By Anita Brook FCCA, ACCA practitioners panel member, founder of Accounts Assist
This month I will be swapping my Burberry handbag for a backpack and high-heels for sandals. I have volunteered as part of AfiD (Accounting for International Development) and am heading to Malawi. Malawi is the tenth poorest country in the world. It’s the most densely populated country in Africa with few natural resources: some of its more serious challenges are HIV/AIDS, low educational attainment and deforestation and poverty is showing no signs of improvement.
For 2 weeks I will be part of the finance team for a non-government organisation COYIDA helping them to improve their accounting systems and make the most of their charitable donations. The main pull for me being a Mummy first and foremost is the difference that the charity money is making to the Orphanage there.
In many developing countries the role of the accountant is still completely alien to the local population. My fundamental objective is to help elevate the profile of local finance staff, ensuring they have the confidence and the ability to become a key feature in the organisation’s decision making process and to help create new role models within their local communities.
I see myself as part of a relay of volunteers. Each of us has the opportunity to use our skills and I am grateful to Afid for showing how I can make a difference with my accounting skills. Two weeks may seem a very short time but that is part of the challenge. An apt quote from Betty Reese as I fear I may get bitten – a lot… ‘If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.’
This experience will certainly take me out of my comfort zone but I look forward to learning a great deal and to getting things done in a new environment. I will be reporting back next month on my experience. In the meantime you can follow my blog here.