Learning Journey: Looking forward to learning more

Date: May 16, 2016
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Do not be afraid of making mistakes, they teach us great lessons

A fanuel2015 brought with it difficult moments, new experiences, opportunities, frustrations, fears and great lessons. I have been very fortunate to be a part of Gender Links, an organisation which remains fast growing despite the prevailing difficult funding environment challenges and global recession. The past year was a test of my resolve and pushed my performance to my limits more than any other year of my working experience. Mistakes were made but now I understand that you might not get something on the first try, but all that matters is to learn and emerge a better professional. New systems were introduced and as the central M&E officer I had to engage with them more than any other officers.

Going to Namibia for FLOW review workshops exposed me to unique challenges in my personal and professional life. I drove for more than 6,000 km. I never imagined I was capable of negotiating all the dangerous hazards of the road. As a young father, I had to deal with leaving my family and also quickly learn the new responsibilities that I was seconded there to undertake. We needed to complete the national targets that we had promised FLOW as an organisation. I had to lead a group of young and inexperienced professionals to different part of Namibia to run workshops. This challenge no doubt scared me because the donor deadlines were fast approaching and there was no room for failure.

Within a short period of time I got stuck in and made the most of it. I am proud to say that the deadlines were met as the FLOW review process was completed in Namibia in good time. If I had to share what I learnt through it all, it is that how one reacts to these situations tells a lot about the person you are. If you take challenges as learning opportunities and as a way to better yourself, you will benefit immensely from them. I accepted the role graciously and appreciated that my superiors believed I had a broad skill set and trusted me to undertake this task.

Once my duties in Namibia were accomplished, I returned to HQ to continue my duties as M&E officer. Monica made my work easier because she always clarifies what she needs done and does not tire in clarifying whenever called upon. We have always leveraged on our good working relationship to do our tasks.

Together we worked many long days that would not be possible without heavy doses of caffeine. Sometimes we worked during weekends especially when we were trying to salvage summit entries that had been affected by a systems problem. To her credit, Monica has been a beacon in all these challenges. One thing I have learnt from her is never to shy away from challenges even if they are not of your own making.

At Gender Links it is easy to get caught up in the daily routine and forget about the bigger picture goals that we have. It is crucial that I remind myself of the milestones in my life to help put things into perspective. In other words, we are all responsible for our happiness and should not jump to blame others for our own shortcomings.

I managed to get some much needed rest towards the end of the year. I look forward to learning new things in 2016. Epi Info, pivot tables and charts are some of the amazing tools I have already learnt from the M&E manager and I am looking forward to a fulfilling year full of many lessons.

Written by Fanuel Hadzizi, senior monitoring and evaluation officer, Gender Links