Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14 - Last day at Plan :(

Well this is it. My last day at Plan. Sad but happy...

The people here keep asking me one thing...are you sad to go? Sure I am. I'll miss the day to day interaction. The chatting at tea time in the kitchen, the jacket potatoe lunches and the mandatory 10 mins of social talk when you nip up to someone's desk with a question. The folks here are amazing (I believe I said that yesterday) and I'll miss them but I know they have made a contribution to my life and I theirs. Somewhat cliche again but true.

Having been in and out of the country I don't have a desk here so there's no box of acquired 'stuff' to lug home with me. There's no name plate to add to my collection and I don't even think I'll take a single extra piece of paper with me (trust me, when you are in Sierra Leone you learn quickly to print less).

I know this won't be the last I hear of these people. I've made some truly great friends here and have promised to visit again. I've also invited everyone to Canada...I think I have convinced Nana...just need to get rid of some of that snow!

Time to finish 'transitioning' then head off to the pub for a couple of Guinni. It's been a slice!

I'll be here for another week so expect one or two more updates and few more photos.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13 - No Go...Talk about anti-climactic

It's been a few days since the chaos of last Friday and all of the panic-ed preparation for the decision on whether or not the full ChildData system would go live in all 67 countries so I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the decision.

It was decided that due to:
> Several outstanding system stability issues
> Lack of readiness from several field and sponsorship offices and,
> Issues with support coverage over the holidays

that we would not add any new offices (we are live in 9 countries now) until January 7th and have an additional wave January 28th (anyone from STSI reading this and cringing?).

So, that's that. I have redone the deployment plan around those dates and the team is busy gathering readiness of the offices to see who can go on the 7th and who will get the extra three weeks.

It really is sad for me as I won't be around to see the system go truly global. It's also a resourcing nightmare as the two new folks replacing us will only start Jan 14th and so will be of little help with the additional work in January.

All in all I think it was the right decision. This was definitely the most interesting go/no-go decision I have ever been apart of as every single person in this organization feels they should have their individual say into the decision and it boggles my mind how all that input can be managed.

Susan did a fabulous job in wading through the politics and whinging and making a very smart recommendation.

I wish the team all the luck in the world and can't wait to get the email that the system is global. Tomorrow is my last day at Plan and it will be a sad one. So cliche to say but the people here are fabulous and I will miss them a lot. It really does feel good to work for an organization that is doing good and with people who sacrafice a lot to work here. Amazing folks!

I'll be in the UK for an extra week and look forward to touring about a bit and just relaxing. I am also super pumped for my journey home on the 22nd. I can't wait to jump in the snow and hug my family and friends and pat Franklin!

Here's a couple more shots of the folks around here from our Plan Christmas Party last week. Yes, it's actually called a Christmas party and not a Holiday party and, at last count there are 4 Christmas trees in the office...and one of them is real! woohoo!

(Me and Kate; Jon and Jamie (who were drinking rose...seriously); Milton, Mark and Jaime (the first person from Plan I ever met aside from Susan); Paul and Bruce (who's dog I am going to try to pack in my suitcase); David, Simon, Dave and me)

December 13 - Conor's Article

Howdy! The following article came out today in the Accenture online journal. Those of you who are Accenturites can see the full thing here:

For the rest of you lucky folks here's the cut and paste:

Conor Sheehy raises awareness of children rights through Accenture Development Partnerships program

Conor Sheehy, consultant - Public Service, applies his Accenture consulting skills far from his London office in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sheehy, in partnership with Accenture Development Partnerships, is working with Plan International – a non-profit a humanitarian, development organization that works with families and their communities to meet the needs of children around the world.

“Plan International’s child sponsorship program aims to make global communities aware of and involved in the needs and rights of children,” Sheehy explained. “My role involves working from three continents to support the rollout of the initial release of the new, cost-effective solution for ChildData – a system and associated processes designed to manage global sponsorship information.”

Sheehy continued, “In early October (2007), I presented the training rollout for ChildData to 20 representatives from West Africa, with the help of a French interpreter, in Ghana. The system is currently scheduled to go live globally on December 10.”

“When Plan International’s operations were pioneered in Sierra Leone, a lack of trust among local communities existed,” Sheehy said. “Superstition permeated the minds of people who believed a legendary genie, Kasila, had appeared in human form to take their children away to the underworld.”

Sheehy continued, “Since my arrival in Freetown, I have heard tales of supernatural cats, human teleporting and witchdoctors controlling thunderbolts from the sky. I have witnessed only some of these firsthand but can confirm that suspicion has been eradicated and visitors are now greeted with open arms.”

After spending his time providing training sessions to the local people of Sierra Leone, Sheehy explained “it is perhaps I who should be saying 'tєnki' (the local Krio expression to give thanks) as I have learned how people can be so resilient in the face of abject poverty. I am optimistic about Sierra Leone’s bright future following the 10-year war.”
“Working with Accenture Development Partnerships and Plan International has been a great experience,” Sheehy said. “I am helping to make a difference for children’s rights and, in the process, I have traveled to three countries to do so—I spent two months in Sierra Leone, a month in Kenya and a month in Mumbai, India. I am now back in the United Kingdom where Plan’s International Headquarters is based and I will be wrapping up my project at the end of the year.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

December 3 - One year older and clearly no smarter!

Happy Monday! Only 9.5 more work days left. Can you believe it!??!? It seems like just yesterday I was weepy-Tina-nearly-missing-her-flight and now I am frantic-Tina-trying-to-finish-her-work-and-enjoy-the-rest-of-her-time-here.

Wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent birthday greetings and everyone who has sent messages that make me more and more excited about coming home. I hear there is snow so that's great! The sun is shining here in the UK!

One more week until we go live around the world so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me. I'll be happy to see it in place but sad that all the work is done.

I had a couple of folks aske me about supporting Plan so here's the link to the Canadian site in case you want to take a look. I would be happy to chat off-line with anyone who has questions about how the money is used and my opinions on the efficiency of this (and other) NGOs which I think is a smart thing to have an insite into before you invest your money.

I also wanted to post some photos from my shindig on Thursday so you can all see some more of my amazing colleagues so when I tell you stories you have faces to names:
(photos: the chilly feast, Nicki and Susan post Sangria, Me and Mike the chef, Nicki demonstrating the power of Bailey's cake, Super Lyn and I)