Thursday, May 16, 2013

A new project?

These days I am doing a lot of thinking and networking and gathering information and researching for a new WASH proposal.  My work at this point is entirely preliminary; there has not even been a call for proposals, let alone a clear answer of whether I can get the institutional funding to do this project.  Since I am new to this province, however, I feel it necessary for me to prepare as much as possible for the opportunity, if it comes about.  To be honest, as I learn more about the challenges of working in this province, I’m quite intimidated about taking this on.  There are definite reasons to try to do this:
  • ·      After 12 years of aid, so many communities in this province still do not have safe drinking water!   
  • ·      Adding another proposal and a new donor will make the community development programme here more resilient.
  • ·      It will utilize the growing capacity our organization has in WASH, and extend our reach and influence in this province.

On the other hand, this is a big thing to take on, especially because the places that are the neediest for WASH are also the most inaccessible because of mountains and insecurity.  I met today with a man who formerly worked with an organization that did excellent work in one of those hard to reach places.  He told me that the only way they could reach the 3 districts they worked in was by riding horseback for 8 hours!  Amazingly, they established a project that worked well despite the access challenges, but then it had to be closed after they faced insecurity not in their working area, but along the way there!
The other big challenge to face will be using all new staff.  The funding will only be available for 3 years and the institutional donor will require a lot of outputs each year (WASH for 14 villages and 3 schools/year).  This means that the staff will have to be trained quickly and trusted to work under remote management. 
As I work towards this proposal and project, some days I’m excited with the possibility, and others I’m overwhelmed with concern about the challenges.  This morning I was encouraged to again read my favorite chapter of Proverbs.  I’ll copy the verses that were loud and clear to me tonight, I hope they are meaningful to you as well:

“The plans of the heart belong to man,
but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
but the Lord weighs the motives.  Commit your works to the Lord
and your plans will be established.” (16:1-3)

“When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (16:7)

“The mind of man plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps.” (16:9)

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