Friday, May 04, 2007

Reachout Catchup

I’m now half way through my placement at Reachout and enjoying it. Its whole philosophy is heart-warming (laying aside the contradictions of our conservative catholic condom averse sponsors). A parish project borne out of the effort of a group of volunteers and now providing income to hundreds and care to thousands of HIV positive clients.

I also love many of the characters here. The noble and wise and gentle Father Joseph. Our dynamic,hotheaded director, Stella. The manic and highly skilled Dr Charles. And many others....It’s a busy, busy place with a constant stream of visitors, but it’s easy to impress them with what’s being done.

I’m learning lots about TB and HIV when I’m not reluctantly sidelined into organisational management stuff. This week we’ve been interviewing for all the senior management positions in the organisation. This is part of a broad restructuring process to better equip us now that we’ve grown so huge. It’s an uncompromising process. Existing postholders are having to compete for their own jobs. Many will be unsuccessful. I’m often impressed by the calibre of the people I’m meeting and my hopes for the future here brighten somewhat.

Father Joseph is understandably ambivalent. We are transforming ourselves. A very low cost community organisation that arose out of a spirit of volunteerism will become yet another professionalised NGO in the two tier economy of Uganda (NGOs vs the rest). Our senior financial officer currently earns $150 a month. The new financial manager will be offered 10x more.....

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