This blog is part of a series that we will be publishing over the next few weeks to round off the ECDD project. Here our new communications manager Coralie interviews Siti Mohamed, one of ECDD’s very first employees, who looks back over the last five years, and what needs to be achieved with the new NGO Dahari.
Siti studied philosophy for four years in Madagascar before changing tack to do a masters in sustainable natural resource management. On her return at the end of 2007 she responded to an ECDD recruitment that seemed to match her skills.
Her mission? Project facilitator. Siti covered five different villages during her time with the project, including Adda where she is currently working for the new NGO Dahari. Her field of activity has been varied; analyzing livelihood problems with the villagers, identifying with them different solutions to implement, and developing and implementing the selected activities. Her primary objective was to motivate as many villagers as possible to work with the project.
She was gradually trained in agronomy by ECDD. She also learned to speak up in meetings and in front of audiences, to run and animate meetings, to be heard by different audiences: in essence she feels that she has gained confidence in herself. She has also greatly improved her computing skills and is now able to create and manage databases. It has been a continuing education.
Her greatest source of personal pride ? The many different skills she has acquired from different trainings. And in the field? Knowing that her work has not been wasted, that she has worked with many satisfied villagers and that she can see the results.
Her biggest challenge has been to balance her status as a mother of two young children and her work – she spends up to four days a week in the field. But also to face the difficulty of getting villagers involved in the work, especially in her first village, Kowé, before there were visible results from the project.
Two memorable moments come to her mind. First, her assignment to the village of Moya which coincided with her first child, when she had to give a lot of herself . And the thanks from the villagers of Outsa after the success of the work to rehabilitate water infrastructure in the village. She’s really happy to see that in one of the poorest villages in the Comoros the Project has managed to improve many peoples’ lives and there is more money circulating thanks to the agricultural activities. People have been able to improve their living conditions, which was the main goal, and is a pleasure to see.
And how does she imagine the rest of her career? For the moment, she isn’t looking beyond Dahari. She is happy and she wants to stay in this field. However, she does not hide that she would like, in the future, to improve her skills and develop into a team leader. With the NGO Dahari , she wants to learn new things like project management and leadership.
She sees the ultimate goal of Dahari as to successfully train the villagers to empower themselves. People who are already part of the community should have more responsibility and take control of the activites in order to give more time for the technicians to promote the project. We need the agricultural groups that have been created to run themselves, to have their own rules to become stable and profitable. Someone in the village should be in charge of facilitating the NGO’s interventions, someone who would broadcast Dahari’s message and would serve everyone.
As for the sustainable impact of her work, she sees it in the technical support that has been provided and skills transfer . Because she has no doubt : everything will be transmitted to the neighbors, to the children, to the next generation. It’s a long process, but it will come step by step.