Em pinis. I officially closed the fourth and final day of the Autonomous Bougainville Government's first Health Summit today at 4pm. I think I'll have myself a beer.
This project really has been a lesson in how to go about doing this sort of thing. The Health Summit was conceived in response to signs that we have serious problems with the health sector here: drug supply shortages; high maternal mortality rate; deteriorating infrastructure; and only six practicing doctors. I initiated the project as a result of a discussion with a senior ABG official here, who shared the same concerns. From that point on it was a careful balancing act, with me pushing the project along while trying to ensure that the Division of Health took responsibility for it.
Although it tested my patience on many occasions, this project has taught me that one has to be very considered when choosing the moments to step in and the times to step out. It was hard to stay on the sideline at times, but I learnt from doing so that they will go beyond my expectations when left to manage the work themselves, and must make some mistakes in order to learn. I know it sounds quite patronising, but this is a funny game.
At the end of the day it is all about nurturing and respecting relationships, as without them no project will succeed. I've definitely had my fair share of tongue biting moments, but I think I have learned a lot about being patient and maintaining an optimistic outlook…and in the long run this will probably be the most important lesson I will have learnt from my time here in Bougainville.
I hope the seeds sown during the Summit will bear fruit.