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Monday, May 15 • 15:00 - 15:45
Bridging the distance: Mobile mentorship for vulnerable girls in India LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

Mentoring works. But it’s time-consuming, expensive and difficult to scale. In an attempt to replicate an evidence-based analogue mentoring programme, Girl Effect, Praekelt.org and Mentor Together collaborated to create a new mobile mentoring programme—Mentor To Go— that attempts to overcome the distance, both literal and metaphorical, between vulnerable young girls and female mentors.

Building on Mentor Together’s tried-and-tested curriculum and offline mentorship programme, Mentor to Go leverages mobile technologies to reach girls in under-resourced environments in India. Girls are often denied access to mentorship for many reasons, including a shortage of female mentors, limits on their mobility, and programmes not catered to their needs. Mentor To Go overcomes these and other obstacles by providing girls and female mentors with a way to connect via mobile.

Female mentors, recruited via social media, undergo digital training and vetting before downloading an android app that provides them with the curriculum, guidance and a way of calling their mentees — for free. Once girls have been matched with a mentor, using a sophisticated algorithm, they use simple handsets to speak with their mentors and to engage with an interactive voice response (IVR) service that monitors their progress. Strict data safety and security protocols ensure that girls are protected and that the relationships are monitored closely.

Through this innovative solution, Mentor To Go improves the confidence of girls while providing them with life-skills they can use to fulfill their potential. With results from the pilot proving promising, the mobile platform is set to expand.

This case study will demonstrate how human-centered design was used to develop a technological equivalent of an existing offline programme and show how the Principles for Digital Development helped guide its creation. The presentation will also examine some of the early results from the pilot programme to suggest how technology can play a role in improving gender equity.

avatar for Namrata Baruah

Namrata Baruah

COO, Mentor Together
Namrata works at Mentor Together as its Chief Operating Officer. In her role, she oversees overall operations and has also led the creation of Mentor Together’s Work-Skills Mentoring Programme. In addition, Namrata contributes to the development of innovative programmes like the... Read More →
avatar for Praekelt.org


Praekelt.org leverages mobile technology to solve the world's largest social problems. We have delivered vital information and services to 100 million people in over 65 countries.

Monday May 15, 2017 15:00 - 15:45 IST