His name was Mustafa Fall, I knew this because it was written across the back of his army issue day pack and I followed him onto the Ethiopian Airlines flight from Dakar to Addis Ababa . As it turned out we were sharing the same bulkhead row , that is until I was relocated because of some seat mix up. It was a 9 hour flight and at the check in counter I had made my request for the more spacious bulkhead seating by standing on my tip toes and complaining about long legs and flights and smiling sweetly, but probably looking pathetic after my 3.30 am wake up. He on the other hand was gigantic, around 6’8’’ and big all over, he got the seat because they were scared he would not otherwise fit on the plane, or rip out the seat in front of him.
We said a few words in the queue on the way into the plane. Me looking up and into sharp red eyes. I swear they were red with brown centres. When I asked him about the lettering on his army issue baseball style cap he just laughed with that slow ‘He He He’ laugh that Will Smith had when he turned aliens into gloop in Men in Black. Across the back of his cap It said “We do bad things to bad people”. I can’t tell you how absolutely believable this statement was when it was on the back of the cap on the head of Mustafa. And I though now that, is a mission statement. And I wondered about ours, and when we go about our business are we INGOs as clear and believable as Mustafa – “We do good things with good people?”
Senegal to Addis September 2008
I have worked in thirty countries with most time spent in India, Kenya, Indonesia, USA , Australia and Armenia. My current role with World Vision International is as a Livelihoods Advisory based in Manila. Before this I spent 4 years based in Armenia leading an economic development learning hub for 10 countries across the Middle East and Eastern Europe. I spent 8 years with World Vision Australia where I founded and lead the Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Unit (SEED), a team of economic development specialists,to establish and support innovative initiatives in poor communities from Africa to the Asia Pacific, Senegal to Timor Leste..
I believe the reason people are poor is that they do not have enough money and our challenge is to help instill hope and a genuine sense of self-belief, starting with those of us who somehow work in development.
I was the founder and CEO of Diversity@work Australia Inc, a social enterprise developing innovative models, strategies and educational programs to strengthen companies through diversity and inclusion. I hold a Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation and a Masters of Strategic Foresight from Swinburne University in Melbourne, post-graduate studies in Not for Profit Management at Georgetown University and Negotiation and Conflict Management at Latrobe University Melbourne. I was the Carey Medal winner for 2007 for exceptional and outstanding service to the community. So it goes
Published Books: 'Postcards - What am I doing here' (2016) which is a collection of my blogs along with selected photographs, and Stores from the Road - Ten stories for workers in international development (2016)
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