The PartnerPastoral Women's Council
The Pastoral Women’s Council (PWC) promotes the development of Maasai pastoralist women and children by facilitating their access to education, civil and land rights, social services and economic empowerment. It seeks to address women’s marginalisation in patriarchal Maasai culture, as well as the poverty that Maasai face.
Moore Stephens LLP
AfID found Amy a volunteer position that not only suited her experience, but enabled her to make a real difference on issues close to her heart through a placement with The Pastoral Women's Council (PWC) in Tanzania.
''When I arrived at PWC their financial management was fairly basic. They were only using Excel spreadsheets at that time and part of my brief was to transfer over to QuickBooks. But when I arrived I realised there was quite a lot of work to do before we even got to that stage.
‘’The concept of checks and balances was absent so I started by improving that system along with other practical changes that were needed.
‘’It was clear that one of the issues facing the team was missing deadlines. I quickly realised how heavily I rely on Outlook and our phones and laptops to remind us to do things. So I thought ‘how am I going to do this’, and came up with putting some flip chart paper on the wall, writing everything that we needed to do on it and then highlighting the deadlines. It was a really good practical way to address that particular challenge.
‘’I taught quite a few of the basic Excel shortcuts that we probably all use day to day. It blew everybody in the finance team’s minds that they could do things that quickly. That’s the kind of capacity you have to bear in mind before heading out there.’’
On her placement, Amy worked closely with Jill Nicholson. As Programme Manager at PWC Jill worked within three project departments: Education, Rights; Land & Leadership; Women’s Economic Empowerment.
'‘Amy and Victoria, who was the second volunteer we received from AfID, made a profound and positive impact on our organisation. We were struggling. I knew to some extent some of the challenges we were facing, but more were uncovered through their expertise. Systems that were introduced by Amy and Victoria are still in place and the local staff are building on them.
‘’PWC had gone through a huge amount of growth. We had gone from a budget of $200,000 annually to approaching a million over about 3 years. Without their help we would not have been able to maintain our level of funding. We would have had to drop some donors because we simply could not survive at that level. That would have limited the work we were able to do.
''Now the organisation has a structured basis. Good systems are in place, the staff are more confident enabling them to continue building capacity and we’ve now hired another member of staff to support them. The organisation as a whole has really benefited. We can’t thank the AfID volunteers enough for their work because it really did change the state of affairs for us.
''To pay for the extensive support we needed would have been absolutely unfeasible for us. In Tanzania financial capacity generally is quite low so to get the skill set we needed would have been hugely expensive.''
Having had a taste of the sector, Amy was ready to make the jump to a career in International Development. She now works for a global reproductive and sexual health rights organisation in London.
‘’I was working as an auditor and I thought I wanted to make the move to the charity sector but I wasn’t entirely sure, so that’s why I did the placement. I didn’t want to make the move and regret it. It was so helpful. The challenges I faced in the role were so different to the challenges you face as an auditor, but actually quite similar to the challenges I now face in my new role.
‘’I applied for my job while on my placement. I had my interview on my little Nokia phone which I charged up for days because I knew it was going to be a long call. It actually cut out before the end of my interview and then had to wait the next day before I could call them back. But I got the job!’’