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Good Day at the Office!

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Hello again! It’s been a full day at the office, starting yesterday afternoon when I left you last. I was able to train Charles, Mumbi, the office manager as well as the three department heads for Hope Ministries on the new reporting system that we’ll be using from here on. It was great to get their feedback on the draft templates I made, and it’s always nice that there’s the flexibility here to change things on the spot. I’m looking forward to seeing the monthly reports that Hope puts together and to see how the new report formats and prompts will help Hope to keep track of their successes, learn from their setbacks and keep track of their overall progress.

After a great dinner back at the Mulandos’, the North Park students and I got to be bossed around by seven-year-old Sombo, who has very high standards when it comes to washing dishes. Half the time she’s a very quiet and shy little girl and then something happens, usually right after dinner, when she becomes a little spitfire. It’s quite a funny transition to watch! 🙂

Today has been a full day at the office, preparing more reporting documents that will help Hope to be even more financially accountable and transparent. When thinking about blogging this week, I was worried that it would be boring to talk every day about reporting, accounting and accountability, but in many ways this is the really exciting stuff. Yes, it’s nuts and bolts, but perfecting these foundational processes and systems means that Hope will be on solid footing for the rest of what we hope will be a very long run in helping the children of Zambia. That to me is incredibly exciting!

It really makes such a difference to be able to come to Zambia and work with the Hope team in person. There are so many small conversations and quick questions that immediately unravel confusion that would take hours of phone calls to clear up. There’s also the huge advantage of being around all the great staff here who are always so kind, so gracious and so welcoming. While it will be sad to see the North Park students leave first thing tomorrow morning to head to Lusaka for the end of their trip, I’m glad that I’ll have some time with the office staff here without more than the basic level of distraction so that we can power through some of the accounting changes we’re hoping to make together.

Over the next few days, I will be working with the staff at the school to create and implement a student database, I will be helping the accounting team to improve some of their record-keeping systems and I will be helping to set up fully the accounting system for the poultry farm. I’ll also be doing some additional work with some of the teaching staff to train them on some computer basics and possibly even installing anti-virus software on their computers. It’s going to be quite a busy four days before I head to Lusaka on Sunday, so wish me luck!

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  • Nilwona | Jan 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Joann, if nobody else tells you, I’M excited about the nuts & bolts stuff you’re doing. You should see the way my face lit up when I read the part about the teachers learning computer basics and possibly getting anti-virus software on their computers (plural!!). This is great stuff! 🙂

  • Spark Ventures | Jan 12, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Thanks, Nilwona! I’m glad you’re enjoying hearing about the work. It’s been a lot of fun to do the work, so I hope it’s fun reading about it too! 🙂 Thanks again for following the blog!

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