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PSC encourages senior civil servants to mentor juniors

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is determined to equip public servants with knowledge and skills that will help them deliver services efficiently to the citizenry.

PSC Commissioner Dr. Mary Mwiandi said the Commission has partnered with Kenya’s Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa (ELF-Africa), Emerging Public Leaders (EPL) United States of America, and Chandler Institute of Governance (Singapore) to train emerging leaders, mentors, and coach public servants through the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship (PSELF) Programme.

The PSELF programme, launched in November 2021, aims to transform public service through adherence to ethics and professionalism, as well as inculcate values, principles, ethical leadership, and good governance amongst public servants.  

It also aspires to contribute to a transparent and ethical service at the national and county levels by recruiting young, exceptional talent in the civil service to improve public service delivery, manage government resources ethically and transparently, and build a cadre of high-achieving professionals.

Dr. Mwiandi said the intensive programme that trains newly employed public servants and their supervisors will help the officers adhere to the right ethics and values that will make them succeed in life and be innovative, productive, and efficient while performing their duties.

Public Service Commission Commissioner Amb. Patrick Wamoto speaking to Mentors from Public Service during the two-day Capacity Building Programme for Mentors and Coaches under the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship (PSELF) held at Sport-view Kasarani in Nairobi. Photo Courtesy

She also encouraged seasoned officers to hold the hands of the new employees in the service and mentor them well so that when they exit, they will leave a better place with more experienced officers.

“We should be people and a family who want change and to make the future better for the people we serve. Mentors should take on the role of father and mother to train the young men and women to become leaders,” said Dr. Mwiandi.

She stressed that public service has been losing people due to lack of mentors, noting that mentorship is not only done by the educated but anyone who has the will to hold one’s hand to mentor and train for success.

The Commissioner was speaking during a two-day capacity-building programme for mentors and coaches under the Public Service Emerging Leaders Fellowship (PSELF) at Sports View, Kasarani, in Nairobi.

She announced that the partnership has seen the first Cohort of 51 newly employed officers complete a one-year training programme and the commencement of training for the second cohort of 65 officers in April 2023, which focuses on putting citizens at the heart of public service, public service leadership, and ethics and skills for young leaders.

PSC is currently training 116 supervisors of the newly employed public servants who are identified as ‘Emerging Leaders and Fellows’ on mentorship and coaching that will see the supervisors identified as ‘Mentors’ not only mentoring the young officers but all they supervise in their workplaces.

“I urge you to support the new officers, work with them, hold their hands, walk with them, and guide them,” emphasised the Commissioner while giving an example of nationalist Tom Mboya, whom she described as a great mentor at age 24 for organising and taking several Kenyans to study in the United States of America.  

Dr. Mwiandi encouraged the mentors to have one-on one mentoring with mentees, distant mentoring, group mentoring, and conversations which must be open to allow easy sharing of information.

She said the mentoring programme will make Kenya have people who have the heart to serve humanity, and those employed will not only work because of the salary they receive but because they love the work they do.

Dr. Mwiandi assured the mentors of the commission’s support and encouraged them to perform the mentoring task diligently.

Lauding the mentorship programme, PSC Commissioner Amb. Patrick Wamoto said mentors give people an opportunity to prove themselves, which helps them excel in their careers.

He called upon the officers not to measure people by the size of their bodies but by what comes out of their brains, adding that the best style of training officers is to give them a task whose results will show the good officers.

“Training is good as it makes people tough and helps to pick those who are pushed up,” said Amb. Wamoto, and he encouraged the mentors not to fear failure but embrace it and take lessons from their failure.

Ms. Caren Wakoli, the Founder and Executive Director of Emerging Leadership Foundation Africa, commended supervisors across ministries who provide guidance, leadership, and mentorship to the younger generation.

She encouraged mentors in public service to continue holding the hands of the young public servants, as they need someone to nurture them and elevate them to their greatest potential, which will make them surpass their targets.

“The success of a mentor is to see a mentee rise higher than them. Many young people who have gone through this programme are working in high positions in other countries,” said Wakoli.

In his remarks, PSC’s Director of Performance Management and Service Delivery Improvement, Dr. Sylvester Obongo’ said the objective of the programme is to retain the young officers in the service and nurture and shape them to be good civil servants.

“We are in the public service to build and mould so that we can leave polished public servants to take over from those retiring or leaving the service,” he said. 

By Bernadette Khaduli

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