It’s all about cultural differences and adaptation : How to deal with timekeeping in Africa?

Something very funny to share with you today!

We are currently doing a workshop on the testing of our tool to monitor the national program of vaccination in Kananga (Province of Kasai Occidental).

Before to organize this workshop, I wanted to test a way to perform an After Action Review, a tool intended to collect the opinion of participants in order to analyze the strength and weakness of the activity so that we can improve our ways of working. So I proposed to the participants to fill a questionnaire in order to evaluate the quality of our workshop in terms of technic, logistic and organization.

When writing the questionnaire at Lubumbashi, I was already smiling when I added the question ‘’did we respect the timing?’’ because I knew already that timekeeping is definitely something very different between Europe and Africa in general 😉. But anyway, I decided to keep this question into the questionnaire … and let’s see what happen next!

The results …?

DSC_0573Despite the fact that today we were more than 2h30 late on the agenda, 70% of participants were satisfied with the timekeeping? If you had administered the same questionnaire to European guys, oh oh oh … you would have had a dissatisfaction rate of 100% 😉 !!!!

I LOVE THIS EXAMPLE which perfectly illustrates one of the main cultural differences between France, for instance, and Africa: the rhythm and time managing is DE-FI-NI-TE-LY different !!! It’s like living in two opposite galaxies.


So now how to deal with this ‘’jet lag’’ ?

You have 2 options: the first one, you try to manage the time like in Europe but the risk is that you lose your energy because you may be the only one who has this preoccupation in mind. The second option (my favorite one), you look at my pie chart every day and it makes you smile 🙂 and you ask to yourself: ‘’ok we were more than 2:30  late but in the end, did we reach our objectives? Yes …. So there is no problem!’’ If it’s NO …. Hum sorry for you but you may have to investigate a bit in order to know why you did not reach your objective … but be careful it’s not necessarily due to the timekeeping …;-)

See you and take care !


P.S: I WILL LOOK AT MY PIE CHART TONIGHT BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP … AND I WILL SMILE AGAIN AND AGAIN (just to mention that I don’t belong to the 6% of dissatisfied participants !! ;-)) I did not answered to the questionnaire …)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s