Peer coaching: it's happening, but we need your help
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Peer coaching: it’s happening, but we need your help

Peer coaching: it’s happening, but we need your help

Back in February, we announced a new initiative of ours – Peer Coaching. In a nutshell, we are partnering with Shana Montesol Johnson of Development Crossroads, to develop a peer coaching matching service. Since asking for expressions over interest, we have had over 300 people from across the globe contact us to say that they want to be part of our pilot program.

Why do we think that peer coaching is so important? We know that there are many people working in the field of aid and development across the globe with minimal support and guidance. We are aware that resources are limited in the humanitarian field. However, we also know that through support networks, and specifically, peer coaching, we can increase the return on investment for these workers and enable them to be more effective in helping the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

We want to provide a service that matches them up, so that they are able to support and learn from each other via Skype, email or other methods. This service therefore does not require more resources to be added to the sector (in the form of professional mentors, coaches or counselors), but rather, builds on existing resources that are not connected.

We’re doing this because we think that the need is out there. And because of comments from people like this:

“I feel isolated, uncertain and a little forlorn about finding my way into development-related work, and would like to have someone to share my experience with, who is perhaps also experiencing the same thing.” – E, 18-25 year old male, Honduras.

However, in order to get this project up off the ground in a reasonable amount of time, and with good quality, we’re going to need your help.

We reckon we need at least $3000 in seed funding to dedicate a solid amount of time to building the platform, providing the right guidelines for peer coaching, and matching people together in the most effective way. Building the platform will involve spending time on infrastructure – website redesign, functioning and creating a space so that matching can occur. We’ll also need to build the database of peer coaches from the ground up and create the resources to support peer coaches as the program continues.

If we reach our funding target, we think that we could get the peer coaching service up and running within a month.

What will happen if we don’t hit our tipping point and don’t get funding? We’ll still do the program of course as we originally planned, but it might take a bit longer and may not be as comprehensive and professional as we would have liked.

So, this is where we need your help. We’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign over on StartSomeGood where people can chip in amounts of money, small or large, to help us get this project going. If you are reading this post, chances are you’re either working, studying or are at least interested in aid and development. Therefore, chances are, you’re the right demographic to understand the difficulties that aid workers can face across the globe.

You might also be wondering about how sustainable your funding is? Good question! Once the platform is built, we think that we can keep the service running by adding in a tiered system of participation, so that it is self-sustainable. But first, we need to get the service started and that’s where the seed funding comes in.

We’d appreciate it if you would consider donating whatever you can to our StartSomeGood campaign here, and spreading the word far and wide about what we’re trying to achieve.

If you have any questions at all about our campaign, please do not hesitate to contact either Brendan or myself. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions.

For the final word on the topic, here is Brendan, speaking from Ghana:

You can donate to our campaign on StartSomeGood here.

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Weh Yeoh

Co-Founder & Board Member at WhyDev
Weh Yeoh was born in Sydney, Australia, and has lived, volunteered and worked in Cambodia for the past 3 years. He is a professionally trained physiotherapist who has completed an MA in Development Studies. He has a diverse background, having travelled through remote parts of Asia, volunteered in an orphanage and adult shelter for people with disabilities in Vietnam, interned in India, and studied Mandarin in Beijing. He is an obsessed barefoot runner and connoisseur of durian.

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6 thoughts on “Peer coaching: it’s happening, but we need your help

  1. Alex

    Thanks, Weh, I get it. What I wanted to know was what your team envisions in terms of content for these different levels of participation. What kinds of extra features will people be willing pay extra for? I can’t imagine them (though I don’t assume that means there aren’t good ideas for these features). Perhaps other readers & potential funders also can’t quite work out the viability of the sustainability plan without a few more details.

    1. Alex, we have many different options in mind and the final product will depend on the amount of funding we receive. In addition, a lot will depend on the outcome of the pilot program and the feedback we receive from those participating. We can’t give the details yet, but they will come and they are exciting.

  2. […] I am happy to support the folks over at Why Dev in their new initiative. Why Dev has been a wonderful site and resource for me: I love their honest, compassionate take on aid and development, which takes a more uplifting outlook than many websites on aid work out there (while still remaining critical – no easy task!). They make an effort to include, engage and support the voices of young people just entering this difficult field, and I am excited to introduce a guest post below by Weh Yeoh, one of the editors of Why Dev. If you’re intrigued, read more about their peer coaching initiative here!  […]

  3. Alex Grey

    Could you please explain a little more what you are thinking re a tiered system of participation in order that the project be self-sustainable?

    1. Hey Alex,

      Our vision is that peer coaching should always be accessible at no cost, as we promised right from the start. That option will remain, and people will still be able to be linked up to suitable peer coaches around the world at no charge. However, we think that people may also be willing to pay a small amount of money to get a better service. As such, we’ll be adding in different levels of participation so that those who are willing to pay a little extra will get a little more out of it. Whatever profit we make from this can then be fed back into the project to account for running costs (which are likely to be a lot less than costs involved in startup). That’s why seed funding is so vital for us – as the major outlay is in getting the program set up.

      Hope that helps,

  4. […] guys over at are doing something to support aid workers by developing a peer coaching network. In a nutshell, […]

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