Welcome Anna, our first staff member!
In July 2019, we appointed our first ever full-time paid employee at Made With Hope, Anna! Anna is working as our Development Manager, meaning that she has responsibilities spanning fundraising, project design and delivery, and volunteer management. We are extremely excited to have someone working at the charity alongside Eleanor. This is a massive step forward for us and we’re looking forward to increasing and improving our work in Tanzania with Anna on board!
Why are we hiring our first staff member?
Made With Hope began as a 100% donation to the cause charity and has operated that way for the first 6 years of our existence. The demand for our work in rural Tanzania was growing. We needed to help more thousands more children. But our current volunteer led organisation was struggling to keep up with this demand. To be able to scale our work and support those who most needed it, we needed to hire somebody full time. We know paying for staff is sometimes frowned upon in the charity sector, but we’ve learnt from so many other charities that the impact a staff member can bring can make a much bigger impact on children’s lives in Tanzania than if we were to continue running through volunteers. As always, our focus is on transparency and we look forward to sharing Anna’s impact.
How is Anna being paid?
We are fortunate that we have received some initial support from a major donor plus we are beginning to recover costs from donations to continue supporting this role. This investment in a staff member is going to enable us to help dramatically scale our work. So at the end of the day, every penny will be worth it.
The aim of this blog is for us to introduce Anna to all of our lovely followers! Firstly, we’ll start with some quick-fire questions:
Place you grew up: Bollington (near Macclesfield).
Favourite food: Olives.
Favourite song/album: ‘Wide Awake’ by Idris Elba and Shakka, according to the past 6 months on Spotify.
Favourite thing you’ve watched on TV/at the movies: Seemingly anything that Phoebe Waller-Bridge is involved in! (Recently Flea Bag and Killing Eve). It remains to be seen if this pattern holds for the new Bond film.
Favourite hobby: I am a bit of a magpie for hobbies as I enjoy the first phase of learning a new skill, rather than patient total mastery. Painting with acrylics is flavour of the month.
Best place you’ve been: Okavango Delta in Botswana, camping on the islands surrounded by hippos and getting around by makurus (a small canoe). I also have very soft spots for Kisii and Kakamega - towns in western Kenya I have visited multiple times over the past decade and had the opportunity to see change and develop first hand.
Place you’d most like to visit: Ethiopia.
Biggest motivation: Outrage and coffee!
Now for some longer questions:
What previous experience do you have of working in international development?
I started volunteering with Education Partnerships Africa when I was an engineering undergraduate. I volunteered with them for over a decade in a variety of roles, including trustee. Eventually I became their first staff member and full-time CEO, a role I held for three years prior to joining Made With Hope. EPAfrica works with rural secondary schools in Kenya and Uganda and invests in small-scale infrastructure upgrades, water, health and technology projects, designed to improve the quality of education they are able to provide. Prior to being EPAfrica’s CEO, I have been an educational grants manager in London, Engineers Without Borders UK’s Africa Development Officer and a Civil Service Faststreamer. These jobs taught me valuable lessons in monitoring and evaluation as well as liaising with organisations in Africa.
What made you decide to work for MWH?
Made With Hope seemed like a good fit in many ways! I enjoy working for organisations as they are growing and trying new things as it’s an interesting and rewarding period. I truly believe in Made With Hope’s mission: since first working with a secondary school in rural Kenya in 2007, I have visited over 100 schools in the region. Every visit has reinforced how important I believe it is to support school communities to provide a high-quality education for their students. I like that Made With Hope has focused in on 4 programme areas; I think that is a smart strategy for building expertise and realising impact. I was also impressed by what I read about MWH’s partners, CHETI. Having a dedicated and trusted local partner is critical in this work - and MWH is very fortunate to have Zuma and CHETI on board. I have loved working in East Africa previously, and have been fascinated by the changes in the education systems in Kenya and Uganda over the past decade, as fees for secondary education were abolished, with all the associated benefits and problems! As Tanzania is currently introducing similar reforms, I saw an opportunity to build on my experiences whilst continuing to learn. I also knew that I find working with and through volunteers to be contagiously motivating! Lastly, I felt that my experiences of volunteer organisations, rural East African schools and education projects were a match for the role, and I hope that I have something to contribute.
What do you enjoy most about working at MWH?
It’s an exciting time to be working for MWH, just as we are putting ambitious plans into action and figuring out how to address the challenges that accompany them. I still feel like I am learning about the organisation, but so far, so good! (Our nice shared office space is a bonus too).
What are you most looking forward to at MWH in the future?
In the short term, I am going to Tanzania in September to visit CHETI and our partners! Longer-term, I will take great satisfaction in seeing the projects currently in design through to implementation.