Kevin Kennedy, an experienced senior practitioner and consultant, was posted in Uganda for 6 weeks to help an innovative solar energy organisation implement operations and credit processes to support growth.
‘I was struggling to find a project where I felt my time and skills would be well used, and where I could avoid the risk of being a ‘development tourist’. I felt I had very relevant skills, and preferred to see them used – not just painting walls. Challenges Worldwide were able to address these concerns immediately in two principle ways. Firstly, their strategy for placing senior advisers is to offer them to clients on a heavily discounted fee basis. This seems to focus all parties on getting a good fit. Secondly, they embrace the reality of time as well as other constraints for their volunteers, ensuring productivity whilst in the field.
The actual project was to help an innovative solar energy organisation called Solar Now to implement operations and credit processes to support growth. Whilst out there, I was fully occupied working with the local team to identify and then implement specific new initiatives. From the onset the match between my skills and the needs of Solar Now was appropriate and the project developed and maintained a real momentum. I found the local team skilled and receptive, and the feedback they provided reassured me about my contribution. I congratulate Challenges Worldwide on recognising this potential fit beforehand, and then creating a scope that engaged all parties. My lasting impression will be of time well spent – learning and contributing in equal measure.’