A critical part of the work the Greens do internationally is to help grow the capacity of green parties worldwide. If you’ve ever been interested in learning more firsthand while making a huge difference at the same time, Anita Nautiyal of the Asia-Pacific Greens Federation’s Women’s Network shares more – as well as an opportunity to get involved.
BY ANITA NAUTIYAL
Mentoring Program Coordinator, APGFWN
he Asia-Pacific and Middle East region includes countries with the lowest political representation of women in the world. Our aim was to build it from the ground up by training women in Green politics through one-on-one mentoring programs, as well as other programs such as training, webinars and online toolkits. We are well aware of the challenges women are facing to become a force in politics and the difficulties of overcoming centuries of oppression.
The Asia Pacific Greens mentorship program was initiated in November 2017 with the Australian Greens International Development Committee (IDC) support – for the purpose of developing partnerships, furthering skills, and the sharing of experiences between key women in Asia, Pacific and Middle East Green parties.
The mentorship program is a special chance to learn more from Green women leaders around the world to develop knowledge and skills in politics, campaigns and organising. It helps to connect mentors with their mentees, to empower women from the countries of Asia Pacific, and to learn from other mentors from any country of the world.
For more than five years now, the APGF Women’s Network with the Australian Greens IDC has been breaking new ground by introducing women to Green politics. Our mentoring projects started with a small pilot with four pairs and now it is building each year.
We have now built up to two intakes a year for ten women paired with mentors form across the globe, with a special emphasis of the support of Green women from the Australian Greens such as Senator Janet Rice, Michelle Sheather (IDC Coordinator), Apsara Sabratnam, Linda Eisler, Daile Kelliher, Jenny Leong, Kavith Krishnan, Stephaine Hodhings and Cathy Peters.
omen have been encouraged to get more deeply involved in Green politics and take on more challenging roles in their national party executives, as well as office bearers in the APGF Women’s Network. We have done this through mentoring, skills development, training, and real-life experiences in a supportive group with the support of various well-established leaders.
Our work has also motivated member parties to adopt and apply ideas to increase women’s participation as members, leaders, and candidates. We have shown them what is possible in our region and they are willing to try new ways.
Over this time we have mentored many women. Currently, the program has mentees from Nepal, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Lebanon and Iraq. These mentees are in the key roles within their parties and the Asia Pacific Women’s Network like Vice President, Co President, Co Convenors, Secretaries, Treasurer and Fundraiser. This year for the first time we have a strong majority of women as councillors representing national parties in the APGF Council (decision-making body).
The program also encourages the mentees to be the future mentors and start mentoring the mentees in vernacular languages. Currently we have four mentees-turned-mentors from Nepal, India, Mongolia and soon Pakistan.
Rachana Shrestha is the secretary of the Nepali Green party. She started out as a mentee, an experience she says opened her eyes. “There are so many possibilities, and they are so close if you want to catch them!” she says. “The mentorship program has given me the skills and confidence to lead and advocate for what I believe in.”
To date, 30 mentees have been mentored by 19 different mentors. The commitment is for ten months with the option to extend informally upon the agreement of both the mentor and mentee. Issues to be covered include public speaking and articulating your viewpoint; developing strategies; and developing policies. The mentors and mentees will meet on Skype or Zoom monthly at an agreed time, with an agreed agenda ahead of the meeting. A manual for the mentorship training is also available.
e invite you to be part of our exciting Green women’s mentoring program for women in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East. This is a special chance to learn more from Green women leaders around the world to develop knowledge and skills in politics, campaigns and organising.
The commitment will be for ten months, wherein you can be available for at least two to four hours per month. You will need an interest in Green politics and women’s empowerment and women’s related issues.
Ideally, you will have been involved in Green politics for more than four to five years (though this can be discussed). We ask that you have a commitment to the Global Greens, the Global Greens Women's Network, the APGF and/or the APGFWN, and are a current member of the Australian Greens. We provide an annual training for mentors and a biannual training for the women being mentored (mentees).
Mentoring is a two-way street. Mentors can benefit in a number of different ways: you get to learn the socio-political culture of different countries; you get immense satisfaction seeing your mentee grow; and the lessons you teach can be a good reminder for yourself.
Mentorship also forces you to step back and gain perspective, and grow your leadership capacity.
Sound like something you’d like to get involved in? If you would like to become a mentor, we have a program starting in March 2023. Find out more by contacting our mentoring team directly at email@example.com; or contact the Australian Greens International Development Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.