Getting to grips with Nairobi

Our first day at AMREF HQ was excellent and left us inspired and excited about the months ahead. Anne in HR had put together a very thorough induction schedule that involved us meeting the whole building (100+ people) in the space of an hour, followed by several days of 1:1s to help us get to know the business in more depth and to understand how the different directorates and programmes fit together.

It’s a steep learning curve but you cannot fail to be inspired by the challenges that AMREF has taken on and what they have achieved and learned over several decades. Garret Dunn and I are gradually piecing together the elements of our project as AMREF seeks to reduce its dependence on donors to deliver its extensive training programmes to healthcare professionals and particularly to Community Health Workers (CHW).

As with any organisation there is a whole new language to learn, a whole new series of acronyms and TLAs (that’s three letter acronyms)…and additional complexity is added by the fact that different terms and acronyms are used in different countries as the AMREF programmes span large swathes of sub-Saharan Africa.

There is also a team from Accenture here, so Garret and I are looking forward to dovetailing into the work they are leading on m-health,( how to train CHWs via mobile technology). The pieces of the jigsaw are gradually falling into place and we’re feeling encouraged and excited about the challenge ahead.

We’re also feeling a little fraudulent in terms of our living arrangements. Basically you can buy anything at Nairobi..for a price: marmite, pesto, parmesan. You name it, you can probably get it here! We also have a gym on site and reasonable WiFi (minus the regular power cuts) at our office and apartment, so it’s not quite like the experience some of our fellow PULSE volunteers are having! Still I’m assured that out in the field such luxuries will be removed and we’ll be back to bucket showers and complete isolation…I think we’re oddly looking forward to it.

One comment

  1. Don’t worry–many of us in the least developed countries had the same experience. One of my fellow volunteers in Kumasi, Ghana, in 2010 referred to our experience as “luxury volunteering.” From reading lots of blogs, it seems that most of us were in the same boat.

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