CAREER OF THE WEEK
Countless times we have ever been coming across this career, Project Coordination. This profession, mainly has gained ground in Malawi, being a developing country where various local and international bodies are pumping in efforts to change the developmental status in various forms.
EM’s Franco Mwachande Junior takes us to Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA), where we meet one enthusiastic young lady, ALINAFE CECILIA MAHIMANYA who is manning the institution’s YESS (Youth Exchange South to South) project.
· Guest: ALINAFE CECILIA MAHIMANYA
· Firm: Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA)
· Project: YESS (Youth Exchange South to South)
Compiled By Franco Mwachande Jnr
I am from Fikira village, Traditional Authority Nkalo in Chiladzulu. I am a second born child in a family of three; two girls and a boy. My mother is a teacher and my father is a statistician.
I did my primary education at Kafulu primary school in Lilongwe before being selected to selected to Tsabango Community Day Secondary school. However, before I completed my first year, I moved to SOS after passing their school entrance examination in 2002.
In 2003, I moved to Malosa Secondary school following my dad who was transferred to Zomba statistical Office. I later went to the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, where I pursued a degree in Education (Science), I graduated in 2013.
· Who is a Project Coordinator?
A Project Coordinator is a person in charge of a specific project or projects within an organisation. The job of a Project Coordinator is to plan, budget, supervise and document all aspects of the specific project he/she is working on.
· What does being a Project Coordinator entail?
Project coordination is an integral part of an organization’s project team. As professionals, we work under a project manager and help ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. Project coordination is suitable for someone who enjoys a fast-paced, challenging work environment.
· What’s so exciting with Project Coordination?
Life is quite exciting to me as it has plentiful of opportunities and experiences to offer and I feel this profession helps me make the right use of it. I am adventurous by nature for I like to take up new challenges. It gives me the zeal and energy to work towards excellence.
One thing I firmly believe in is that one should always strive towards individual betterment, in whichever form it may be. Therefore, I’m never tired of beginning where others end.
Not only that, Project Coordinators have plentiful opportunities available in the market and plenty of money on offer but also for career wise the sky is the limit.
· Brief career journey
I started working as a Research Team Leader with SolarAid Malawi in 2013. I then moved to Ministry of Education as a Secondary School Teacher at Chinsapo Secondary school where I was teaching Mathematics and Physical Science in April, 2014.
It was last year that I found myself at Malawi Girl Guides Association (MAGGA) as a Field Officer in Mulanje District. This is where I have learnt most of administrative skills before I was promoted to be the Projects Officer for the Association hence managing the Project of YESS (Youth Exchange South to South) as Project Coordinator. I got transferred in January to Lilongwe where I am working as YESS project Coordinator and Projects Officer for MAGGA up to date.
To aspiring Project Coordinators
· What is entry point into the profession?
For one to venture into a Project Coordination profession, he or she must have Bachelor’s degree in any of these fields; Education, Development studies, Administration or Economics. A qualification in project management is desirable.
· Likely challenges
One of the biggest challenges that I encounter at my duty station is role ambiguity. The hindrance lies in the ability to know when to be a leader, and when to be a follower.
I once learned in a very short period of time how to help a team member who was overloaded and was mixing up unnecessary things.
The other problem is about team facilitation. Sometimes you may not be the one making all major decisions for the project; so good listening, understanding and communicating skills are required to this profession. This helps when in absence of the Project Manager, you are able to report the team’s challenges and successes to the Project Manager which requires excellent documentation and meeting facilitation skills.
· Living your dream now?
Well, I am definitely not yet where I want to be, but I am satisfied to have made progressive steps as foundation in the right direction, in a field that I am passionate about.