Lighting a match

We met all day on Tuesday to review where we are in the longer process of leadership development and prepare for the days to come. All of the facilitators were there, the same team I started with now five months ago, minus one, the most senior member of the team who is now advising the president which puts him, hierarchically, in the stratosphere and outside our reach.

The review of what happened since May was inspiring to say the least. The team has made this program their own, always being a few pages ahead of the participants. If they hardly knew what coaching was five months ago, they have been doing it since we had our first long coaching training over skype, me in Ulaanbataar, they in Abidjan, and taken to it with abandon.

Today was an extra day, inserted very wisely by the facilitation team as they realized that the district teams never have the time to reflect on their management and leadership practices, produce the required documentation to show links between leadership and management development and public health results, share their accomplishments and record their progress towards the targets they set back in May. So it was a quiet day for me and Alison. With our internet flash drive keys we were able to catch up on our email and other tasks, without losing any of the exciting stories.

After lunch, we watched the film Inside Story about a Kenyan soccer player, his vision, and the many obstacles on his way, not the least a few unprotected sexual encounters that got him HIV and which he passed on. It’s essentially a film about HIV, made in South Africa, with support from MSH. It illustrated beautifully what we are trying to do here. Of course a film about soccer would always be a hit, anywhere in Africa, but the HIV angle made it also a film about the teams’ work.

After the film the district teams shared with us some of the surprising side effects that this program has produced: increased prenatal visits and deliveries by skilled personnel, brought about not by the participants in our program but by people they told about the training and shared their learning with. All these surprising stories involved midwives and nurses who ran with the tools given to them, mobilized communities and other resources to move to newly minted visions and new freedoms given to them by their superieurs to do what they had wanted to do all along but never felt empowered to do. Something is rubbing off.  I just lit the match back in May.

1 Response to “Lighting a match”


  1. 1 Isabella Bates October 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Sylvia,
    you should be so proud of the work you do. Bravo and stay healthy! peace, Isabella

    1


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