share my knowledge and skills with the interns to help them learn, practice, and find their career path,” says Mr. Khaterzai.

Connecting the interns with exciting job opportunities is one of Mr. Khaterzai’s top priorities. He collaborates closely with the interns to identify vacant positions that are of interest and suitable for the interns. Once identified, Mr. Khaterzai coaches the interns on the application process and provides guidance on how to present themselves as strong candidates during the interview process. Having the qualities of a good mentor - the willingness to share skills, knowledge and expertise - Mr. Khaterzai passionately shares his knowledge and expertise so that his interns can become good mentors for other female interns in the future.