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Tanzania……one month in

A month into what was supposed to be only a one month placement in Tanzania, I have just had my stay extended by a month. My few days of holiday in Zanzibar at the end of the short deployment have now turned into a very pleasant interlude before I head to Lindi on the southern side of the mainland to see out the rest of my time here.

Over the last month I have visited all four offices in Tanzania to work on setting up their asset register, basically labelling all equipment of high value to the programme and putting together a detailed list so that each item can be tracked. It is important that we know exactly what equipment we have, who owns it (whether the donor that funded it or Save the Children) and where it is, so that a few years down the line we are not trying to find it or sifting through old paperwork and financial records to find out how we should dispose of it. It has certainly been a learning curve and each office has had its own challenges, as well as its rewards.

One thing that has been consistent across them all, however, has been the people. From national staff to expatriates and at all levels of the organisation, I have met some very accommodating and interesting characters and have been able to tap into a wealth of knowledge and insight. I would dare to say that I might even have made some friends with my broken Swahili, although spending only a few days to a week in each place has not been so conducive to building firm relationships. Maybe a month in Lindi will give me more of an opportunity…..

My first exposure to a country programme has been a real eye-opener. Even though I have had my head stuck mostly in an Excel spreadsheet, I have managed to get an insight into how the programmes work, be they health-focused interventions using implementing partners from the local community or work on child protection with local government. It really brings some sense to what I am doing and, although it is not necessarily the largest of country programmes, the coordination between the programme staff and support services (including logistics) is of clear importance.

I am due in Lindi on Tuesday next week after a seven hour drive south. It will at least allow me enough time to read the 160 page security policy which I will be working on with the Logistics Officer as part of my month’s extension. A lot to learn and some great experiences to come……and a beach too I might add! I’ll let you know how I get on…

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