Learning Journey: Things do not change, we change

Date: July 18, 2016
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There are things we do not want to happen but have to accept, things we do not want to know but have to hear, and people we cannot live without but have to let go.” JJ: Criminal Mind

Abigail K2015 taught me, as my father used to say, ‘with integrity, honesty and transparency, I am able to stand for the principles that I believe in’.

2015 was a very trying and exciting time for me. On the 27th of June 2015 my dad left us and this dealt a very major blow in my life. All kind of thoughts came to mind and it took time before I could accept that he really was gone. All I could think was, “with all that I am to achieve, how can he not be here to witness it with me?” During the 35 years that I knew my father the one piece of advice that I will always remember are his words, “Abigail always ensure that you are transparent, credible, trustworthy and honest in all that you do”. This is the best advice I have ever received as I am able to apply this in all the work that I do both professionally and personally.

This principle is hard to maintain seeing all the pressures that we go through. How will I ensure that I am transparent, credible, trustworthy and honest? I learnt that the best way to be able to do this is by standing firm in those principles. In all that I do I ask myself: “Am I standing by these principles, what will be the end result?” I believe that in 2015 I was able to do this successfully.

On top of all of this, while I was still getting a grasp on all that had happened in my life, I was asked to take charge of the entrepreneurship programme. The entrepreneurship programme was coming to an end in December 2015 and the Zimbabwe office was under a lot of pressure. There was no one to do the administrative part of the repeat ‘I’ story workshops and this responsibility was passed on to me. I had sleepless nights asking myself how I would be able to do this huge job. My greatest fear was standing in front of 20 women at a time and being in charge of the whole proceedings.

Abigail Karikoga_National Summit_Zimbabwe_062015Through God’s grace I managed somehow to do all the 10 councils without a hitch. The team that was travelling with me was God sent, hardworking and focused. The joy that I saw when we were with these women melted my heart. I felt that as GL we had done something amazing to help these women. Even though the help that we gave them seemed small to us, the women really appreciated it. In each council we encountered different women, but the same was said throughout, GL was a blessing to them.

As the Finance Officer of the Zimbabwe office I am responsible for ensuring payments and reports to donors are done. All payments are done in line with donor requirements as well as within the budget line and here I was running entrepreneurship as well. This was the greatest and most exciting part for 2015. I learnt a lot during the month of October. I now know that there is no challenge too big for me. I am happy about the opportunity that I was given by GL to be able to be part of the programme that helped me overcome my fears of standing up and presenting in front of a lot of people.

Written by Abigail Karikoga, Gender Links, Zimbabwe, Finance and Administration Officer