Welcoming Our 2017 Scholarship Winners

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June 15, 2017

Welcoming Our 2017 Scholarship Winners

Last year's Field Scholarship award winners included (from left to right) Country Director Rakhi Bhatacharya of Lutheran World Relief in India; Regional HR Director Elizabeth Mutsami of Winrock International in Kenya; and Chief of Party Manohar Shenoy of John Snow Research & Training Institute, Inc. (JSI) in Uganda.

By Alexia Kime

Associate, Programs InsideNGO

Last year, we announced that our annual conference field scholarship program would be renamed the Alison N. Smith International Scholarship program, in honor of InsideNGO’s founder and former CEO Alison Smith, who was committed to building and strengthening capacity globally. This scholarship provides the opportunity to a few staff from our member organizations to attend the conference, staff who might not otherwise have been able to attend, by giving a free registration as well as a travel and lodging stipend. Winners are chosen via a raffle system.

This year, we are pleased that five members from diverse geographies and varied professional expertise will join us, representing our members working in Jordan, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Vietnam. Among those selected were Country Director Bakary Sidibe of Marie Stopes International in Mali and Country Office Director Huong Tran of Orbis International in Vietnam.

I asked Mr. Sidibe and Ms. Huong to share a little bit about the exciting work that they and their respective organizations do and what they’re looking forward to at the 2017 InsideNGO Annual Conference, Framing the Future. Read on to find out!

Q: On a day-to-day basis, what are some of the roles and responsibilities that you take on within your organization?

Bakary Sidibe: As a relatively new country director to Marie Stopes Mali, I will be providing leadership and driving the overall strategy, management (programmatic, financial, and administrative), and development of our national family planning and sexual reproductive health (SRH) programs. In addition, I will be responsible for executing annual budgets and work plans; overseeing financial, administrative, and logistical resources; ensuring adherence to MSI minimum standards; and assuring quality operations in line with annual and long-term strategic goals and objectives.

Huong Tran: As a leader of the organization’s office in Vietnam, my main role is to formulate the country’s strategic vision and lead the Orbis Vietnam team towards achieving our mission of preserving and restoring sight in Vietnam. On a day-to-day basis, my responsibilities include strengthening the office culture through change management leadership; determining local priorities for Orbis Vietnam; mobilizing the internal and external resources to accomplish the organizational goals; developing new programming initiatives and partnerships and strengthening national / international relationships with government, organizations, and networks to change the status quo; and establishing systems to track and improve program quality such as the monitoring and evaluation frameworks and knowledge management processes, which effectively measure and report program outcomes and impacts based on specific indicators and benchmarks. As the leader of the Orbis Vietnam office, I lead by example and show my colleagues daily the different ways to achieve results.

Q: What do you like best about what you do at your organization?

BS: I strongly believe in Marie Stopes International’s mission, “helping women and girls around the world to have children by choice, not chance.”

HT: [At Orbis], I feel a real commitment of the organization to create sustainable change through high impact programs. Orbis is a learning organization which continuously transforms itself, and I really enjoy the dynamics of the organization (on individual, team, departmental, and organizational levels), and its ability to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances.

Q. What kind of professional development opportunities does your organization offer its employees?

BS: I believe that MSI provides assistance to staff for any professional development related to their roles and responsibilities.  

HT: Orbis offers a variety of opportunities for staff to deepen their knowledge through online learning (Cybersight), giving staff a chance to observe the practical teaching section conducted by International Volunteer Faculties and more. Orbis also invests in staff by allowing them to participate in sharing and learning activities globally, which includes the online learning system, LINGOs workshops, attendance at international and national meetings and forums, and global annual team meetings. There are many opportunities for staff to take risks and to learn by doing.

Q. This is the first time you will be attending InsideNGO’s Annual Conference. What are you most looking forward to? Do you have any expectations of learning or networking?

BS: I look forward to attending finance, operations, and organizational effectiveness sessions. Along with participating in discussions, I hope to learn about some of the different challenges and best practices across the NGO sector.

HT: I am most looking forward to learning and networking in the advocacy area in the public health arena, research and studies, and capacity building in the medical sector.

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The three other scholarship winners attending this year’s conference are Country Director Mamne Idi Abdoulkader of Equal Access International in Niger; Regional Finance Director, Middle East and Eurasia, Abdullah Abbas of Save the Children in Jordan; and Regional Manager, Human Resources, Charlene LeMercier of Hellen Keller International in Senegal.

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