Author Archives: KirstyKakanskas

February 22

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 11: lasting impact

One of the biggest challenges for a PULSE participant is trying to make permanent changes in the organisation you’re supporting. What happens when you leave? Because we were told many PULSE assignments struggle to have longevity, this was something I was conscious of and considered during my work. To my surprise, eight weeks after returning […]

January 04

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 10: work summary

In finishing my assignment, I wanted to try to sum up the work I’ve been doing with Live Well. I had two very different roles: one as an operations manager, and another developing the strategy and transforming the business model. My assignment was complicated by GSK co-funding the business, and at times I was caught between […]

November 08

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 9: birth of a saleswoman

Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard… Aptly enough, a line from The Scientist, by Coldplay, which was playing this morning as I started writing this blog. This scientist never expected she would be managing the day-to-day running of a sales business in Zambia, and it’s tough going. […]

November 02

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 8: Namibian safari

Because you can’t get too much of a good thing, I decided to take another safari trip – this time to Etosha National Park in the north of Namibia. The terrain is very different; Namibia is very dry and there are huge salt pans in the area, meaning sparse foliage and very little water, which […]

August 31

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 7: taking Care of visitors

Live Well is a social enterprise business owned by Care. So officially, my PULSE assignment is with Care. In reality, I’ve had little to no contact with Care since I’ve been in Zambia, other than saying hello when I pop into their building. Live Well is ran with dedicated staff who did not originate from […]

August 19

Living Well in Zambia, chapter 6: training

Live Well has a way of throwing development opportunities at me in the same way that GSK did… most recently in the form of delivering refresher training for our community health entrepreneurs (CHE). I’d planned to observe the training, but due to staff illness, I stepped in to work with sales officer Salome, to deliver […]

August 09

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 5: Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls are the best known attraction in Zambia, if not Southern Africa, given their status as the seventh wonder of the natural world. They stretch 2km across and at the highest point, the Zambezi river plummets 108 metres down; twice the height of Niagara Falls. The water volume varies greatly between the rainy and […]

July 29

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 4: getting down to business

Live Well is a sales business. It’s very different to my experience in GSK; in primary manufacturing, I jump from thinking about the realities of making the active pharmaceutical ingredient to safety and supply for the patient and the sales and distribution elements pass me by. Live Well also doesn’t feel like a PULSE assignment. […]

July 10

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 3: safari

For our first full weekend in Zambia, we headed east to South Luangwa National Park. Kindly, the government had arranged two bank holidays in our second week, and Live Well organised for us to go to Chipata for work for the rest of the week (which is quite close to the national park), so we […]

July 09

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 2: field trips

Live Well activities cover peri-urban and rural communities, with two hubs: Lusaka (the capital) and Chipata (a town in Eastern Province, near the Malawi border). In our first week, we went to Kanyama (a compound in Lusaka city) and the district of Chongwe (about an hour from Lusaka) which was fairly rural. In week two, […]

June 27

LivingWell in Zambia, chapter 1: From A (application) to Z (Zambia)

I think the theme of the first PULSE blog is similar. We are all filled with trepidation, concerns, fear even. It is significant to change so much, so quickly. This is my take on the journey to day one. So, rewind. We applied in January, and it was a pretty gradual process over a few […]