For three full days, the entire team of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) relocated to the capital of Ghana’s mountainous Eastern region, Koforidua. The purpose was simple – to plan, strategise and energise to confront the challenges to free expression rights in West Africa in 2016. At the same time, it was an occasion for the team to appraise the performance of each team member and the organisation as a whole.
Collectively, the team strategised on how to deal with the challenges and threats that confront the organisation; and they didn’t miss the chance to seize existing opportunities as well.
It was a moment for programme staff to showcase their respective initiatives to the admiration of colleagues. Individual programme officers took turns to present their programmes – from the Freedom of Expression programme to Media and Development Programme. The presentations focused on what had been going on under each programme, the current status of the programmes and plans for 2016.
“I think it was a good meeting because programme planning is an essential component for any organisation that seeks to be efficient at what they do. The meeting gave us the opportunity to have some deep reflections on our programmes, interrogate our concepts and come up with strategies for implementing these plans,” said Abigail Larbi, Programme Officer for Media, development and good governance.
The majority of sessions resembled occasions when ministers work hard to seek approval for their annual programmes and budgets. Individual programme officers had to defend and justify any shortcomings in their programmes. They had to respond to critical questions from colleagues on their plans and how they seek to achieve results and impact in 2016.
“Personally this was unique and different. I think it was a good experience for me and all staff because it gave us the opportunity to do an introspective assessment of our work and collectively agree or decide how best to achieve our goals per our strategic plans,” Dora, Programme officer for Research explained.
The team handling the Africa Freedom of Expression (AFEX) Network seized the occasion to get all staff familiarised with the network, its plans and why all staff must be on board. The AFEX network is a continental network that brings together the most prominent freedom of expression and media development organisations in Africa with the MFWA as the secretariat for the network.
“It was a great opportunity to represent the African Freedom of Expression Exchange network at the Media Foundation for West Africa’s staff retreat. I utilised the platform to increase awareness of both old and new staff about the works, planned activities and key targets of the network for the year 2016,” said Felicia, Programme assistant for AFEX.
Overall, it was a successful mission which left staff well refreshed and poised to begin the New Year.