Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Borrowed Talents" at UOB

UOB currently has four borrowed talents. They volunteering their talent and time for UOB. In appreciation, I took them out to dinner at Papyrus tonight (December 21st). Papyrus is a good restaurant for its pasta and pizza. It is one of the popular hang-out places.

[Left to Right: Michelle, Adam, TJ and Austin]

I am truly grateful for them. They all are experienced in their fields and they have come to Rwanda to help us with their expertise. They are called "borrowed talents" because they are not getting paid for what they do. They are not only filling the gap of technical competence at UOB with their expertise but also they are helping build up the capacity of UOB staff.

Austin is a financial analyst from the U.S. He worked for a few banks, had his own business and interned at BRAC in Bangladesh, a well-known MFI. He is also an avid traveler. He has visited more than 60 countries so far. He is helping us develop a number of profitability analysis models. He originally came to UOB as a Kiva fellow and he has decided to come back to work more in Rwanda. Austin has been a tremendous asset to UOB.

Michelle is a Kiva fellow. Kiva is a website platform that provides individual lenders around the world with information about micro borrowers in developing countries. Their loans are channeled to the micro borrowers through implementing partners like UOB. (UOB can raise up to $100,000 a month through this platform) Michelle, an Australian, has come to Rwanda to help UOB and another MFI in implementing various projects. She is particularly good at project management and Access database development.

Adam is Michelle's life partner. He is an IT specialist. He is helping us develop a new product called "Open Sky" and test other new products. He is also helping us in documenting various IT procedures. He is also the coach for Rwanda's national cricket team. They work for a year or so and travel through volunteering. He and Michelle ride a motorcycle and they seem to enjoy their lives very much.

Teresa (TJ) is an IT specialist from Canada. She has also come to Rwanda to help us with IT projects. She has been preparing internal Service Level Agreement (SLA) and project management worksheets. She also is an avid traveler. She has been living overseas for a number of years. She bought a motorcycle for her transportation in Rwanda. She is one of rare female motorcycle riders in Kigali.

I am privileged to work with my Rwandan staff at UOB. Many are sharp, hard-working and dependable, but some still need more capacity building. There is some gap in their technical competence. These borrowed talents come into this space, filling the gap. They are truly blessing to us at UOB as well as in Rwanda. - Jeffrey

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