Kris Troukens from Project managers without borders joined the Passion for projects conference as a speaker this week. We had the opportunity to talk a bit about his engagement for the people of Accra, Ghana.
It was during the Ebola crisis in Africa, looking at the news reports, that the need to do something drove Kris to email the entire PMI board. Why don´t we use our skills as project managers to accomplish more? ”You only need to switch on the news to see everything that needs to be done. For example, this morning, I saw news on the earthquake in Peru. First thing I do is check our list of volunteers. To make sure they´re OK of course, but also to ask what we can do – what needs to be done to help people?”
The email to the board stirred up emotions and a lot of contacts from people all around the global network of project managers. Today Kris is the director at large of the non-profit, independent organization Project managers without borders (PMWB). Making the world a better place through project management, occupying 80 active members in projects for social change and hundreds of interested volunteers. ”I´m just a tiny little volunteer, but after 15 years in PMI I have all these connections and I have skills and experience – I have to use these things. Let´s exploit them to do good! Maybe the kids are grown up, you suddenly have some time on your hands to get involved. Let´s just do something. It´s no more difficult than that.”
Right now Kris is involved in the Accra flooding initiative in Ghana. Accra is situated by the coast, right at the outlet of rainwater from two different mountain reaches. Every year several people die due to the flooding. While working at the PMI conference arranged by the Ghana chapter in 2015, Kris got to talking with people about the situation. Soon, instead of handing out conference bags, Kris went to the office of the president to meet with the chief of staff. Today the PMWB Africa programme team is working on a master action plan involving all stakeholders, doing research and arranging thematical workshops on the key issues with the help of PMI. The topics range from how to plan complex and disparate stakeholder management in a government environment to solutions for rapidly implementing an effective waste collection system. “It´s not difficult, really – it´s just a matter of coordination. Getting to know people and connecting them with the right kind of expertise and skills, with other NGO:s. And making sure the knowledge and infrastructure stays behind, so that people know how to use them.”
Today, Project managers without borders are hoping to find more people to join in really taking action where there is need. “I got involved because of the personal stories. I if look back today, I see all the work behind us – tangible stuff, small proof that it works. I can see the pieces coming together. And you can join with your own ideas! Talk to people around you, find opportunities where you are. Sweden, don´t be shy!”
At www.pmwb.org you can learn more about Project managers without borders and sign up to get involved.
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