A living, functioning network – The ANLP Alumni

On Sunday 10th March 2019, the Mentorship & Networking Committee of the African Nutrition Leadership Programme hosted the Mentorship Workshop. As a committee, we decided to be INNOVATIVE and UNFORGETABLE, just as we had been taught during the leadership and communications training sessions.

For mentorship to take place there needs to be mentors and mentees. In our case, the ANLP delegates were the mentees and we found ourselves needing mentors. Those who will support us, questions us, hold us accountable and challenge us. That is when we got our “Aaah-Haaa moment”. We decided to involve the over 400 ANLP Alumni in our workshop. Yes, even if they are scattered across the continent and even the world, we wanted to draw on them. We posted our request on the ANLP Facebook Page. We asked the Alumni to record a 3-minute video on their mentorship experiences and send to us. We were not sure of anyone would respond! We were so humbled and super excited to get a response from a number of experienced nutrition leaders who were willing to be part of our ANLP experience. We take this opportunity to convey special thanks to Nonsi Mathe, Katie Perreira, Bianca van der Westhuizen, Arthur Pagiwa and Wise Letsa who submitted videos – we felt their presence in the room. Also thanks to Averalda who took the time to write us a message as she was travelling and to the many other Alumni who have posted messages of encouragement on the Facebook page and been reading the daily blog. Below are few pictures of the ANLP delegates paying great attention to what our mentors had to say about mentorship.

To listen or not to listen!

As a 2019 ANLP delegate, I was amazed at how quickly my listening skills were put into action. First I had to listen on the high ropes. I mean hell, I did not want to take any chances up there! But real listening should not only happen when we feel under threat.

Developing into a  leader, means developing your listening skills. This was emphasised in a TED Talk by Ernesto Sirolli, explaining what he learnt while working in Africa - “If you want to help someone, shut up and listen.” (Watch it here).


The 17th ANLP seminar launched on March 5 and is now on its sixth day.  The East African region is highly represented with four participants from Kenya and three others from Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi. I believe others are yet to come in the second group as this year our unforgettable event will be held twice.

In an inspiring session today, a call to action was presented, asking the ANLP alumni to arise and make mentorship great again! The participants who are currently filled with motivation and drive challenged the ANLP support team to stand with them and call for an ANLP Alumni network programme.

"When in doubt, Be kind to Herman"

I know you are probably wondering who Herman is? Am I writing about the German Pulitzer prize winner Hermann Karl Hesse? I am in fact referring to the infamous father of one, jack of all trades, who began his professional journey in astrophysics then took a detour to study microbiology just to win the heart of the woman of his dreams and later settled in the field of nutrition. Some might know him as the introvert who moonlights as a tech-wiz with particular interest in virtual reality. And in fact, if you ask any of the ANLP alumni from the last 6 years, they will tell you that they know him as the knight in shining armour. Herman been a help to many stranded teams, at ungodly hours, in their struggle to publish newsletters overnight, after a busy day, to be ready for reading by 7am. So kindly and selflessly he has saved the day with a smile. He leads from where he stands. It is now clear to me why on that fateful night lightning struck a rock tablet and declared “Be kind to Herman”.


I could sit down in chalet 8 of the Elgro River Lodge looking through the window at the serene natural environment while writing about boosters of confidence.  This, however, would have you rolling your eyes at theoretical stuff. Instead, I choose to write about Zainab, a participant in the 2019 ANLP.  A true-life story. A drama that unfolded before my eyes and captivated my attention.

Zainab made up her mind from the start not to have a thing to do with the physical exercises that are part of the ANLP, least of all the high ropes challenge. At the sight of the 14-meter colossal structure that held the high ropes, she with a scowl on her face reiterated her resolve,” there is no way I am going on that death trap!” I was sure the no go was sealed when I looked down at her feet where instead of a pair of sneakers, she wore an open slipper. How she developed selective amnesia concerning the type of shoes to bring and wear for this exercise is beyond me, because she wore a proper sports outfit, except for the shoes. 

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