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Nurturing growth and learning in global development 

November 7, 2023

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Eunice Kabahikyeho

Chief People Officer
Strong Minds


Sarah Le Pape

Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications, IQTS, France

In the world of global development, the journey toward growth and sustainable change is marked by a commitment to learning and collaboration. Join us as we catch up with Eunice Kabahikyeho, Chief People Officer at Strong Minds, to explore its journey as members of a thriving community of engaged and supportive peers and the invaluable insights it has gained along the way. 

The HR executive’s role in building a solid foundation for growth 

As the Chief People Officer, Eunice’s primary goal is strengthening Strong Mind’s human resources (HR) function. Her role includes standardizing processes, introducing new and evaluating existing policies, and cultivating a positive organizational culture.  Speaking to this point, she says, “You want to ensure that we are [all] on the same path, implementing the same strategy, and wherever our people work, they all feel that they are part of one global organization.”

Eunice’s previous experience includes roles at FHI 360 and Action Against Hunger. It was during her time at these organizations that she was first introduced to Humentum, as both are members of this community. This familiarity gave her valuable insights into the practical solution-based approaches for learning and development (L&D) professionals in the sector and the advantages of being part of a global network.

Staff retention and attraction

Eunice joined Strong Minds during a period of significant growth when the organization needed a sustainable staff development strategy. An internal staff survey showed that most staff (aged 25-35) had expressed a strong desire for learning and career growth opportunities. Despite this enthusiasm, budget constraints and fears of investing in training, given potential staff turnover, posed challenges. Nevertheless, the leadership team recognized the importance of adhering to industry best practices, leading to a review of their policies and operational methods.

Drawing from her experience with learning-focused organizations, Eunice suggested collaborating with Humentum. Recognizing it as a centralized resource hub, Eunice appreciated its role as a one-stop solution, with the ability to connect them to a vast network of expertise. She describes this streamlined approach as a way to avoid reinventing solutions, instead allowing the team to tap into the sector’s collective knowledge.

How to deliver training courses without a full team

Through Humentum Learning Services (HLS), Strong Minds has compiled a comprehensive catalog of over 800 courses within a few months. Its goal is to cultivate a leadership mindset among all staff members, with a particular focus on the younger demographic within the organization. To achieve this, Strong Minds is designing specialized learning pathways that enhance staff roles and chart out clear career progression. Eunice underscores that the HLS learning management system has proven to be a game-changer in this regard.

[Our Account Manager], Winnie Mapenzi, is the greatest help. I was recruiting an L&D specialist while we were trying to set everything up. It was just me and another colleague, so it was difficult for us. Winnie has helped us get a grasp of everything that we need to do to set up. She regularly checks in and says, 'I see you're doing well, but I'm here if you have any questions; set up a call with me.' She has been a fantastic support.

Eunice Kabahikyeho, Strong Minds

Besides its catalog of courses, Eunice and her colleagues also take full advantage of the courses available to them, including discounted learning opportunities offered by eCornell. This has proven to be helpful as they onboard new staff.

Strong Minds places a core emphasis on the 70-20 learning model: 70% on-the-job learning, 20% learning from peers through coaching and mentoring, and 10% dedicated to formal training. Through HLS, it has found an effective way to achieve the 70% on-the-job learning part. The wide range of tailored courses and learning opportunities cuts the need for lengthy classroom sessions. And the flexibility in these trainings has enabled staff to engage at their own pace.

Tapping into a global network

Speaking to the wider benefits of membership, Eunice recalls a recent challenge Strong Minds faced. While conducting a diversity and inclusion assessment, the team turned to Humentum Connect (an online portal where members can connect 24/7 for answers from peers) for support. Eunice recalls the overwhelming response from peers who shared their experiences and provided valuable insights for tackling the assessment. They also offered helpful policy resources and practical advice.

Eunice underscores that being a member means Strong Minds is not alone on this journey. The organization has easy access to a wealth of resources, and opportunities to connect with senior HR leaders through roundtables and webinars. Through this network it can also stay current with best practices in areas such as USAID’s rules and regulations, project management, risk management, fraud prevention, and safeguarding. Eunice acknowledges that the team has only scratched the surface of the available support.

Key benefits of membership

Despite sometimes feeling small compared to larger NGOs, Strong Minds has also discovered organizations of similar size and scope through its membership. Eunice highlights the value of peer-to-peer learning and adapting its experiences to suit the unique situations. Membership has provided Strong Minds with a supportive community and a critical knowledge pool. Key benefits Eunice shared include:

  • An extensive training catalog of courses that she hasn’t seen elsewhere.
  • A willingness to share resources among member organizations, without incurring additional costs, sets Humentum apart.
  • The diverse composition of the membership.
  • The availability of almost 24-hour support.

Setting your organization up for success

Eunice strongly encourages prospective members to consider Humentum, highlighting its value as a positive investment. Yet, she underscores the importance of careful resource management. While membership offers a wealth of resources, readiness is crucial. Based on her own experiences, Eunice recommends hiring a dedicated L&D specialist within the organization. This role is instrumental in managing courses, providing staff guidance, assessing training needs, and aligning them with the offerings.

In summary, Eunice suggests a deliberate and consistent approach that nurtures a culture of continuous learning within organizations. She emphasizes the importance of having the right individuals in place to maximize the advantages of membership.

Through our membership, we connect you to a community of peers for problem-solving and best practices; discounts on trainings for individuals and teams; groundbreaking advocacy research and reports; trusted industry partners with services you need; and more. The Humentum Community is a network of relationships, and membership is at the heart of Humentum’s ability to use the power of our sector-wide network.

Become a member today