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Wales for Africa - the final countdown

Had a strange last week in the office; as my colleague Ediwn was on his course all week it left me feeling a bit at a loose end, despite the fact that I had so much writing up to finish. I was also still very conscious of my host, at home recovering from her car crash, which was still casting a nasty shadow over everthing. Strangest of all, and bitterly disappointing, was that Edwin couldn’t make it to my presentation on Wednesday morning. I was presenting the principles of the strategy to the various member organizations, including board members. In a sense it was the culmination of most of my work. I wanted Edwin there so that he make sure the members were taking it all on board, but I also wanted him there to support me, and for everyone to see that it’s his strategy too.

Anyway, true to form, we kicked off 30 minutes late. (Apparently to a lot of people ‘9am’ means anytime that starts with ‘9’, so, basically I suppose it can mean any time up to ‘9.59am’.) Still a couple of people wandered in half an hour or so later, and I also broke off a few times as people took phone calls. However, I think I covered everything I’d meant to, to a full board room, and in the planned 2 hours. I finished by throwing it open for discussion, including getting the members to help draw up the Civic Forum’s tagline.

I don’t think I’d realised how nervous I was: I’d taken the Civic Forum’s old logo, which was actually quite new, scrapped it and come up with something radically different. I told them that just because they’re NGOs doesn’t mean they’re amateur. I said the strategy means that the Civic Forum has to live its values: if you say you’re inclusive, then you must communicate in relevant language via a relevant platform; you make your offices open and welcoming – right down to having clear signage to the toilets. Given the immense constraints and challenges these people face, I’m pretty lucky that the strategy was received on the whole with enthusiasm (if also at times with some mild confusion!)

Technicall I'm on holiday now, but I'll be returning to Lusaka in a couple of days to the handover I couldn't do lsat week. I've also got a couple of last-minute jobs: after the presentation I was asked to write a brochure for one organization, who do rights awareness with people facing forced eviction. I was also asked to design someone a logo! Luckily, it was one of the easiest things I've had to do here - explaining that no, I can't, as I'm not a graphic designer!

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