Agnes Kampire is Fontes Foundation’s project coordinator for the safe water and scholarship programme. She recently spent six months in Rwanda as a part of our FK Norway/NOREC staff exchange project with Amizero Training Institute. She was one of the final participants in the project, which has been running for three years. Here she is reflecting on her experience.
During my exchange, I was given an opportunity to lead many people, some much older than me and more intelligent in their line of work. There is one great lesson I have taken from the exchange; “Do your very best wherever you go”, so that when you leave, your employers will have a hard time replacing you and your contribution will be highlighted. Going on exchange gave an opportunity to lead and make changes. Not that I did not have this before, I did, but having a different setting really boosted my professionalism. On top of my experience back home, I now have added something new.
Working in a different organisational culture, and with people older than you, is a chance to learn and grow. In my behavioural change, I learnt to listen intently and to respect people’s opinions, to give people a chance to express themselves no matter how wrong they may sound.
I somehow managed to put my priorities right during my exchange. So often we get soaked in the fact that we need to work but we forget why we need to work. Being on the exchange gave me time for reflection and self-realisation. There are things I used to know and I practiced on a daily basis, but not for once did I really take time to reflect on their impact on my life and the lives of others. I know that all my dreams are real and where there is a will, there is a way. My advice to young people out there, especially those on exchanges, I challenge you to self-assess where you are and find your way to a more comfortable space of total integrity and optimal self-growth.
Coming back home
East, West, home is best. The exchange taught me that we all are equal and each person has a contribution to make in this space we call life. I have learnt to reflect on that fact and I therefore treat people with respect, and love giving everyone a chance to contribute what they know. It is good to be back to my country and to my organisation; so much contribution awaits. What I learnt through my exchange I will implement and I am also grateful for what I got to contribute to my host organisation.
Cover photo: One of the farming cooperatives Agnes was working with during a maize planting session.