Tuesday, May 16, 2006

So I am finally settled in at work and ready to go. I just hooked up my laptop and set up my stuff around what is to become my desk. I’m fairly lucky in that there’s actually electricity at work (not the case at home). Mr. Sinkari told me to set up and start working while he figures out whether or not they need to head to Wa to fix up some equipment. Needless to say, I find it difficult to start working when I have not been given anything to work on…

The office is a small, three room office with few plugs, hardly adequate for a staff of 15+. My desk is surprisingly nice (which is not, of course, to say it’s amazing—simply that it has no defects and is both clean and smooth). Already I regret leaving my mouse at home, especially if I will be working a lot on my laptop, as it seems I will.

RAAP is starting to run a “Leadership Training Centre,” which, in addition to being where I’m living for the summer, will eventually train RAAP staff, directors, and local NGOs on leadership techniques and skills. They want me to start designing programs and modules for this training; a direct way to build capacity in a sustainable way. I’m encouraged by RAAP’s approach, especially since I’ve heard some horror stories of others NGOs who simply don’t “get it.” It seems like everywhere I go random people are singing high praise for RAAP, despite the fact that it’s a relatively new organisation that has only been around for a few years.

At the moment RAAP is not running any “engineering” development projects in the communities it works with, though the Peace Corps volunteer and myself are looking into the feasibility of a multi-function platform project in the region. RAAP is an amazingly flexible organisation and refuses to implement any program in any village where they do not feel it’s appropriate. At the moment they work in three main fields: education, health, and livelihoods (with gender equity running throughout). They run micro-credit programs, where small grants are given to business owners to help get them started or to expand their operations. They also run livestock initiatives, where farm animals and equipment are supplied to areas that have identified these things as their primary need. Above all else though, they run a program called REFLECT, which I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about after this weekend, since the entire staff is having “REFLECT Training” all weekend long.

Ok, well I just got my first assignment, which is a stack of papers and write-ups concerning the Leadership Centre… time to get to work!


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