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Nov 5, 2018

Behind the scenes... the unsexy daily operations

Accounting and policy... all in a day's work
Accounting and policy... all in a day's work

Almost every top international football organization consists of 100s of staff who aren't players.  For example, in 2018 Manchester United employed approximately 922 people, only 81 of whom are players.  The other 841 are doing administration, media, commerce, coaching, and technical support.  That's approximately 11 support people to every 1 player.  In the military, an average of 9 (or more) non-combat troops support each frontline soldier.  We have much different ratios at Operaiton Mercy.

At Operation Mercy's International Office we have eight non-field staff supporting approximately 300 field staff in ten countries.  I'm not saying this ratio is idea.  We could do more if we had more support staff.  However, it is VERY hard to find donors who are excited about funding the back office operations needed to support our field programs.  Thank you for being one of those rare donors.

I am extremely proud of our back office and leadership team.  A virtual team of people working from Sweden, Germany, Scotland, Jordan, and Australia.  Supporting over a hundred field projects by processing funds in dozens of currencies, debiting, crediting, balancing, traveling economy, enduring jet lag, leading meetings, writing emails, analysing issues, fixing problems (occationally causing them), Skyping at odd hours, proposal writing, fund raising, encouraging, reporting, monitoring, coffee drinking... to name a few.

Oct 19, 2018

Participation for Transformation

Teaching greenouse keeping to children in village
Teaching greenouse keeping to children in village

‘Participation’ – a word that often gets banded around in international development circles. For our projects it is fundamental to seeing the people in the eight communities navigate their way out of poverty. Participation by the community in identifying the challenges they face and the assets available to them, participation in the analysis of this factors, participation in the dreams of a better future and the road to get there, and participation in the change.


Community Health


The health project has been using tools to maximise participation for a number of years and these have led them for district level nurses. From the tools we discovered that in order for our work at the village level to be really sustainable and effective, the district level health workers must be part of the journey. The head nurse and other nurses told us that this was the first time in ages that anyone had seen them as important enough to give them a training. They were excited that this information is easy to learn and implement.


One nurse shared with us that: “We did our learning long time ago and we didn’t know about the new information.” They said they will explain the information to the patients first, and share with family and friends. They went back to their work full of hope that we will be back to them with new topics very soon.


Another nurse shared: “After the anaemia lesson, learning about the symptoms of anaemia, I started to think I have all of them. I decided to take my Hbp level and take iron tabs. And have everyday food with product that contains iron.  I set that as my goal to achieve between lessons.”


One of her colleagues mentioned that she and many women she knows have habit of eating coal, soil, cardboard, dry rice, and other things to reduce anaemia. She said after this lessons she stopped eating the coal. "I will share information about the anaemia to the women and friends that I know that have this habit."


High Altitude Agriculture


On the greenhouse project we have completed two new designs of greenhouse we hope will greatly reduce the costs for local people to complete their own, using their own funds. These greenhouses are currently harvesting the last of their cucumbers and tomatoes. It is really exciting to see the hope in these communities as they can grow fresh vegetables at these altitudes for the first time.


This is also the first year that four of the schools we have been working with have been able to get a crop from their new greenhouses. We have been supporting them with training on growing vegetables and are looking forward to reporting on their total yields in the next report.


Orchard Improvement and Fruit Processing


The fruit project continues to support the juicing businesses through business training and mentoring as well as a loan for packaging. Staff absences have meant that the orchard training plan has had to be scaled back this year and the project continues to work with local people to assess the best way forward to help our communities make the most of their much loved and needed fruit trees.



Oct 17, 2018

New clients

Operation Mercy has served around 80 clients for quite a few months. In October 2018 around 40 new clients were added. It is great to see how the lives of many people with disabilities can sometimes be improved by a few simple adjustments. Operation Mercy is currently working on making sure all these adjustments happen. For all the new 40 clients, a program has been written in order to improve their physcial condition and daily life skills and to help these clients to better integrate into their community. All old and new clients will be followed up on a weekly basis.

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