Monday, June 29, 2009

I'm eradicating poverty!

Lately I've been thinking more how my job really relates to the mission of eradicating poverty. After all, that's what I came out here to help with. I feel like it's important to make this connection, because sometimes I need the internal motivation.

I know how important it is to tie all work back in to the overall strategic plan. So how am I doing that? One of the pillars of Yehu’s strategy is to improve and increase institutional capacity. So what do I have to do with that? I am taking the current reporting structure and streamlining it and making the results more useful. I’m eliminating and automating steps in the compilation of the data, and I’m putting the outcome into a format that will allow at-a-glance utility, in the form of summary tables, charts, and ratios. This also means higher quality control. I’m helping these people to work smarter, in my own little niche.

In the short run, I will get to see the effects of these tables. I’ve completed enough of the reports already to know how much time will be saved by implementing the changes I’ve created. This will free up Omar's schedule to focus on the actual analysis of the data, or to improve other processes that he just doesn’t have time for now. Also, because he will be compiling the tables more quickly and because they’re already in a format that is easier to analyze, Adet and the branch managers will have access to them sooner, which means that they can spot areas that need improvement more quickly and act on them before any problems grow too large.

In the medium term, as Yehu grows and more branches are formed, this will not translate into more work for Omar in compiling the reports because everything is automated. He’ll just have to do a little work upfront to add rows to the tables to account for the new branch, and then continue doing everything as it is already being done.

The long-term effects, I will not be around to see. But this is where I’ve found I can connect my efforts to eradicating poverty. With the savings of time I’m giving to Omar, he won’t have to work so hard, which will give him more of a chance to find ways to work smarter. He may find new types of information to gather from branches that will give them a greater scope of what is happening. Or he'll actually get to take a Saturday off every so often. I think the biggest difference will be in the information that is delivered in a timely manner to management. They can make changes more quickly, and spot areas that need tending to before they get out of hand. They can put more focus in areas that are growing faster, let go of employees that aren’t carrying their own weight, and know which sub-branches are ready to grow, and which to hold back. They will have a more complete picture of the state of their respective areas, and thus they’ll be able to be more effective in reaching out to those who are in need of the loans Yehu can give.

Voila. This summer, I am eradicating poverty.


  1. You go Girl. Very impressive. You have justified your existence and beyond. We're very proud of you.

  2. Abby, any chance I could reach out to you via email about your experience? I know Louis Pope through my uncle, and am looking at the opportunity work at Yehu for 4-6 months.

    Currently, I work for Bain & Company, but am looking to get some experience in Microfinance

  3. Sure. What would you like to know? Louis Pope will actually be out here next week, if you want me to put you in touch with him.