Life is a journey. At different stages of your life, many people with various influences both negative and positive come and go. For me, the ActionAid Zimbabwe team has left a permanent mark in my life which will not be very easy to erase.
Although on one hand it is sad to bid farewell to the ActionAid family, on the other hand I return to university in March 2017 armed with many workplace skills.It has been a wonderful year and I have worked with great men and women who helped me fine tune the goals that I have set for my personal career aspirations. When you are raised in an airbase, you grow up thinking that being the highest ranked officer is the best thing you can achieve but ActionAid has changed this view for me. I now believe I can do better than a high ranked officer.
I have been taught on how to treat women better and what we as men need to do to ensure that society values our women as precious human beings they are to us. Prior to joining ActionAid, I thought men and women were affected the same by lack of access to clean water supplies for example. I have grown to understand that lack of access to water affects a young woman more than it can affect a young man like me. I can go for days without bathing, but my sister needs water more than I do to remain hygienic during her mensuration cycle. Hence the need to push for gender responsive public services. I was introduced to gender responsive service delivery programming within ActionAid and have learnt to appreciate issues of women’s rights better.
Taking a case of my sister and myself, if our parents give us US$100 each in a month, my sister is going to be deprived of up to US$3 on her monthly budget used for sanitary wear while my budget will not include it. This clearly shows how disadvantaged my sister is for just being female. Fellow students who have not been attached to organisations such as ActionAid may not understand me and may belittle such issues. As I go back to school, I urge fellow students to rally behind the campaign for free sanitary wear for female students at our various school institutions. I have had female friends who failed to write examinations as they struggle buying sanitary wear because they cannot afford them.
It has not been just a year for me as this was the year I turned 21. The year I became a man, the year I graduated from being someone else’s responsibility to being responsible for my own actions. I will forever cherish the advice I got from both the men and the women of this organization. They all took me as their son/brother and I appreciate the roles they all played in my transformation.
I am not leaving ActionAid empty handed though, but rather I am going with a wealth of knowledge which I will always treasure. This was my first job, the one I got from my first ever interview. I have to say working at ActionAid has been a fantastic learning experience and I am very thankful for the skills I've acquired. I feel as if being at ActionAid each day has made me a more complete and well-rounded person.
I've learnt how to take direction, criticism, and compliments. These are three things I wasn't so great at handling before, and now I feel as though I can handle such feedback positively. I've also learnt to be open-minded, to value other people's opinions, consider other ideas along with mine to ensure better decision making as I process particular tasks.
Being part of the ActionAid team has taught me skills that I can apply to various areas of my life both professional and personal. For example I have developed better interpersonal skills and as a result my relationships at work and home have improved. My relationships on a personal level are in a better place than they were before. I've come to realize that being a part of a team is a lot more than just sharing credit. Successful team work requires compromise. When you are part of a team you have to learn the art of leading, following and compromising at different times.
My wish for everyone at ActionAid is that they all continue to experience success and to feel fulfilled in all they do. It's been a pleasure working at ActionAid and I will truly miss it. I take with me fond memories, valuable skills, and I hope to one day leave an impression on others in the manner in which ActionAiders have positively influenced me.
I pray that our paths cross again. I thank ActionAid and May God repay it with blessings for the change it brings about in people’s lives.
GOD BLESS ACTIONAID