Saturday November 22nd – Mombasa
Today we moved our famous green container out of Sheikh Khalifa School to our new location in MITC where it was received by a large group of Camara volunteers eagerly awaiting the opening of the new hub.
Once of the principal reasons in travelling to Kenya was to formally end the relationship with our local partner in the original Mombasa hub. While the original hub had far exceeded our expectations in terms of operational and financial sustainability it was clear that our partner did not share Camara’s culture in many important areas. They viewed volunteers as a dispensable commodity, to be controlled very much like a student in a training program. Camara considers them the life blood of the organisation and capable of taking on even the
most challenging tasks. They viewed governance as the local partner controlling everything on the ground and Camara just supplying money and the computers whereas we wanted an independent board and
transparency over finances and school allocation decisions. Ultimately as we could not reach agreement on some of these fundamental issues so we decided to part ways and to start again having learnt some painful lessons. One of the most important of these lessons was that no matter how well you agree the specific details of a partnership with contracts and division of responsibilities (Yes we did have a Memorandum of Understanding), unless you share the same culture, values and philosophies then this partnership will ultimately fail.
On a positive note over the last 11 months we have also met some extraordinary local volunteers – Doudi, Alex, Athman, Chiku, Susan to name but a few – volunteers who will now play an integral part in the work Camara in our new Mombasa Hub.