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 20150916_090312become 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 20150916_08343320150916_123525“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 20150916_12354320150916_083449in “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 20151019_123451 20151019_135155






A part of my assignment was to look at the Monitoring and Evaluating at MWECS. Now GSK is big on visual displaysIMG_20151123_130439 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 20151211_095844second 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.


  1. Hi Kaye, I am so proud of the work you have done in Ethiopia. I am pleased to see the GSK marker pens being well used on the flashy new white boards ! Best wishes over the Christmas period and look forward to seeing you again in the New Year. Safe journey home. Regards, David.

    1. Many thanks to you David for helping supply the post-its and Pens. They were very excited to have all the shiny items. Have a good xmas

  2. Hello Kaye, when you’ve done with shining and sorting in Ethiopia, could you make a trip here as I have 3 huge cabinets and an office that need a good and clear out. You’ve done a fine job there and could do with some assistance! Well have yourself a very good, different and memorable Christmas this year and look forward to catching up in the New Year. Lina

  3. Kaye , congrats on the great work you are doing , here’s wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year and see you in 2016. Mick

  4. Fabulous! Great to see these simple approaches being applied in a very different environment with such success! Well done Kaye for all that you have achieved on your assignment.

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