The Dadamac weekly team meeting is a Skype meeting (typed chat) that links the team in UK and Nigeria. Its format is simple. An agenda is circulated beforehand. There is a chairman to move the meeting on through the agenda. It is okay for several people to type at the same time. We try to limit the meetings to one hour. Even if people have sent apoplogies they are still invited to the meeting, so they will be able to read the archive. A summary of the meeting is made available afterwards. Although people are scattered around various offices on two continents it works well.
One strong benefit of online meetings over F2F (Face to Face) is the "death of distance". On July 1st John Dada was out of the office - far out of the office - in Argentina. But he still joined the meeting and took the chair. He often travels and has atteded Dadamac meetings from various Africa countries - but this was the first time a Dadamac team meeting had input from three continents. Fortunately John is an early riser. Team meetings are 11.00 Nigerian time, 10.00 GMT - and considerably earlier in Argentina.
The meeting had its usual mixture of moving things forward and of filling in the little details that bridge the culture gap between UK and Nigeria. Two unusual items covered were a "loyalty party" at the health centre and an idea for recycling plastic sachets.
The "loyalty party"
Kazanka Comfort explained about the "loyalty party":
"I just remembered the clinic staff conducted a raffle draw on monday for all users of the clinic. Women from 3 communities came to Fantsuam... The turn out was quite impressive... There was a meeting for all women who used our facility in the clinic. This was an opportunity to say thank by giving them a little token... little packs of Omo, salt in same bags were given to most of them who visit the clinic regularly... every one left with a gift.."
John Dada and Comfort gave further details about the health centre and the need to get people talking about it:
"Our microfinance funding partners are supporting this outreach so that more women can access our reproductive health services... some people think its only microfinance and computer training that we provide... The reproductive aspect is the interest of our partners, but clinic takes care of other diseases as well.. Emphasis is on the women but the men are welcome... Partners for Development are supporting with paying the allowance of the clinic supervisor and provided the SED stock of drugs."
The idea about recyling plastic water sachets to make other plasic items came from Femi Longe of Africa ++ (website, Ning group)Femi lives in London. His family comes from South West Nigeria. He has lived and worked in many parts of Africa and also spent much of his life in the UK. He presented the recycling idea at the June meeting of Africa++ in London and Pamela McLean offered to put it on Dadamac's agenda. John Dada greeted with enthusiasm an idea that could reduce the amount of litter.
Femi's idea is still in its early stages. At the London meeting Femi had got as far as a first prototype, an experiment where he recycled water sachets to make a carrier bag. He used an electric iron to bond the sachets together. He has suggested using a charcoal iron in Nigeria, like many tailors do, as this can overcome the problem of poor or non-existant electrical power supply. Since yesterday's meeting John, Pam and Femi have exchanged emails, including photos of Femi's improved prototypes, thoughts about sewing, and ideas for other products. They will explore this idea further.
Other items were routine planning and news:
- Work in the server room
- Progress on C4C - the Cameras for Communication course - development and testing.
- Scheduling problems in the classrooms now so many courses of various kinds are running at Fantsuam
- The ongoing saga of the maintaining the aged Peugeot.
- The good news and bad news about a project to replicate the communication centre at a site close to Attachab eco-village
- Closer connections with London University especially with people at the London Knowledge Lab
- Updates on investigations on using solar charging for phones
- Good review from VSO when they came to check on the placements with Fantsuam Foundation.
- New staff in Knowledge Resource Centre and on the technical team
- And some other items too
Perhaps it wasn't too surprising that the meeting lasted closer to 90 minutes than its usual 60.