Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plans and Proceedings: Hope Restored

It has been deliberated, a decision has been reached, and I can start settling in again! Yes, I am referring to my permanent site placement and my Peace Corps future...

After consulting with my Program Director, the District AIDS Coordinator, and a number of other interested parties, we have decided that the opportunity for me to have the greatest impact and help the most people remains at my site in Kumakwane. I will continue working with my NGO in an effort to secure funding, rebuild their programs, and (hopefully) expand their reach. I will also start working at the Red Cross in Moshupa (a neighboring village) to help them fundraise and build an OVC program as well as assist a startup NGO in Mmankgodi (a rural village about 10km or so away).

Although the decision was mostly mine and I intended to fight for the good of the NGO, this decision was still met with mixed emotions for me. I was excited to stay where I am because I have started to integrate into my community and I am so comfortable in my village but, at the same time, I was anxious because the issues would likely remain the same and would be extremely limiting. This was definitely going to be a challenge but, with any luck, a rewarding one. (About luck... My dad always used to tell me that "luck is the product of skill, hard-work, and determination.") With that in mind, I decided to get to work creating some luck for my NGO.

On Wednesday morning (the first day back after the holiday), I went in and requested a meeting with the Center Coordinator to let him know that a decision about my placement had been reached. I explained to him that the decision to keep me there was not taken lightly and that it would be contingent on creating a sustainable organization in the upcoming months. I showed him the strategic and resource mobilization plans that I had finalized and discussed implementation. I created a grant matrix to track funding opportunities and explained how he would need to be proactive if we were to succeed. And then I told him (deep breath) that I hoped Peace Corps and I would not regret the decision to keep me there (gasp) and that his active involvement would be pivotal. He agreed and then went on his merry way (and I went to start looking for funding opportunities). A part of me was optimistic that this would help and we could start moving forward but a bigger part of me believed it was all talk and that things would never change. Much to my relief, the rest of the week has restored my hope!

That same day, the Coordinator looked at a number of proposal guidelines that I had sent him, made contact calls with potential funders, set up meetings to discuss opportunities, and talked with staff about my involvement in helping save the organization and their required participation. Taking heed to that, one of the counselors asked me to help her set up an agenda for a workshop that was days away (something that is normally done minutes before). Work was getting done! And the next day, the Coordinator went and had a meeting with one of the potential funders and then sought me out to discuss what he learned and begin drafting a proposal. At the same time, preparations were continuing to be done for the upcoming workshop instead of being put off until the last minute. And finally, yesterday, I was asked if we could plan a timeline for working on and submitting proposals and if there were any trainings I felt they should participate in or things I could teach them to help staff do their jobs better. (GASP! Asking if there's work they could do to make themselves work better?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I was floored!) I'm not sure what exactly it was that brought on this wave of productivity but, if it continues like this, the NGO is going to be alright! (Of course, there were far too many tea breaks for my liking and about half the staff still just sat around but this was a huge improvement and I couldn't have been happier.)

Today I am going to the Moshupa Red Cross to help with their OVC Kids Club. I think playing with some kids is the perfect way to end this satisfying week...

No comments:

Post a Comment