By Kate Robertson
It is week three and I think its time to talk work. As you’ve been reading, it is clear that our team, sometimes referred to as, “Team Bzungu + 1″, is having a blast working for Solar Sister in Uganda. Team Bzungu was politely named by Timone, a friend of a friend of a T-Bird (we T-Birds are notorious for our global networking skills!). As we quickly learned, Mzungu means white person and bzungu is a group of white people. Conveniently, we are 4 white people + 1 black person, our resident Nigerian, Bayo Adebiyi.
Last December, after our first phone conversation with Katherine Lucey, founder of Solar Sister, we were excited about the upcoming opportunity to serve as consultants to the organization. Unfortunately, we also felt overwhelmed by the potential projects Katherine presented to us. During the following months, between module 1 classes, Team Bzungu + 1 met weekly to understand how we could maximize our teams’ skills to best benefit Solar Sister. We spent weeks defining and re-defining what would eventually become the scope of our work. From the Thunderbird library in sunny Arizona, we were unaware of the on-the-ground realities of Solar Sister and we knew that once we arrived, there was a possibility that everything we had prepared would become insignificant.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve traveled to various communities throughout Uganda and spent countless hours with the Solar Sister team, learning the “ins and outs” of the social enterprise. With help from Solar Sister’s Ugandan team, we’ve modified our initial plans. Following is a brief preview of what we’ve been working on between visiting delicious Indian restaurants, perusing artisan markets, riding on motorbikes and listening to traditional live music.
Recruiting Plan - Creating a systematic recruiting process that requires “buy-in” from participants and that focuses on identifying the highest performing Solar Sister Entrepreneurs.
Training Plan - Developing a detailed and visual training curriculum and manual that will be used by Solar Sister trainers to introduce the organization and present the product. This is the biggest piece of the project.
Organizational Development - Recommending an on-the-ground organizational structure as well as defining the roles and responsibilities of each Ugandan employee as well as an incentive system.
Marketing - Creating marketing collateral for use by Solar Sister in the US and suggestions for micro-marketing tactics to be used by Solar Sister Entrepreneurs in Uganda.
More to come from Uganda! Now, it is off to Ethiopian village for some African dinner.