Girls Group Mentoring Toolkit

This Girls Group Mentoring Toolkit provides the tools, resources and support to create, implement, deliver and evaluate a quality group mentoring program for girls, ages 9-13, in your community. The Toolkit is intended to be used in a range of communities, and can be adapted to the unique values, needs, strengths and challenges that each community encompasses.

Planning Your Program

Start With the Outcome in Mind

When embarking on a journey, it is important to begin with the outcome in mind. Before you begin to plan program activities, step back and be very intentional in identifying who the program is for, the outcomes you wish to foster through your program and how you will deliver these results. Investing time in setting out a clear focus at the beginning will pay dividends later; you will be more effective in setting objectives, designing program elements and choosing specific activities that achieve the results you intend. You will also be better equipped to complete reports on the results of your program.

Some of the questions posed when designing your program plan may have already been covered in other sections of this toolkit in more detail. In planning your program, you want to be sure you have given due consideration to these questions. The following steps offer a series of questions that can assist you in thinking through parts of the program plan.

a) Define the target group for your program

Begin by defining who the program is intended for.

  • Who are the girls the program is intended to serve? For example:
        • Girls in a specific geographic area? Neighbourhood or city-wide?
        • Girls from a specific cultural group?
        • Girls already attending specific schools?
        • Girls with existing relationships to specific community or cultural organizations?
  • What age group are you choosing to serve?
  • Why were these groups chosen?
  • What are the needs of these specific groups?
  • What assumptions are inherent in your needs assessment (e.g. barriers to attendance)? How can these assumptions be confirmed with girls themselves, other partners or stakeholders to ensure an accurate view of needs (e.g. talk with parents, community groups or schools)?
  • What is the anticipated demand? How is this determined? (e.g. historical enrolment, wait lists, estimated number of families in an area or attending a school, etc.). How can you test the accuracy of this forecast (i.e. how will this translate into actual registrations)?
  • How will you conduct outreach to these groups?

Investing time in this analysis and in dialogue with important stakeholders (e.g. community groups, schools, parents and families) can strengthen the credibility of requests for funds, space, partner supports and other resources.

b) Define the desired outcomes for the program.

The desired results of the program should be very clear. Girls group mentoring programs may have multiple levels of outcomes both for girls and for communities. It is important to be clear on the outcomes for each level in order to be effective in setting and achieving the goals required to meet these outcomes. Some things to consider include:

Individual Description Program Outcomes Examples

Girl Participants

The mentees in the program receiving mentorship from older girls or adults

Increased self-confidence, increased physical activity, increased communication skills, more positive attitudes toward school, broader awareness of their geographic or cultural community, increased connections in the community.

Mentors

Older girls or adults providing mentorship to girls

Experience in mentoring, increased leadership skills, meaningful volunteer experiences to reference in their resume, increased connections in the community.

Program Staff

Paid staff providing leadership and facilitation within the program

Greater understanding of girls, stronger leadership capacities, increased connection to community, increased facilitation/ organizational skills.

Community Members

Program partners, trainer, program presenter, volunteer, etc

Increased connection to community, greater sense of leadership, greater understanding of girls, new skills development.


c) Outline the vision for the program

Given the outcomes identified, it is important to describe the program model and program objectives that will enable you to deliver these outcomes. Specifically:

  • What is the focus of the program?
  • What is the duration of the program (i.e. start and end date)?
  • What is the projected scale and size?
  • What are key resources? What tasks must be undertaken for these resources to be secured, managed, and where relevant, evaluated? These resources could include: facilities, staff, volunteers, training, equipment, food, transportation, activity materials and supports.

d) Develop your plan for acquiring the program’s required resources

Ensuring that your program has sufficient resources to achieve the intended outcomes is an important step. Consider the following questions:  

  • Who are potential partners that are already doing similar work, or are already working with this target population? Are they willing to work together for the enhanced effectiveness of all?
  • Who are the key partners needed for the delivery of the various components of the program? (e.g. schools contracted for facilities, community groups for referrals of girls or guest speakers). Do relationships exist with these partners? If not, can these relationships be brokered by another community partner?
  • Who are the relevant funders that could help address any shortfall of resources? What are their funding criteria and timelines? What is their application process and requirements (e.g. a partnership)?

Contact: mentoringgirls(at)canadianwomen.org