Moving Forward While Reflecting Back
I’m lucky enough to work in an organization where people love what they do. Lucky enough to work for an NGO where not only do the staff feel like they’re making a difference, the individuals and entities that we work with do as well. PDT has been in Afghanistan since 2006, and working in Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif since 2008, and we’ve enjoyed promoting and facilitating local procurement as a tool for economic development in all of those regions.
However, like any good NGO we don’t plan to be here forever. Our strategic direction is changing as we coordinate and adhere to the guidelines provided by our primary donors. As a result we will be closing our field offices in Jalalabad, Kandahar and Mazar at the end of the month, consolidating their services under our Kabul office. It’s going to be sad saying goodbye to local businesses, buyers and stakeholders, but the professional relationships formed over the past couple of years won’t just disappear.
We’ll still be able to route upcoming contracting opportunities through our Tender Directory, notifying suppliers of the opportunities via email and SMS. We’ll be able to continue issuing business matchmaking reports as well as market research and information pieces. If the demand is there, we may even be able to do some short-term verification or a training session or two.
Like any good optimist, I’m looking forward. I don’t want to commit a George Bush “Mission Accomplished” faux pas, but our services have been successful in bridging the gap between buyers and Afghan suppliers. It’s time to start thinking about how they can continue to fill the essential role that they play in the Afghan private sector after our project draws down. We’ve been tossing around some interesting ideas, and I’m actually excited to be a part of the transition. How often do development workers get to work on a project, hand over its functions, and leave knowing that the involvement they had was successful and is still being carried out? There’s still some time to see how the transition plays out, but for now I’m optimistic for the future.
A copy of the press release announcing the closure of our field offices can be downloaded here: Regional office closure PR Mar11.