Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A bit about work

This post is sadly overdue.  Finding time to sit down to write a substantial  entry never happens - so my housemate Andrea has suggested writing more frequent bite-sized bits.  So here we go.

I started my new job at I Choose Life - Africa last week on Monday and have been busy ever since.  We have 9 hour working days (8am-5pm) and remarkably I already am struggling to fit everything into that.  My role is head of the resource mobilisation team (a fancy way that international development types say fundraising) and I oversee a unit of six people.

Our receptionist Purity.

The organisation recently restructured so the post is newish.  ICL approached VSO for a volunteer to help them develop the infrastructure to move the organisation from a $1.2M to $5M over the next few years.  My role will be to work with the team to develop systems to achieve this as well as capacity building the staff themselves (many of whom are new to the world of fundraising).  After a bit of mapping of what is already taking place, I have agreed with the CEO that I will focus on donor mapping and engagement, developing tracking systems for proposals and contract management.  I will also be working with them on changing their current mentality of getting as many applications out as possible (their current target is 1 per person per week) to developing a strategy for funding so we are spending more time on carefully selected fewer applications.

The outside of the ICL Headquarters Building.
ICL is a large and very well respected organisation.  They have 82 permanent staff and a total of 200 staff including seconded/sub-contracted staff and interns based in a few regions around the country.  They are a preferred provider of USAID, and the majority of their funding currently comes from US government bodies and I will be working to move away from reliance on US funding to include European funding and trusts and foundations.

ICL has previously focused primarily on HIV & AIDS prevention through peer work and reproductive health (RH) in universities and high schools, but have recently moved into testing and counseling of at risk groups (including sex workers and truck drivers) and even more recently are exploring options to support local government leadership and democracy.  It is going to be a very exciting and informative place to be!

View to the garden from inside the office.

I have already attended a government committee meeting and a conference this week where I sat at a table with representatives from the Ministries of Education and Public Health as well as representatives from USAID and DIFD.  Definitely rubbing the right shoulders - but think I should have brought a smarter outfit or two... maybe with nicer shoulder pads...

And, the other important thing about starting a new job - I know where the coffee is! But even better, there is a lovely woman called Florence who brings me (and everyone else) coffee or tea just as we like it in the morning and in the afternoon. Brilliant!

Ok, realise now this was a longish post - but the next one will be sooner and shorter!

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