COVID-interrupted e-mentoring in Nepal

October 4, 2021

Late last year we announced our first group of e-mentors and e-mentees as part of our new E-mentoring Program. This program was launched to ensure that, despite COVID-19 and its travel and life restrictions, we could continue to help develop the technical and organisational skills and expertise of agricultural researchers, scientists and policy makers in developing countries.

This program builds on the success of our long term existing Mentoring Program, which has seen face-to-face interaction in overseas countries, backed up by electronic contact, and our conference scholar mentoring program, matching young NextGen researchers with experienced Australians who attend our conference.

We hope that these e-connections not only deliver positive and targeted skill-sharing outcomes, but also enduring connections between the Crawford Fund, the volunteering mentors and their mentees, and the institutions and countries involved.

We now present our latest e-mentoring pair reflecting on their experience, Di Zeng, Senior Lecturer, University of Adelaide and Yogendra Acharya, Researcher at the Nepal Agricultural Research Council in Nepal.

You can also read earlier reflections from our e-mentors in Australia and their e-mentees in Iran, Iran, Bhutan, Fiji the Philippines, Ghana, Malaysia and the Philippines and Malaysia again!

E-MENTOR/E-MENTEE PAIRING – Di Zeng (Australia) and Yogendra Acharya (Nepal)

Di Zeng

Senior Lecturer
University of Adelaide

What motivated you to be a mentor?
Get to know researchers in developing countries, share knowledge and develop work relationship.

What are the main goals you are focusing on from your agreed mentoring plan?
Help Yogendra develop skills in applying quantitative methods in empirical economic research.

What are the various ways you are communicating and what combination are you finding most useful?
We’ve had Zoom meetings many times.

What are you getting out of our e-mentoring program?
Got to know and established relationship with an aspiring young researcher (Yogendra).

Any lessons you could share with the other e-mentors?
It has been a good idea to maintain a regular meeting schedule to provide timely assistance as needed and monitor the progress

Yogendra Acharya

Nepal Agricultural Research Council, Nepal

What motivated you to nominate to be a mentee?
Being affiliated to an agricultural research organization, I have keen interest to expand my research capacity and skills for quality research output. In doing so, I came to know about the Crawford Fund’s E-mentoring program which aims to support agriculture professionals by providing support through an experienced mentor.

Apart from that, I knew about the Crawford Fund training program and its effectiveness in supporting agriculture research and development from one of Crawford Fund alumni.

What are the main goals on which you are focusing in your agreed mentoring plan?
Mainly, as per my working context and interest I have focused on learning scientific method and statistical tools to perform quality research and thereby prepared a quality scientific paper.

How is the e-mentoring helping your development? 
The e-mentoring program has helped me to get linked with an experienced mentor in my related field. I am in touch with him via zoom and email, however last few months I got disturbed due to Covid pandemic within my family. So far, I have collected data from my own project which I have planned to work on in collaboration with my mentor.