Introducing 5s and Whiteboards
When i first started at MWECS there was not enough office space; i found myself perched on the end of a colleagues
desk, twisted as there was nowhere for me to put my legs, having to get up when she wanted to get up from her desk. When Gelilla (another volunteer) joined us in the office it would become even tighter. Looking at the space i could visualise different ways to utilise the area. So although this was not part of my assignment one day when most were out of the office and the power was gone i took the initiative to rearrange the office space. This involved swapping cabinets up and down the stairs. Now as per a previous post; Gender Equality isn’t quite there, so remaining staff and carers of the patients in the psychosocial centres were adamant to do this instead of me. Despite me using my new word of “Lesrah” (let me do) it was not going to work and they pretended they didn’t understand! Meanwhile i cleaned (shined) and going through the remaining paperwork (Sorting) and amending cables (my biggest pet hate). The final result was an office with a new layout and space for additional people to sit in “comfortably”. The result was such a success i was asked to help look at both the director’s office and admins space. Those days without power became my days to 5S. I discovered that 5S was not completely alien to the finance director who had been taught this back at uni. So i have appointed him as the 5s champion for MWECS
A part of my assignment was to look at the Monitoring and Evaluating at MWECS. Now GSK is big on visual displays and using white boards, I can just imagine how much money has been spent on whiteboards. So my first task was to go find said whiteboards here in Addis. A task which was much harder than you would think. Imported boards were charging £50 per board which were damaged, and not the right size. After several months i finally found myself in Merkarto Ethiopia’s largest market, it has everything that you could think of. We found this gentleman who knocked me up 3 boards in 40 minutes and all for 1000birr (£32). I don’t think our supplier back home could match that.
The 3 boards were split with one going into the Directors office (content still to be designed), the second into the Psychosocial centre which helps them to monitor each day how many patients and carers they have in. The third and largest board i had placed in the Program office. Here we had much fun designing and creating in the available space. I started them off with some very simple tracking tools which i had adapted back from that which we use at the Ulverston site (Weeks focus, top 3 challenges, activities, table to colour in on the no. of patients supporting, and a table to track the donor requests), the remaining space the team have enjoyed using, highlighting important meetings and splitting by their various projects.
The board is a continuous learning and will change and develop as the team does. I look forward to see how the board is in 6 months time.