FOCUS 1000 has conducted its second annual staff retreat from 3rd to 5th January 2018 at the CHARMS Beach Hotel Aberdeen, Freetown. The yearly review meeting brought together over seventy staff members ranging from Programme, Research, Operations and Administration at national level, including our board members to evaluate progress and challenges in 2017 activities and plan for 2018 implementation using the SKIN approach.
‘It is with great honour that I wholeheartedly say countless thanks to Allah for his intervention in blessing and directing our organisation to this point’ Sheik Abubakar Conteh-Chairman Board making a statement. He added that for an organisation to clearly demonstrate and achieve it desired goal, it needs enthusiastic and fervent individuals, for which FOCUS 1000 has all the potential required.
The Board Chairman congratulated the Managment and Staff for all the good achievements they have made over the years since the establishment of FOCUS 1000.
He encouraged staff to inculcate the good habit of being patience. “One good attribute of a human being is patience; patience is mentioned over 70 times in the holy Quran. Any achievement comes with patience” the Chairman of the Board revealed.
Mohammad Bailor Jalloh Chief Executive Officer expressed considerate cheers and gratitude to all for the hard work and persistent effort in bringing the organisation to where it stands. ‘Even though 2017 had its own challenges but greater to our successes is the award winning title as the best local NGO in Sierra Leone. CEO further mentioned that the several projects namely Saving Lives, Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) were key development programmes that clearly demonstrates our work toward the well-being of our women and children in Sierra Leone. With the continued support and partnership with our network members forming the Kombra Network stand to be the back bone in achieving and awarding more projects.
“FOCUS 1000 is an organization that respect diversity, we uphold professionalism at all times,” the CEO noted. He disclosed to staff that, he has been getting lot of pressure from friends and family members to employ people he knows but he is one man who does not believe in such. He revealed that one of his immediate plans is to integrate more gender balance into the organization.
FOCUS 1000 CEO called on staff to respect the organization’s partners as they are the pillars the orgaisation lien on.
He provided a summary to member of staff on the formation of the orgaisation and paid special tribute to his eldest son Mohamed Jalloh (Jr.) who had worked so well for the orgaisation as one of the founding pillars and now working as Epidemiologist / Behavioral Scientist at CDC.
Mr. Jalloh called on the board to continue their good work in serving the board and asked them to hold management accountable whenever necessary.
The CEO acknowledged the good work of the drivers for exhibiting professionalism as no official vehicle involved in road accident in 2017.
He acknowledged CDC as their biggest promoter in terms of donor support. He recounted CDC’s support to FOCUS 1000 during the EBOLA outbreak by given funding to FOCUS 1000 to conduct the KAP Studies. He also added that FOCUS 1000 has collaborated with CDC to published journals and CDC is also funding the CHARM’s project in Bombali District.
Now our biggest project is the Saving Lives Project and we were included in the project because of Data and we are hopeful to continue with the project in the coming years but with good performance Mr. Jallloh informed staff.
He continued to say that FOCUS 1000 did very well in audit report. We were among the first three local NGOs the Audit Service Sierra Leone audited in 2017 CEO mentioned.
He encouraged staff to improve on their project writing skills, financial reporting and internal audit as that would add to the value and credibility of the orgaisation.
Using the SKIN Method approach, Staff and Board members were able to identify and evaluate key benchmarks that will obstruct the growth of the organisation and additional outline new plans and methods for more positive output that will enhance cordial collaboration with all partners at national and international levels for an improved health systems for all our beneficiaries in Sierra Leone.
Dr. Samuel Abu Pratt, Director of Programmes encouraged staff to take the retreat seriously because it’s a onetime affair.
“This retreat is important because it serves as a reflection on the way we have been carrying ourselves throughout 2017” says Dr. Pratt. He added that the retreat would served as a platform for staff to bring to the table issues that have been affecting their works and bring solutions that will lead to the development of the organisation.
“We are here to examine our ourselves, our habit and change our mind set and make new commitments for 2018.” Dr. Pratt continued to say that all fingers are not the same, but all fingers have a duty to perform. FOCUS 1000 started as a project, but now it has grown to a level of an institution”, he maintained.
Key highlights on the retreat was when staff were divided into groups in order to prioritized 5 key things they want to stop, keep, improve and new things they want to introduce using the SKIN approach for 2018.
The two-day retreat has empowered both old and new staff with knowledge on the orgnisation’s operational and financial procedures. How to develop work plans and donor reporting processes, organizational policies, ethical standards, working with partners: improving and strengthening relationship and FOCUS 1000 branding and image building guidelines.
The retreat has also enabled staff at all levels to believe that they were all part of the organisation’s successes over the years.
By Briget Lewis