One good week, one bad week

November 23, 2006

YDF workshop prioritisation exercise

Last week I had a really good week at work. This week was really frustrating. There wasn’t really any obvious difference between them and the weathers cooled down so I should be happier. But I think it’s the realisation that however talented and motivated they are, and whatever the quality of the fundraising applications we write, there is a limited pot of money and an unlimited number of organisations trying to get it.

I began last week by establishing committees to look at all of YDF’s programmes for 2007, and their fundraising work. Loads of people signed up to them, and most of them turned up to the meetings. They wanted assignments to do for the next week and most of them had finished these before the next meetings.

On Saturday morning they had agreed to come to my house for a workshop, where I could get to know where the organisation wants to be in a year and their needs. 15 of them turned up and participated really well. Reassuringly they didn’t bring up anything too new, and seemed sold on the idea of focusing on a few achievable objectives for this year. In a short session on fundraising, they came out with pretty much everything I know (this added to the fact they’ve written some pretty decent applications) left me thinking my job would just be to edit these into better English. Great!

This week I realise that my job isn’t going to be just editing their funding applications. There is a big gap between their knowledge of the issues, and their knowledge of how to run programmes. More specifically, the few people who do know how to run an organisation are busy going to network meetings, so I’m working with people just out of school who haven’t had a job before. Unfortunately I have to spend lots of times talking about being SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound). I’m hoping to introduce some more acronyms to keep it interesting.

There’s more jargon here than you can shake a stick at so it can seem that they’re light years ahead in their thinking. For example 18 year olds will often talk about participation, facilitation, empowerment, corporate strategic plans, sensitisation etc. etc. But scratch the surface and there is often no substance to this talk. I’ve sent off my first funding application for a couple of computers and internet connection designated for young women in Chipata so we’ll see how that goes. After that I’m going to attempt to tap up all the Embassies.

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