ActionTalks is an opportunity for cross-cultural knowledge sharing. We welcome our African and European partners to to share from their experiences and give advice. HR&S Sweden, HR&S Branches and Action10 meet to reflect on important matters, in addition RISE members and potential RISE members are welcome to pitch their business scaling ideas.
Within the planning and evaluation tool that we use (ROPE), learning lessons and taking informed decisions is key. ActionTalks meeting notes are compiled when possible, and then we use this material to reflect, learn lessons and take informed decisions. Meeting notes are compiled below.
HR&S with Action10, is a creative and innovative social enterprise seeking solutions to complicated questions. While we move forward nicely we also make mistakes. We actually give ourselves room for making mistakes, as long as we learn from them and take informed decisions; mistakes shall not be repeated, shall only happen if they could not have been avoided, and if someone has suffered as a consequence of an HR&S mistake, we shall ask for forgiveness and repair any damage that we may have caused. With the above in mind it is obvious that “lessons learned and informed decisions” is key to the HR&S operations.
8 April 2021
Millicent SIFUNA, Kenya (taking notes)
Cecilia ÖMAN, Sweden (making small presentation, reviewing the notes)
Stephanie MAÏGA, Burkina Faso
Evelyn FUNJIKA, Zambia
Kanekwa ZYAMBO, Zambia
Moses MURUNGU, Uganda
Milohum DZAGLI, Togo
Aghama JESUROBO , Nigeria
Elvis AUSTINS, Nigeria (only partly, due to internet challenges)
CROSS-CULTURAL RESPECT (ACTION 10 and HR&S RISE CENTRES)
The following is a compilation of different views of team leaders from different countries brainstorming on the topic above. Seven countries were represented, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Burkina Faso, and Sweden.
What could motivate people to join our team?
- The brand of the institution. What is our brand? People like to associate themselves with a successful brand. A way to attract serious-minded people is to share the impact of our work and the number of people from different backgrounds that are members of our institution.
- If they know our mission and our impact and if it aligns with what they want, as their vision, it is easy to volunteer with us. This could then be a form of fulfillment. Moreover, it will be something those who choose to work with us want to invest in. Thus, passion will drive such kinds of individuals. We should thus be able to communicate our impact to get people whose interest or passion aligns with it, even if they are not going to benefit financially.
- Action10-HR&S offers opportunities to do things freely while learning from mistakes.
- Area of development (social development) also tend to attract positive, supportive and active people with intrinsic motivation, thus ensuring a good working environment.
What skills are required while introducing people into the team?
- Select volunteers from experience.
- Volunteers themselves should clarify what they are going to do and how they can offer their service.
- How would the work invested in Action10-HR&S constrain them in relation to other things they want to do?
Views about cross-cultural respect
Reflections on interest in cultures-respecting-other-cultures.
- Not keeping people out. Understanding them while not judging.
- People are held accountable based on our Ten Actions and core values. People are free, but they should not go overboard. The Ten Actions and core values are our guiding principles.
- We continue to experience the post-colonial attitude. Solving this is by identifying and addressing it now and then. We should also understand how to identify the post-colonial attitude. Talk about post-colonial attitude openly and list down the different aspects of it, so that it is easily recognized when it happens. Whoever is in the situation should know best. Look into literature and find scientific findings also from the African literature.
- HR&S does not encourage the savior mentality, so a lot of conflicts are saved. We should strive to develop strategies that kill the ‘helping mentality; which HR&S has ensured already. Equal partnership is key.
- Set understanding of language. Communication is key. Best way to discuss with other people. E.g., In Togo, you have to be friendly to get attention. It would be best if you also were patient. Not to offend someone. Respect for each other. Giving a chance to ask questions. Listen to each other. Give time. Be understanding. Give a chance to ask questions or share thoughts about what you are saying.
- Know what to sell, know the culture of the people to whom you want to sell the service.
- If we are supporting a social entrepreneur who are introducing projects in communities rooted deeply in culture, our partner the RISE member must know how to talk to people. That is also why we are firm on our Action No.1; “needs and user driven”, ensuring that projects introduced in communities have been requested for by the community already and is being implemented by one of the community member. Our partner social entrepreneur is supported to hold several meetings with the community and chief of the community, the Elders etc.
- If potential ideal customers do not understand why they have to pay for a service, we should break down the cost of the structure.
Farm Business School_PITCH
4 May 2022
Elvis AUSTINS, presenter.
Hannah HÖRL, note taker.
Also Millicent, Paul, Moses, Mariam, Elvis, Atwine, Kevin and Evelyn attended from Africa and Carlos, Cecilia, Anne, and Jasminka from Sweden.
Notes from the presentations: On the 4th of May we had the privilege to partake in a very inspiring ActionTalk by Mr Elvis Austins, team-leader of HR&S Branch Nigeria. During this month ActionTalk, Elvis kindly presented his backyard garden project and his aim to develop a farm business school programme. Elvis, who was awarded the annual global innovation award for his “Spell Africa” project in 2013 is embarking to new shores with a project centred around the idea of improving food security while also pitching the idea of organic and sustainable farming methods.
The idea of his farm business school is to make farming possible anywhere and everywhere. Food scarcity and insecurity has become a global challenge and Nigeria is especially affected with a minimum of 9.2 million Nigerians facing food insecurities between March and May this year alone. Austins outlined many reasons to explain the phenomenon, highlighting a lack of knowledge about modern farm practices which respectively leads to fewer people engaging into farming since it often does not prove profitable. Another reason for food scarcity is the lack of proper storage and preservation resulting in fresh produce often going bad before it can reach consumption.
Austins aims to target both major issues with his agricultural training programme. He developed an educational system providing information and training about both organic farming practices and innovative storage methods, such as specially isolated “storage boxes”. Those storage chambers are capable of achieving a temperature reduction of 15 degrees compared to the outside temperature by only using isolation foam- no electricity needed! He also uses compost incinerators turning food waste into valuable and highly fertile compost, usable in his backyard farming system since it does not produce any unpleasant smells as one might expect.
In addition to his ambition to change the current Nigerian farming practices with a cross- generational approach, he aims to change the stereotype of the poor hard working farmer by showing how yields can increase by using modern, organic methods. Backyard farming as a possible solution to food scarcity is a promising project even for less rural areas since it only requires a couple of square meters and allows families to be less dependant on an unstable market.
Education and community action, both factors are perfectly united in Austins’ backyard farming project ensuring learning beyond the class room entire communities can profit from!