Each year for one week our international directors come together to reflect on the year just gone and plan for the future, today was the first day of our 2013 meeting.
We celebrated approval from the government of Bangladesh for our call centre which should reach more than 50,000 poor farmers (it’s a standard rate call –as opposed to a number of very premium help lines – and mobiles are now wide spread in Bangladesh), our first ever funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and most importantly, directly helping over 700,000 people in the first year of our new strategy.
We also looked at issues – the most predominant being the political turbulence in the countries where we work – the split into two countries in Sudan, the elections in Kenya which thankfully passed without major violence, and the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe. Funding is also an issue with many big donors now looking for private sector organisations – PWC, KPMG etc. now run big development projects – great for project management but sometimes less great for closeness to the poor people themselves.
What struck me most today, however, was the commitment and passion for poverty reduction of the people I work with. Being with a group of people who want to make a practical and substantial difference and who have the expertise and skills to do it is inspirational.
Week long meetings are not my thing but being with a great group of ‘experts’ is always a joy.