Changing roles

Sunday, 4. October 2015 9:32 | Author:

AMI looks very different compared to 12 months ago. We now have an office, the team has expanded to include five interns working full time, and several others are involved part time as student volunteers. I'm really happy to see this progress.

And for me, personally, my role has also changed. As well as shifting from the work with schools and universities to focus more on statistical programming, I now have responsibilities across the team that mean I don't just focus on my own work.

I like this new role a lot because I'm learning by being involved in the day to day running of AMI. Most important to me, I'm involved in all of AMI's activities. So even though my own work is mostly in one area, I'm still in touch with everything else that AMI does with schools, universities and beyond. This broad range of work is what has always interested and excited me. My shifting role, however, has also come with challenges.

The first meeting with the new AMI team.

Before, I was only responsible for getting my own work done, but now, I have a responsibility to make sure people complete their work as well. This means that I'm not completely in control of my daily schedule as I often interrupt my work when I'm needed for a discussion or to help someone. I've struggled to stay as productive as I would like when I'm dipping in and out of work and this is something I'll have to adapt to and improve on.

It requires patience to invest time in people, and management skills which I'm having to learn fast. Finding the balance between motivation and criticism is difficult and I'm learning that each person reacts differently to your feedback. The effects of this will only appear in the long term, but the rewards will be high when you see the development of the people you're working with.

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Unexpected by products from running a crowdfunding campaign

Saturday, 26. September 2015 13:48 | Author:

Over the past two weeks, I've spent far more time that I planned on our crowdfuding campaign, African Data Initiative, which is always more fun and time consuming than expected. There's still 21 more days to go but it doesn't look like we'll reach our ambitious target of getting 500 supporters from Kenya. Despite these challenges, there's been a lot of positives that sprung up as a result of our campaigning.

We realised a few weeks ago that people who already knew about AMI were quicker to support our campaign, and so we've been working on increasing awareness of AMI in Maseno, particularly among students. It's something I was always interested in because of the many conversations I've had with students, who seem almost angry when they realise something as fantastic as the Maths Camp has been going on in Maseno for the last four years and they never knew about it. So I'm glad the campaign has given us the chance to work on this. Our Maseno student volunteers have done excellently on this, putting in a lot of time and effort: in person, on social media and through videos all to create awareness of what AMI has been doing around Maseno. It's increased AMI's reputation in the community, and hopefully excited or inspired a few students.

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Interns filming a video asking fellow students to support the campaign.

AMI's social media presence has also come alive through the campaign. We're not made it enough of a priority in the past, but running this campaign has forced us to post regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs - and crucially not just about the campaign, but all of AMI's activities, which look impress now we've got them documented (World Bank Kenya even started following us on Twitter). This is largely down to our interns who have a bit more knowledge of social media but more importantly, have been dedicated and took initiative to ensure that, when people like me just didn't have the time, AMI was always outputting something. I really hope this continues after the campaign.

Finally, I never realised how quick and easy it is to make and edit videos that actually look pretty good - now I have some of these skills. Until a few weeks ago, the only video AMI had was the musical Maseno Maths Camp video from a few years back. We've now got 6, with more coming on the way, and the campaign has sparked the creativity of the AMI team, so watch this space...

I've enjoyed venturing into crowdfunding and although it's been time consuming and we're unlikely to get the large numbers we set out to achieve (find out in 21 days time), our efforts here will inform our future campaigns and have pushed AMI into exploring new ways of reaching out to people.

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