The Importance of Mentorship for Young Founders and Community Changemakers.

Ms. Nancie Prolyne
5 min readMay 22, 2024


Group discussion during the Washa ODSS sessions.

When you’re a young founder, no one really tells you how to grow your projects or navigate the ups and downs of leading a team. Often, we start with an idea and bring our friends on board, hoping to create something meaningful. However, mixing business with friendship can sometimes lead to problems and, ultimately, failure.

Imagine having a great idea but not knowing how to develop it, attract supporters, build effective systems, or secure funding. Many young community-based organizations (CBOs) make poor decisions due to a lack of knowledge about crucial elements such as team structures, leadership styles, communication strategies, and resource management. These missteps can hinder progress and impact the organization’s ability to achieve its mission.

The Founder Syndrome.

Teacher Andrew Adallah session on Founder Syndrome.

Young founders often feel they must do everything themselves, especially when they can’t afford to pay salaries. This mindset can be overwhelming and unsustainable, leading to burnout and stagnation. Without proper guidance, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be the “alpha and omega” (in teacher Andrew’s voice) of the project, which can stifle growth and innovation. Says Andrew Adallah lead of Pathway To Change Initiative (PCI). Some of us here have the keys to the office, and now that you are here then nothing is happening back in your communities because the headmaster is not present, he continues.

If something were to happen to the shop's owner, the shop would die too. This is something that has happened with so many beautiful young ideas.

The Washa Program By Akili Dada.

The Washa Program Shawries Who are Creating Impact in their communities😍

A few days ago, I was honoured to be part of the ODSS cohort 2 of the Washa Program by Akili Dada which brought together young Executives for a mentorship session on Organizational Development and system strengthening funded by Africa Women Development Fund read more about them.

Washa leverages the collective power of young women aged 18–35 to innovate solutions to pressing issues facing them and their communities. The program invests in women at different levels in their personal and professional journey by building their foundations and setting them up for growth and more substantive social and economic impact. Read more about it here

ODSS is a strategic capacity-building process that enhances local organizations’ capacity to address community problems by designing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating their intervention’s impact. It is a dynamic and outcomes-based participatory process that emphasizes organizational ownership.

Group discussion with the Dada’s ✨

The Role of Mentorship.

Mentorship plays a critical role in addressing these challenges. Programs like Washa Program by Akili Dada mentorship sessions provide valuable insights into handling various aspects of running an organization. Here’s why mentorship is indispensable for young founders and community leaders:

  1. Guidance and Knowledge Sharing:

Experienced mentors offer practical advice on building and growing initiatives. They help young leaders understand the intricacies of project management, team dynamics, and strategic planning.

2. Building Effective Systems:

Mentors can guide young founders in establishing robust systems and structures. This includes setting up departments, defining roles, creating vision and mission statements, and implementing monitoring and evaluation processes.

3. Resource Mobilization:

Fundraising and resource management are critical for any project. Mentors provide strategies for attracting funders, managing budgets, and ensuring sustainable growth.

4. Leadership Development:

Understanding different leadership styles and adopting the right approach for various situations is crucial. Mentors help young leaders develop their leadership skills, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation.

5. Volunteer Engagement:

Mentors emphasize the importance of involving volunteers. Volunteers can alleviate the workload, bring in fresh perspectives, and help the organization reach its goals more effectively.

The Impact of Mentorship.

ODSS Session with the Dada’s

Attending mentorship programs and working with experienced mentors can transform the trajectory of a young founder’s journey. These programs highlight the perfect ways to tackle challenges, make informed decisions, and achieve goals that benefit the community. By learning from those who have walked the path before, young leaders can avoid common pitfalls and implement best practices that enhance their projects’ impact.

So What Can Be Done To Ease Up:

  • First, we need to recognize the critical role of mentorship in helping young founders and leaders grow. By learning from experienced mentors, they can avoid common pitfalls and ensure their ideas have a lasting impact on their communities.
  • Embracing mentorship allows young leaders to focus on what truly matters — making a positive difference in their communities.
  • The journey of a young founder is filled with challenges, but with the right mentorship, these challenges can be transformed into opportunities for growth and success.
  • Mentorship provides the guidance, knowledge, and support necessary to build strong, impactful organizations.
Once A Dada always a Dada (Women creating spaces for the coming Generation) From left Editor with her sister, Nancy Mutola from Akili Dada and Petite.

Let’s celebrate and support all the young founders making a difference, and encourage a culture of mentorship to ensure a brighter future for our communities.

And now that we talking, I am a officially a monitoring and Evaluation Officer certified by Diana in the photo from Akili Dada, yeah you heard it right🤗



Ms. Nancie Prolyne

I am the #PeriodPreacher🩸 || Let’s talk menstruation | Poetry | Travel, Documentaries & Storytelling | Life Inspirations | Books.