First Week



The first few days anywhere is all about orientation, and I always like to start a new job running a form of semi-structured interview with as many future colleagues as possible. This table just to the side of the covered walkway between the main building of CU and the Performance and Impact Unit (PIU, of which I am part) makes a great location for all kinds of activities; lunch, meetings, comfortable/quiet place to work etc. and of course semi-structured interviews.

In this first week I’ve managed to talk with the Country Director (when visiting from Head Office in Lilongwe); my immediate boss (Head of PIU); and all the others in the PIU. A number of areas are concerned with ‘mainstreaming’ , that is rather than having a discreet project (for example, around HIV or environmental sustainability) bringing the topic into the consideration of other projects (such as livelihood and water & sanitation (WASH) projects).

So I have talked to Mphatso and how she is working both internally (within the organisation) and externally in the area of HIV/AIDS; Elias on his work on how to build environmental considerations into all other projects; Tokozane on equality (no longer gender, but covering off on all forms of discrimination); Mona Lisa on her advocacy/education work and how to integrate that into all projects; Francis and Doreen on their energy projects that includes not only improving the quality of a fuel efficient stove that their project oversees production and distribution of, but also developing a proposal that will enable them get carbon credits for the reduced carbon emissions the stoves will produce.

A most interesting first week, at the end of which AVI have spirited me away to Tanzania to talk with others in the program. I’m looking forward to going out to see some of the projects next week.

2 thoughts on “First Week

    • Hi Geoff. My principal task is to develop a Monitoring, Evaluation & Learning Framework.

      I’m reminded of a story I once heard.
      Many, many years ago there was a group of people who used to just camp out in what ever shelter they could find. Caves, under trees etc. Gradually, through the grapevine, they heard about a pretty good thing called a building. Now having a building sounded like a good idea. A building could keep you warm and dry, give you somewhere to stash your stuff, keep the baddies at bay, all kinds of useful things. Most had walls and roofs, many had windows and a nifty trick called a door, which was something like a moveable wall. You could build one using all kinds of things, like straw or rocks or wood.

      So this group decided they wanted a building. The head person got quite excited and sketched out in chalk an outline on the ground. Another started an inventory of all the things they could use a building for. There were a couple of attempts to start, but they didn’t get much further than a couple of corners, certainly not something functional. Then the head man left, and some in the group were heard muttering that whilst having a building would be nice, maybe it shouldn’t be so big, just a little one to start with. Also the new head, who was really in support of the group having a building, was not quite so sure if what was sketched out in chalk on the ground was going to give what was wanted. The only things there was agreement about were: 1) a building would be really good 2) They just needed somebody to come in and do it.

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