Since my last blog update, I have returned back to UK and currently working from the office of the Save the Children International also known as “SCI”. SCI is located in central London just next to National Gallery, Trafalgar Square. I have been cycle commuting to the central office thanks to the generosity of Priscilla Hancock for lending me her bike. The only adventure with the bike has been a flat tire just as I was arriving to work couple of days ago. So far so good (fingers crossed).
I have also been progressing steadily with my project. My goal of this project is to ensure that Save the Children is compliant with requirements of US Government contracting regulations. US Government contracting is a key strategic objective of Save the Children US. It is expected that government funding for certain programme areas such as Education and Livelihoods will become increasing reliant on funding through contracts rather than traditional grants. This message has been emphasized during the recent town hall held by Carolyn Miles (CEO) and Carlos Carrazana (COO) of Save the Children US. I have been spending the last month identifying and engaging SCI stakeholders to understand current issues and challenges in US Government contracting.
Typically, contracts that awarded by the Save the Children US and subcontracted to the member countries (which are part of SCI). The awareness of risk and requirements are limited due to variety of factors such as lack of experience, skill sets associated with government contracting. I have made small “sure but small steps” progress against the project objectives by having the requirements that I prepared endorsed by a subject matter expert. The next steps are to engage the subject matter expert in supporting technical aspects of implementing the US Government requirement. In this regard, I have been drafting the statement of work and creating specific deliverables for the project utilizing my experience in engaging with external consultants at GSK.
During my time here, I have also been attending “brown bags “ or lunch and learn sessions held by Country Directors to understand the work performed and the challenges in operations I am impressed the passion and energy of the individuals despite the challenges. For example, I learnt that due to road blocks and security checks children in Palestine missed several hours of school. Through advocacy efforts, Save the Children was able to lobby to ease checks for children in order for them to attend classes. Stories like these motivate me to want to achieve my goals sooner.
I will be London until the beginning of December. If anyone keen to catch up, please drop me a note. I have attached couple of pictures of the SCI offices as well as the “success bell”.