VSO Mongolia was established after the fall of communism in the 1990s where the collapse of the state meant that the majority of the population did not have access to healthcare, education and a sustainable income. VSO's high-impact approach involves bringing international and local volunteers together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action to change lives for the better.
The situation has now turned around. With the help of international donors including the European Union, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, Mongolia has now reached 'middle income' status and is becoming self reliant. VSO has now begun the implementation of an exit strategy which has placed pressure on existing staff to continue fulfilling commitments to beneficiaries, external donors and the VSO head office, in the face of dwindling resources.
Shyam, an ACA qualified Finance Manager with solid experience in finance was selected to provide the local team with the extra skills they required. Working closely with the Country Director he helped devise an exit strategy for the closing of the office. In particular his responsibilities include:
- Building financial management capacity through strengthening their internal controls environment, streamlining their month-end processes and recruiting experienced finance staff.
- Reporting and liaising with donors such as the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank on how their funding has impacted the marginalized groups on the VSO programmes.
- Increasing the profile of the Finance Department by explaining the role of accountants in an organization to other areas and providing training in accounting.
- Spear heading the 'One VSO' residential training weekend, by creating, leading and implementing the three day course to 17 people (both local and international volunteers).
A highly pressurised environment to meet all outstanding deadlines quickly and effectively. It was essential that Shyam quickly gained the trust of those he was working with. He professionally analysed the key issues, created an action plan and dealt with stakeholder expectations.
He organised and ran successfully a training weekend for the local employees on how to adjust to the changes, and extended his assignment for a further three months in order to ensure his exit strategy continued to be implemented effectively.
An exciting placement as he maximised impact by transforming ideas into positive action which has made a real and tangible impact on peoples lives. It was essential that VSO would exit the country as strongly as they had started.