Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Using a little creativity

My time at Yehu is winding down. During the week or so I've got left, I'm trying to spend as much time as I can outside of the office, in the villages with the people. I've mostly finished the templates and tables I wanted to create, and I'm really happy with the way they've turned out. I think it'll really save time for people here, and it will help them to pinpoint what they really need to focus on. Since I started working on one particular weekly report, I've knocked the time to completion down from about 4 hours to a little less than 2, on a slow computer. If I'm working on a better computer, it could be done in less than an hour. That's a lot of time saved every single week. Yehu has such aggressive plans for growth, and this is the time for them to clean up and tighten all the processes that will allow them to accomplish their expansion goals.

The next step is to empower everyone outside of the corporate office with training, greater responsibilities, and more tools to do their job. Yehu just got a new COO who really seems to have captured the vision of this. He has a solid understanding of what is needed out there, based on over a decade of experience in working with other microfinance banks in Kenya. He's committed to the cause, and he's got the understanding of the processes and the people to make it happen. I'm excited to have him on board. He's only been here a couple weeks, but he already has a clear idea of what he wants to do and how he's going to do it. Discussing these things with him gives me a lot of hope for the future of this organization. I'm actually a little sad that I won't be around to help with this part. I would love to get out to the villages to train these people.

I got to visit another village with representatives from CHOICE this week. We visited a school in Mulunguni to conduct an art project with some of the students. They drew pictures for us of their homes, trees, animals, family, cars, or whatever came to mind for them.

CHOICE is going to auction off some of these drawings to raise some additional funds for the school and raise awareness. They've worked pretty closely with this school, to build brick structures and supply desks and other supplies. Over 700 students attend this school, and there are only about 9 or 10 classrooms.

I'd also like to draw your attention to the background of the picture below.

All of the kids are in line for lunch, which is provided every day by the USAID School Feeding Program. It may not seem like a long-term logistical solution to just give handouts to the kids, but just think of how many of these students are coming to school just to get that food. For some kids, it's the only meal they'll get every day. It is incentive for them to educate themselves. Sounds like a pretty clear long-term solution to me.

Of course, the kids always love getting their picture taken, and I was more than happy to oblige after all the work was done.

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