WONDER Foundation Discusses Mobility Mentoring During the EMPath Disrupting Poverty Conference in Boston

Olivia Darby, Chief Programmes Officer at WONDER Foundation, attending EMPath's conference about disrupting poverty, in Boston in March 2024

Exploring WONDER Foundations’s Presence at the EMPath Conference: Insights and Reflections 

The EMPath conference was a two-day public conference in Boston where policy makers, academics, practitioners, and philanthropists from all over the world came together to discuss topics relating to economic mobility and establish what is disrupting poverty. These topics included affordable housing, asset building, guaranteed income, and eliminating the racial wealth gap.  

WONDER’s Participation in the EMPath Conference

Olivia Darby, our Chief Programmes Officer, gave a presentation about WONDER’s work on Mobility Mentoring. She shared what a great opportunity it was to “learn from practitioners and experts about their experience of what makes mentoring impactful and essential to the success of the typically very vulnerable women that they are also working with”.  

The Relationship Between EMPath and WONDER 

WONDER began its partnership with EMPath in 2020, allowing us to access their training and resources. WONDER adapted these resources to share with our partners, allowing them to reflect on our mentoring practice and implement the EMPath method in a number of contexts. Olivia highlights the benefits of Mobility Mentoring, and how it “doesn’t look at women as people with deficits, but as women who already have strengths and achievements and capacities that they can build upon once they recognise them”. This approach is central to the work of both EMPath and WONDER, enabling this seamless partnership.  

WONDER’s Work with Mobility Mentoring  

Olivia’s presentation drew attention to elements of the Mobility Mentoring projects. These included using influential leaders, providing relevant training content, and communicating in an appropriate language, to make the programme attractive.  

As Olivia shares, Mobility Mentoring aims to “build women’s capacities by always recognising their existing capacities”. This is fundamental to the work of WONDER and our partners, as for Mobility Mentoring to be successful, it is critical that we know and understand the women, including their background, their boundaries, and the challenges they face.  

Creating safe and empowering spaces for women to learn is essential to the success of Mobility Mentoring. This can be achieved by running the training programmes in spaces where women feel comfortable, treating women with patience and empathy, ensuring confidentiality, and communicating well with the women.  

Mobility Mentoring in Action: The Mwangaza Project in Kenya

Mobility Mentoring has been applied in Kenya through the Mwangaza Project. This project aims to train 600 women in business skills through the Fanikisha training programme, and 200 women in vocational skills.  

The Mwangaza Project: Fanikisha Training Programme 

The Fanikisha training programme provides nine months of business skills training to impoverished women in rural Kenya. This locally adapted Mobility Mentoring programme incorporates mentoring as a tool to reinforce training content, and to provide an avenue for creating support groups for other women.  

Mobility Mentoring in Action: The Baytree Centre in Brixton, London

WONDER’s work in Mobility Mentoring began in 2017 through our partnership with the Baytree Centre, a social inclusion charity working in Brixton, London. Mobility Mentoring was introduced to formalise WONDER’s approach to mentoring and coaching.  

Mentoring: A Key Pillar to WONDER Foundation 

As a core pillar to WONDER’s work, mentoring works to compliment the work we do to provide access to resources. As we recognise access to these resources is not enough, mentoring plays a key role in empowering women and girls and allowing them to succeed.  

Author: Emily Gander

EMPath conference in Boston, disrupting poverty
Olivia Darby, Chief Programmes Officer at WONDER Foundation speaking at the EMPath conference in Boston
Corporate volunteering in London Team building

Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.