In last week’s post, Empowering Local Leaders for Water and Sanitation Data Collection, I talked about the big pieces of the Nuru puzzle I’m focusing on during my time in Kenya. Another piece that we’re working on this run is developing leadership in our Kenyan staff. So far, the Water and Sanitation (WatSan) team has more than shown their dedication and capabilities. They’ve picked up performing baselines so well that I just walk along eating sugar canes now… Hope I don’t get fired (just kidding).

Don’t get me wrong, they have their fair share of “needs improvement” categories, just like me, but when I see their humility and eagerness to learn, I can’t help but get pumped up about their potential. During our one-on-ones, when I asked what concerns they had about the WatSan program, they all said that they want me to give them feedback in their weak areas in order to improve. Wow, that was textbook.

There are several “mission critical” tasks coming up that I’m excited for the WatSan team get involved in, including processing our baseline data to determine water needs in the new locations, combing through feedback from our current water training lessons, and designing our next round of water training lessons.

However, if Nuru is to be truly sustainable, our team needs to be more than just proficient at crossing off items from a checklist and using fancy gadgets (as good as they are on both accounts). They need to lead and inspire the people in their program. Our team will soon be diving into a leadership development workbook. We’ll be talking about what it really means to be a servant leader – a concept that conflicts the traditional view, in many parts of the world, that leadership is equivalent to power and privileges.

As an engineer who just wants to crunch numbers all day, I never thought I’d say this, but I’m getting pretty excited about starting a leadership development workbook with my team. Egah! (the Kenyan equivalent of OMG!)