Learning Journey: Every failure is a new opportunity

Date: July 31, 2016
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“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Paulo Coelho

Ialfine PAPISY, Francophone Director

As the manager of Gender Links Francophone countries, one of my responsibilities is to seek funding for the sustainability of Gender Links activities in Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thus, the year 2015 was marked by a search for funding. To do this, we tendered two major projects, namely a project called ‘Empowerment of women survivors of gender based violence (GBV)’ for an amount of € 200,000 submitted to the European Union and another one entitled ‘Deepening women’s economic and political rights: Extending Centres of Excellence to 12 more councils’ proposed to the Fund for Gender Equality (FGE) in New York, for an amount of USD 350,000. This was to be written in English. As I speak French, this was the first time in my professional life that I have tendered an official document in English.

Donor procedures are very strict and we had to go through various stages to access the funding. Generally, the first stage is to submit a concept note, subsequently demonstrate our structural capacity to manage the project and finally develop the detailed project budget.

Both projects were selected for the first stage despite many competitors. For FGE, we also demonstrated our structural capacity. The whole team made every effort for the success of the second step. Unfortunately, we failed in the two calls for proposals at this stage. When FGE informed us that we had not been selected for the second step of the project, they also advised us that our project was very good. In the first round, the project was selected among the 62 semifinalists out of 1386 participants. At the second stage, although it was not successful, the project was ranked among the top 5%, and is on the waiting list in case FGE gets financial resources. FGE also sent us a letter of recommendation should we wish to present the project to other donors.

Ialfine PAPISYThis really affected me personally. It was the first time in my professional life that I felt a sense of failure. But on reflection, I told myself that I should learn from this situation in order to bounce back. I need to take a little more time to write up a project, quality time with a clear head to understand donors’ expectations and write accordingly. I also have to do a little more research concerning the way other organisations operate.

Today I am convinced that it is not a failure but rather a new opportunity to start again as per Henry Ford‘s quote: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Written by Ialfine Papisy, Director of Francophone office, Gender Links