After a 2 year stint working as a Program Associate with Communications at The Institute for Health Measurement, where I led national communications on an initiative by the Ministry of Health to revamp its health strengthening aspiration through the Health Management Information System, I joined SOS Children’s Villages, Swaziland in December 2014 as Project Manager focusing on the It Takes Initiative. It Takes Initiative is an organisation that cares for and protects the most vulnerable children in the world – those who have lost their parents, the support of their families, and loving, stable homes.
SOS Children’s Villages has a plan to bring our more than 65 years of expertise in caring for orphaned and abandoned children and re-invent ourselves and our services – taking them to communities in six sub-Saharan countries: Swaziland, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zanzibar. We are engaging communities, NGOs and community based organizations as well as the local government to come together and bring forth innovative solutions that will not only bring children out of danger and into loving homes, but also, empower the community to adopt new systems and strategies that will identify and protect children and become self-sustaining over time.
We believe that if we do not invest in these children today, we cannot hope to achieve security and prosperity for the world tomorrow. Without interventions today, these children could truly become a lost generation that may do harm to themselves and escalate the soaring rates of teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, poverty and rise in violence across the continent.
We aim to raise, through targeting "High Net Worth Individuals", 50 Million Euros by 2020 to help support 1 million children.
For me as an alumnus and a former sponsorship recipient of SOS Children’s Villages, this opportunity could not have come more at the right time. It helps me to improve my leadership skills and brings my US and WK education into perspective.
I have also started my own consultancy firm, NSD Privilege—a professional services consulting firm specializing in areas of communications, marketing, sustainability and strategy implementation. We deploy the latest communication tools, and offer a wide range of services, which include PR and communications, to enhance opportunities for customer contacts, technology enabled relationship management, technology enabled marketing, and technology enabled sustainability solutions. We also provide travel packages.
Initially I had hoped to pursue a career in chemical engineering. As time went by and through my immersion in community service, I thought that a career which would allow me to work with development related projects was more appealing than being in the lab. I wanted to be a change leader and influence policy change. There is nothing more inspiring than to see someone’s life change and improve for the better.
In my short career life, I have actively participated in causes that have shifted policy change. As a student in the US, at College of the Atlantic, I was selected by Oxfam America as a Change Leader, where I focused on poverty, sustainability and justice. In the two years I spent with Oxfam, I was able to join various coalitions in lobbying the US government to establish environmental laws and laws on Extractive Industries. The Obama Administration took heed to our call and they put into place the Green Job Act of 2007.
Back here in Swaziland, working with the Ministry of Health under The Institute for Health Measurement gave me the opportunity to influence policy on health issues. I was then selected as part of a team to draft Swaziland’s first Health Research Policy and Strategic Plan.
WK played a great role in shaping me to become the person I am. The school’s ethos in participating and contribution to community, as well as having national and international aspirations continually shapes my career path. I still have great memories of life on campus. I enjoyed running a lot. Breaking the 24 hour run record was one of those best moments. Organizing Waterford’s Globetrotter’s Half Marathon with Tony Mallia was also very exciting. The lessons I learned from this allowed me to also organize a similar fundraising race for SOS Villages.
My advice to the younger WK generation is that they must find love in whatever career they choose. Working in the Development sector requires lots of enthusiasm and teamwork. So if you enjoy being part of a team and learning new things every day, then perhaps you have a firm foundation to venture into this sector.