#30dayblog- A day in the life of

Yesterday’s challenge in this 30 day blog challenge was about the Women in my life and today’s challenge  is for me to tell you about my typical working day.

Planting trees at the Villages in Action conference in Uganda

I really do not have a typical working day  but as online enterprise  there are things that I must do daily and these things make up my marketing strategy

My working day begins at 6AM and the things I usually do at this time are

  1. check and send emails
  2. this is also a good time to call suppliers in East Africa,  given the time difference which ranges 2-3 hours depending on the time of the year
  3. I schedule  the day’s tweets
  4. catch up with folk on Facebook, Business fights poverty and LinkedIn
  5. I write the day’s blog post if I didn’t do so the night before
  6. I oversee Africa on the Blog to ensure that there is a post for that day
  7. update the website with either new products or take off those that have sold

Depending on the time of the year normally the first half of the year where it is very quite I will take on additional work outside of Ethnic supplies to make the books balance, so I might be gone working for someone else  for the entire day. Phone calls are mostly scheduled,  so that I can give the caller undivided attention

Other activities taht may fill my day include

  1. reading to upgrade my knowledge and my preferred reading is the Poverty blog on The Guardian
  2. contacting and following up buyers
  3. face to face networking
  4. planing  speaking engagements
  5. Coordinating the work of LTHT
  6. I also collaborate with others so depending on what it is an entire day maybe taken up by such projects or it might be a Skype chat with others involved
  7. looking for new customers

But most of that can change depending on where I am in the world as part of my work involves hands on project management on the ground.



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Doing business in areas of conflict

I haven’t written much lately, as I have been nursing a nasty summer bug. Any how before all that happened I had the chance to attend a networking event organised by the good folk at Business Fights Poverty . This was one of a number of events that they have put on since January 2009  and the idea was to bring together practitioners, academics and other interested people from the business world to discuss how business can contribute to poverty alleviation in developing world.

The event on 14 July considered the subject of doing business in areas of conflict,  and the topic  we were invited to consider was

Peace and economic growth are closely related. How can policy makers maximize the impact of private sector for both peace and development?

At this stage  if you are like me you may wonder and in fact ask whether

  1. Business has any role to play in bringing about peace in areas of conflict
  2. What business opportunities could possibly exist in war torn areas
  3. What about safety implications?

It would appear that to a certain extent your fears/ concerns would not be unfounded as we soon found out from the guest speakers on the night Diana Klein from Peace, Building issues programme, International Alert, Andrew Bone Head,  International  Relations De Beers  and Lisa Curtis, Adviser, ManoCap. What is important to note  is that they also  provided solutions to some of these concerns,  and if all else fails there is INSURANCE

I found Diane’s presentation especially interesting. According to Diane business can thrive in conflict areas so long as they comply and are not seen to be contributing to the unrest. One of the ways in which businesses maybe unknowingly contribute to the unrest would be to employ foreign workers Diana went on to say!

I found this interesting as not so long ago our Prime Minsiter here in the UK was quoted to have said  something along the lines “British jobs for British workers” in response to strikes in the oil industry here in UK.  That being the case is there any wonder that folk in the developing countries would take to the streets in similar circumstances?

On the issue of compliance, I recalled a situation in Uganda where Mehta  an Asian owned business group was allocated some land in Mabira Forest an ancient forest in Uganda and the locals didn’t agree, here is what happened next .

What is interesting about this forest is that many years ago it was a 7 mile forest with numerous species of tress and you could not see beyond a few yards, today the locals have moved in and started subsistence farms, and there are holiday chalets for hire, but the locals were up in arms over the thought of their forest being given away to a foreign business company. If you are a company  what do you do in a situation such as this?

I understand that, that wasn’t the end of the story and here is the latest discussion on the matter

At the event there was a man whose job involves getting Palestine and Israel to do business together!  He had an interesting tale about getting all sides to work together as well as the results that ahve beena cheived thus far.  Earlier this year I wrote about the experiences of an olive farmer on my other blog

So do you think there are business opportunities in areas of conflict?