A lot of people are confused about the work I’m actually doing here, so I thought I’d give you more details!
As of last week, our 3-person team has embarked on a 3 month journey that we call a “clinic”. Now, this is not a medical clinic where we provide medicine and bandages. Instead, this is business clinic that focuses on helping people fix their business problems. The clinic changes locations each time, and for the next few months we’re focusing on the Eastern Region.
The 16 chosen businesses are from the agricultural sector, including businesses such as poultry farmers, piggery, grasscutter farmers, pineapple farmers, mango exporters, and input suppliers (such as fertilizer, seeds, etc.). Most of the businesses are small but each business can send 1 or 2 people to attend the clinic – usually the CEO and a manager. The clinic involves three training modules that are each two full days. The first session focused on Leadership and Business Development and was held last week in Koforidua (the region capital). The next training module will be held in the same location in two weeks time.
The program also provides each business with a coach. The coach evaluates the business, helps the business set goals and accomplish them, helps the business apply what they learned in training to their own company, and helps the business complete certain deliverables. The deliverables include an Executive Summary, a Business Pitch, a Financial Strategy, and the implementation of a Project in their business.
MBC is in charge of planning everything related to the clinic. We recruit participants, hire coaches, and find trainers to teach the curriculum we’ve already created.
So far my job has consisted of the following duties:
- Getting to know what MBC is all about (business training for the agricultural sector)
- Attending a stakeholder meeting and writing a report on recommendations
- Recruitment for the clinic in Koforidua (which involved calling business, meeting with associations of farmers, responding to emails, sending out applications, etc.)
- Helping with coaches (who are paired with businesses to offer support) and trainers (who actually teach the material in the courses)
- Logistics for the clinic (trainers, hotel, meals, transportation, calendar of activities, etc.)
- Communicating to participants (about schedule, recap of what was learned, clarifying information, etc.)
- Preparing curriculum (all three modules already had powerpoints, handbooks, exercises, and case studies – but they needed to be edited for content and clarity before being used again)
We were a bit stressed to start off the last clinic. The budget was only approved at the last minute and we had some issues getting the checks we needed to pay for everything we had to book. Bernard, Kombate, and I were also not feeling well in the week leading up to the course. One of our employees (Mike) was unexpectedly no longer present and we were in a rush to get everything done in time. However, we needn’t have worried so much because it all went off really well. The first day started late, but 7 of 8 coaches were present (and we knew about the 8th who lived in Accra – which is a further city). The second day we had no power, but the students aleady had the slides, and the teacher did a great job teaching that way until the generator was working. 15 of 16 companies selected agreed to participate and showed up at the training, and they were very good at engaging with the questions. They took the workbook seriously and interacted with each other on multiple occasions in relation to the presented material. Overall, I would say it was a big success!
I hope that the other training sessions are equally useful to participants, and that the businesses are able to form a good bond with their coaches!