In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, VC volunteers were forced to return home leaving VC partner projects in a challenging state. VC adapted to this change by engaging with partner project staff members (known as VC Representatives) to continue on with the VC and Misean Cara supported activities.
This is a story about Kevin Kekisibo, a VC Representative and an administrator at Bishop Magambo Counsellor Training Institute (BMCTI) in Uganda. With a strong background in administration and a passion for making a difference, Kevin was thrust into a new role as a Viatores Christi (VC) representative when unforeseen circumstances disrupted the institute’s operations.
This article explores Kevin’s journey, the importance of local staff capacity development, and the valuable role of volunteers.
A Leap into the Unknown
With 15 years of dedicated service to BMCTI, Kevin had worked her way up the ranks within the organization. Equipped with a diploma in secretarial studies and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Kevin’s expertise grew over the years. Little did she know that a significant opportunity awaited her in March 2020.
Due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the institute’s newly arrived volunteer, Eithne Croke, was called back to Dublin. As a result, VC requested BMCTI’s director, Fr. Paschal Kabura, to identify a person who could step into the role of a development worker and ensure the project’s continuity.
A Resounding “Yes”
The director turned to Kevin, recognizing her seniority and past experience working alongside volunteers. It was a pivotal moment for Kevin, as she had to make a decision that would shape her professional path. After careful consideration, Kevin wholeheartedly accepted the challenge. Looking back, she expresses gratitude for taking that leap of faith.
The project at hand involved implementing Phase II psychosocial support for vulnerable elderly individuals in Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole District, Uganda. Kevin’s journey of project management had just begun.
Learning to Lead
Embracing her new role, Kevin found herself closely collaborating with the director, the VC team both in Uganda and Dublin. The support and guidance proved invaluable, as the team mentored her along the way.
Kevin’s expertise in drafting replies and communications impressed the director, who often remarked, “I wouldn’t have done it better than this.” This encouragement fueled Kevin’s determination to keep pushing forward.
The Value of Local Staff Capacity Development
Kevin firmly believes in the power of local staff capacity development. While BMCTI had received volunteers from VC since 2010, the opportunity to develop local staff’s project management skills was a game-changer. Since March 2020, Kevin has experienced tremendous growth in managing projects, thanks to the VC Venture training. This training covered essential aspects such as report writing, project cycle management, safeguarding, and community development.
Through the VC representative arrangement, staff members like Kevin could fully engage in project activities, understand the intended outcomes, and develop a close working relationship with VC through daily interactions and consultations with the offices in Uganda and Dublin.
While technical areas such as research, project proposal writing, and fundraising may still require volunteer support, Kevin firmly believes that BMCTI has the capacity to handle projects focused on psychosocial support and nutrition. The institute’s dedication to counselor training, coupled with the experienced team and the positive track record, gives confidence in their ability to make a lasting impact.
Kevin Kekisibo’s journey from an administrator to a VC representative showcases the transformative power of local staff capacity development. Through mentorship, collaboration, and a determination to succeed, Kevin has improved her project management skills and ensured the continued success of BMCTI’s initiatives.
Volunteers continue to play a crucial role in technical areas, but Kevin’s story serves as a testament to the immense potential that lies within the local staff of development organizations.
As BMCTI moves forward, empowered with knowledge and experience, they remain committed to their mission of providing psychosocial support to vulnerable elderly individuals. Kevin’s journey is a reminder that passion, dedication, and collaboration can create lasting change within communities.
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