“When I first arrived in Maban South Sudan the first thing I noticed was that there were no permanent structures for offices or accommodation, instead, there were old tents scattered everywhere which I was made to understand were used as offices and accommodation units (see pictures below). Secondly, every morning and evening at 7-00am and 6:00pm respectively we had scheduled radio checks with UNHCR which was the lead agency in this field location. In addition, every organization had their own generator with fuel allocation of 1000 litres per month and it was the responsibility of the respective organizations to manage their fuel consumption. As a result of the field trainings that I had gone through, these were conditions which I felt I was very well prepared for. In contrast two other people who travelled with me to the field complained of sleepless nights, at least for the first two days.
Lack of leadership experience and skills has been one of the biggest gaps in my career but taking up the role of a coordinator from being a trainee was probably the best thing that happened to me in the last 12 months. My biggest challenge in this role was when at one point I had to coordinate with the Human Resource department to terminate the contract of one of our casual drivers. As he protested he made sure I was aware that my action meant that his family would go without food and his children would not be able to go to school because they all depended on his income. And although his sentiments came with threats at the end, it was an extremely painful decision for me, but I had the responsibility to ensure that the organization is following the laws of the host country one of which prohibited the employment of an individual as a casual labourer for more than three months by INGOs. This specific driver was now doing the fourth month.” says Mark Munyi from Kenya in this case study.
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