Learning Journey: Choose people who lift you up

Date: July 31, 2016
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“Tough times never last but tough people do.”

keletso metsingThe most memorable experience I had in 2015 as a GL staff member was the long-awaited regional summit that was planned to be held in my home country, Botswana. At first it seemed as a dream and I was nervous when I learnt that we were to host the summit. The first thing that came to my mind was “will we be able to match the standards and how are we going to do it?” In contrast, my instincts told me we could, like Nelson Mandela said “it all seems impossible till it’s done”. I knew with hard work, perseverance and dedication nothing was impossible and I thank GL for investing in me through the challenging work I do.

Though I have had the privilege of attending several summits before this one, it was such an honour to be part and parcel of the whole planning process. We worked very hard until the last day of the preparations. It was such an overwhelming experience when I finally have a glance at the participants arriving in two full buses. That is when I knew we had made it. All the necessary logistics were completed by our team and we were ready to kick off, despite the fact that some participants were impatient to check in as they had travelled long distances.

I first joined the GL family in January 2014 as a finance officer and it was astonishing that I felt at home during the first days of my employment. My duties involve, amongst others, doing the finances, preparing donor reports and ensuring proper spending of allocated funds. I also do monitoring and evaluation work, which includes taking pictures during workshops and assisting participants with our online survey. In addition, I am responsible for doing administrative work.

During my first year my focus was on learning and appreciating how things are done and ensuring that they are done properly as per GL standards. In 2015, my emphasis was on making sure that I implement what I have learnt during my first year and also trying to find out the best possible ways of working smart. This was also the year that the Botswana office was successful and received funding from the European Union (EU), in partnership with the government of Botswana, to implement a project focusing on empowering women. Despite the fact that this was the best moment for us, it was also a challenging year because we had a lot do to in short period of time. However, with the support of the head office and other stakeholders we managed to achieve our targets and goals by the end of the year.

Despite the fact that the calendar year activities were congested and hectic, I have learnt a lot and the most fascinating experience was hosting the regional summit for the first time in Botswana. We had a lot of work to do during the summit, but I was also caught in between work, family and friends. I was trying to please so many people, but had to prioritise my work above all. I made friends from other countries who are also eager to visit me in Botswana since they have not had a chance to visit the tourist attractions.

My other astonishing experience was working on the FLOW review workshops which empowered our clients with entrepreneurship skills and raised awareness about the impact of GBV on their lives. I am so grateful and proud that most of our clients have utilised the knowledge imparted to them and as we speak they have changed their life styles and ventured into business. These women have likewise gone an extra mile by offering to impart knowledge and guidance to other women aspiring to follow in their footsteps. Furthermore, I learnt a lot during these training sessions, while I assisted the participants in writing and editing their “Drivers of Change” stories. I also helped in capturing and editing pictures and videos and uploading these on the GL website.

Keletso Metsing-However, this has been fruitful because the multiplier effect realised from this transfer of information and knowledge plays a very important role in building our nation in line with one of Botswana’s pillars of Vision 2016, aimed at building a compassionate and educated nation. I am honoured that GL has given me the privilege of playing a role in driving towards the achievement of our national vision. The relationship that we have had with our stakeholders, the councils, was also remarkable and I have networked with other people.

All these incredible opportunities were possible because of the support and love I received from my colleagues. My gratitude is extended to our stakeholders for the support they gave us during this journey. I have also interacted well with our clients during home visits, whilst monitoring their projects and assessing how we have impacted on their lives. This journey has helped me attain a remarkable growth in my interpersonal skills, including good communication skills, multi-tasking, team work and working towards achieving set goals, to mention a few. I have only been part of the incredible GL family for a few years, but I have learnt a lot at a personal and professional level. I believe GL has equipped me with skills and experience that I will cherish my entire life.

Written by Keletso Metsing, Finance and Administrative officer, Gender Links, Botswana