My name is Sissel, originally from Norway, but I have been a foreigner most of my adult life. Some years ago I embarked on a mid-life career change into international aid.
During my first assignment abroad I was shocked by the harshness of the industry, the tremendous hypocrisy; but most of all by people’s behaviour.
And this bad behaviour manifests itself in inefficiency. We cannot expect villagers or residents of slum dwellings to trust us if we do not trust each other.
There are plenty of good people in the aid community, but good, altruistic and mature behaviour is unfortunately not what is encouraged.
Therefore, I decided to do something to turn this situation around. After struggling with getting a new contract, with disenchantment and self-doubt; I thought the best way to start was to set up a blog.
I have a few years, but not tons of aid experience. However, I see that as an advantage, since I have lots of other types of work experience, and hence able to compare. When you stay for long in one type of business you may become blind in your own cause. You start to accept the unacceptable and believe that bad is normal.
Furthermore, I do not take myself seriously and do believe there is too much self-importance and haughtiness around. Hence, my aim is to enable you to take whatever debacle or “politics” going on around you a bit more lightly. That is what I would have needed many a time.
Through this blog we will (probably) not be able to change the world, revolutionize the aid industry or end corruption, but we can sure make a difference.