Thursday, August 17, 2006

Looking Forward

Part of the reason for my recent tardiness in blogging is that we have been having some pretty important visitors here at MMF over the past few weeks and this has kept Cremildo and I pretty busy. I know that this is a lame excuse but I will stand behind it for the time being. We started off by having Pauline Achola visit us all the way from MEDA in Waterloo. Among her many job titles, Pauline assumes the role of HIV/AIDS promoter and program coordinator for MEDA, making her my direct supervisor at the MEDA head office. Pauline was here for a week to check up on the progress of our HIV/AIDS program, meet with a few of our partner institutions and consultants and discuss MEDA’s future involvement in Mozambique with microfinance and HIV/AIDS.

Our week together was filled with many meetings, consultations and brainstorming sessions as we ironed out some of the challenges that we had encountered up to the mid-way point of our project. Always a hard worker with a passionate vision for development, Pauline brought a refreshing presence to the MMF office. We even got a chance to take Pauline out to Bela Vista so she could visit with Male Yeru, one of our most interesting and progressive partners in our project.

While we reached the conclusion that our HIV/AIDS program is running smoothly, the real issue at hand for her visit was to try and come up with a concept paper for MEDA’s next microfinance intervention in Mozambique. Unfortunately, due to a number of circumstances, MMF will be forced to shut down its operations in Mozambique at the end of November this year. That means that myself, along with the rest of the MMF staff here in Maputo, will all be out of work come Dec. 1st. MEDA would like to continue to work in microfinance in this country and part of our job description now will be to come up with the right programming concept, as well as the right financial and implementing partners, to transform this dream into reality.

The concept that we are working on would target Mozambican youth aged 16-22, particularly those who are living with HIV/AIDS or who have been orphaned by parents with HIV/AIDS. There are a great number of these youth throughout the country and we would like to work with them to develop those with the right skills into strong entrepreneurs and responsible microfinance clients. Therefore, the concept would have three components:

  1. Providing the targeted youth with appropriate HIV/AIDS prevention and care services through established NGOs and youth associations in Mozambique
  2. Providing the youth with business and life skills training though local vocational schools and apprenticeship programs.
  3. Providing a loan guarantee fund that could be channeled through local microfinance institutions to help young entrepreneurs develop their businesses.

Of course this concept is still very much in its development phase as we still have to fill in many of the gaps and establish many of the required partnerships. However, we had a very encouraging meeting last week with the Executive Secretary of CNCS, the Mozambican government department in charge of HIV/AIDS programming, and they seem to be very interested in our ideas. If we can get CNCS on board as a financial partner that would be HUGE. We have our fingers crossed permanently as we continue to work on the finer details of this project proposal.

Last week we also had Caroline Hussein from MEDA visit Mozambique to put on a training workshop for MMF partners on youth microfinance. This was particularly interesting for Cremildo and I as we are putting together the above mentioned project proposal and wanted to learn more about this exciting new programming area for MEDA. The workshop was well attended and the participants eagerly dove into the material and shared experiences from their institutions. Cremildo even did a fantastic job of facilitating some of the workshop sessions. My multi-talented colleague never ceases to amaze me!! I'll leave you with some pictures from the training.

Caroline Hussein getting the discussion started

Boaz Ackimu, a MEDA technical advisor from Tanzania, working up the participants and driving home a point

Cremildo getting in the groove of presenting

The obligatory group shot


Blogger Sean said...

Pauline assumes the role of HIV/AIDS promoter

Just sounded funny - awareness promoter, research promoter, aide promotor - I imagine all of these fall under her responsibility - but just AIDS promoter sounds bad, doesn't it? "hey everyone, AIDS - it's the new pet rock... gotta get it!"

For the record pens - I don't think you're full of sanctimonious bull all the time... however I do agree that I am!

10:20 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hhi jared it's me ana your friend from are you==»»???what have the things going on iin maputo???tell something to my mail
bye miss you a lot

12:28 p.m.  
Anonymous Dad said...

Jared, I was glad to read that the planning has begun on the next MEDA micro finance project in Mozambique. In my view, targeting the next generation and providing them with the training (AIDS prevention and Business skills) and the financial and moral support is critical to the future economic well being of the country. I wish you and your group success in pulling this project together. I will await with interest to see what role you may play in it.

Take care,

1:08 p.m.  

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