I just realized that a month has already passed since I started working as the new Monitoring and Learning (M&L) officer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at their Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) hub in Kigali and I have to say that time seems to be flying around here.
My first week as a Monitoring and Learning Officer was all about getting to know my colleagues and reading a lot of project proposals, communication materials and creating a very long list of abbreviations cause we seem to be using a lot of those. We received a very warm welcome at the end of my first week here when all my colleagues came over to our house for a ‘house-shower’ where we enjoyed some good local food and some Dutch beers.
It will most definitely take some time for me to get used to the Monitoring and Learning systems that they are using here, especially to get to know which indicators the different partner organisations are using and to see how we can translate that to our own (to be developed) system. As you might think, this is a major task but I’m getting a lot of help from the people here at the office and also from partner organisations so we will get there but it is going to be quite a long process.
Next to being M&L officer, I’m also involved in Communication and Partnerships here at the FLR hub which has been taking a whole lot of my time in this first month so I still have to see how to get some more structure in my position but I’m sure I’ll find my way but all beginning is difficult, especially if you put a highly organized, structure-happy, person in an African office where one can find no real agenda, no structure and not a great lot of organisation.
Being back in Africa is a real treat though, and the small areas of Rwanda that we were able to see until now promise a very nice future in terms of weekends and holidays out and about. The hustle and bustle of Kigali feels kind off familiar and even the morning scent sometimes catches a hint of Africa. The IUCN has many partners within Rwanda and eastern and southern Africa and I have been fortunate enough to already meet quite a few of them here in our office and hearing their stories and talking to them instantly sparks my African enthusiasm and makes me feel proud to be here and very much willing to contribute to Forest Landscape Restoration and Conservation in this part of Africa.
After getting out Visa last Friday and celebrating that with a very good dinner and a welcome party at the Dutch embassy we are really good to go now and we cannot wait to get our number plates for the car that we recently bought so we can really start exploring everything this beautiful country has to offer.
I am once again really looking forward to keeping you updated about me professional adventures through IUCN, but also to sharing some details about our Rwandan life together. Evelien has already started a blog (in Dutch) but I will make sure to also include some English stories here on my website.