First post from our Dadamac Communications Officer at Fantsuam

John Dada,currently recovering from a bout of malaria, sent a blog from the Fantsuam office today. It was written by Mercy, our first ever Dadamac Communications/Information Officer, and I have posted it below followed by some introductory notes.

MEETING PAM

I met Pam McLean this morning via skype as part of my induction as information officer for Dadamac UK-Nigeria at FF. She taught me, a lot at a different level I will say. Yesterday was my first day of work at Fantsuam and I am still trying to get my head round what I should be doing. I have been warned that I should relax and take the next six months to really get the grips on Fantsuam activity

Pam is very good at what she does, while am an intern, learning the ropes at Fantsuam Foundation but we had a lot to learn from each other. Learning with Pam was so natural, interesting and very comfortable, even though today was our first time to meet and only for a few hours on skype.

I was introduced to Pamela McLean by my boss John Dada as the information officer for Dadamac UK-Nigeria. Dadamac is a collaboration of FF in Nigeria and Pamela McLean in the UK.

For Dadamac UK, I will provide them with up to date details of the activities at FF Nigeria. While my Line manager Pamela McLean, in the UK also gives me updated information about the activities of Dadamac UK for FF Nigeria.

I learnt a lot on a different level today, something about assumption and also a reflection on learning from mistakes. It is simply: why assume when you can ask, but I also think assumptions can be productive thoughts especially when you share them.

Our mistakes on the other hand are very good learning opportunities, if of course we are willing to learn. It gives you a clue that whatever you were trying to achieve might not be feasible that way. This motivates you to invent a new option or opt for an existing alternative.

So I will be the first to let you know what things are going on here, Pam, what John’s new dreams and wahalas are, and you will let us know what is happening at your end so that I tell the Fantsuam team

Pam taught me today, learning is best achieved when we realize how imperfect we all are. I look forward to acting as the information bridge between Nigeria and UK for Dadamac. But I also know I have a lot to learn both from Pam and John, and if what I have seen of John is anything like what Pam does, I think it is all going to be very exciting journey for me.

Mercy and Pam's first meeting

Mercy looked over John's shoulder during the first part of our UK-Nigeria weekly meeting and then took over his keyboard for a while to contribute to the meeting. Afterwards we had a typed skype conversation together (or rather, a series of interrupted conversations).  We're going to be working at a distance so we need to build up some trust and to feel comfortable together.

Challenges

We'll be working at a distance, with a low bandwidth connection, so we can only type to each other. There'll be plenty of opportunities for misunderstandings and confusions so we're going to need to be open with each other about our difficulties, assumptions and mistakes. We have to avoid any feeling of Mercy "working for two managers" so John and I must speak with one voice - and if what we say is different then it's important that Mercy has tne confidence to tell me so, and that we stick with what John has said. She'll be creating a new role and it will be quite a challenge to get the balance right between doing things and communicating about them. Mercy and I have to see it all as a shared ongoing learning experience where both of us are learners and we are both also teaching each other.

Necessary skills

In our first meeting we needed to get to know each other and I needed to learn about Mercy's skills and aptitudes. I needed to find our how fluent she is in English, and how well she can write it. I also needed to know how confident she is in using social media, how much responsibility she will take for directing her own learning and asking questions, and how much of a cultural overlap we have (because, unlike John, Mercy isn't familiar with llfe in the UK)

We had a chat about this and that: her local connections, how she's settling into her new job, how we'll work together, how much we have to learn from each other and so on. We started to follow each other on twitter, we exchanged a couple of tweets, and I expalined that part of her job would be to blog about her experiences at Fantsuam. .

A very satisfactroy outcome

At the end of our chat we compared notes on what we had learned from each other, and both expressed satisfaction at the outcome. Mercy knows that I think she has all the qualities we need and I'm looking forward to working with her.