As advisors or mentors begin to assess the needs and identify adequate advice for counterparts, they should remember the lessons of missions behind them.
These lessons are embodied in principles which aim to work within the local context, refrain from exporting ready-made solutions and defer to the leadership of local officials and other stakeholders.
In part 2 of this lesson, we will discuss the key principles that should guide you in your work as an advisor.
Acceptance of advice by the principal is not mandatory. The principal may choose to ignore advice for a number of reasons. Unless there is a solid professional relationship based on trust and respect, it is unlikely that substantive advice and recommendations will be readily accepted. In this section, we will discuss some principles that could help you develop and maintain this relationship.
There are three guiding principles that need to be followed by all advisors when offering advice: Local Ownership, Sustainability, and ‘Do No Harm’. In order to uphold these principles, three key personal characteristics are required, namely: respect, humility and empathy.
These principles and qualities can also serve as filters which can guide the formulation of questions and ideas in order to identify viable solutions that can have long term impact within the local context. Let us now take a closer look at each of them.