A Travellerspoint blog

November 2010

NSCC in the Caribbean - Day 3

Today we met with three senior staff from the Ministry of Labour, who provided background on OH&S, and their vision and plans to develop strong labour practices in Barbados. Monica and Zoran then went back to the Ministry of Education for a further meeting with the Director of Higher Education. Sandra and I returned to the CDB. Both those meetings were great. We also met with folks from CIDA, and ended the day at the Barbados Community College. We met with people from their Industry Services Unit, which focuses on assisting industry in Barbados. We will be returning to BCC this week.

What I'm learning is how important relationships are to doing business in the Caribbean. At almost every meeting we've attended, followup meetings were organized, and to return to two agencies in the space of two days is a positive sign.

What I've also experienced is some very complicated and skillful project management. There are over 250 meetings planned this week for the eleven delegates, in several countries in the Caribbean, with a variety of drivers, as the meetings are all over the capital city, and some delegates are travelling to other countries. Each night the organizers present us with a spreadsheet that has been updated constantly as meetings are added, locations and times changed. They have done a remarkable job.

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:14 Archived in Barbados Comments (0)

NSCC in the Caribbean - Day 2

The morning started with a meeting of many delegates of the Trade Mission team with the Division Chief of the Caribbean Development Bank. The CDB is the leading catalyst for development resources in the Caribbean, so it is critical to understand their mandate and their procurement process for engaging consultants for projects that we would want to bid on. This was followed by a meeting with the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health, who provided an overview of the issues and plans for Health, specifically for the one hospital in Barbados. As this is my first time in the Caribbean, and first time learning about funding and international projects, there is a huge amount to take in. On top of that, the government introduced a new budget yesterday. As the Senator said, it is a very dynamic time for Barbados.

NSCC went "speed dating" all Tuesday afternoon. As a way to save time for all, we met with eight local companies in one room in the space of four hours. It was an excellent way to connect with potential local partners for projects. The quality of people we met with was very high, and it was fascinating to see the flexibility of these small companies, who typically work in several countries in the Caribbean.

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:06 Archived in Barbados Comments (0)

NSCC in the Caribbean (Nov 22 - 26/10)

Day 1 - Trade Mission to Barbados

This week a delegation from Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is participating in a trade mission to Barbados. Sandra MacDonald-Clahane and Mary McKeough, both from Business Development, as well as Zoran Kondali from NSCC International are representing the College. The purpose of the mission is to build new linkages as well as to strengthen existing partnerships with education institutions, government ministries and other stakeholders in various sectors.

Some units at NSCC have a long relationship with the Caribbean region that dates back to the 80s and 90s. As of two years ago, our College has adopted a strategic approach in developing partnership relationships that will lead to student and staff exchanges, joint programs, business development initiatives and other exciting opportunities. As a result of these recent activities, we have been successful in accessing several Government of Canada funded scholarships that have allowed us to welcome student from the Caribbean at NSCC. We have currently 3 students from Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (2 in the Tourism Program at Akerley Campus and one student in the IT Program at Truro Campus) and 1 student from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (also at the IT Program in Truro).

Today was the first official day of the trade mission and we started off with an 8 am briefing at the local High Commission of Canada. The briefing was facilitated by various senior staff of the HC who provided us with a comprehensive overview of Barbados and its different sectors. We are very lucky to have the support of an excellent HC team in this country.

The day continued with meetings at the local Paramedical Association, the Ministry of Education and the local office of the Inter-American Development Bank. All the meetings have been very productive and have allowed us to gain a better understanding of the needs of the local industry as well as of the education sector. Our day here ends with a daily debriefing and planning session that allows all trade mission participants to reflect on their meetings, as well as to finalize the meeting agenda for the next day.

Tomorrow’s agenda includes meetings with representatives of the Caribbean Development Bank, as well as the Ministry of Health. In the afternoon we will be meeting with a number of local consultants with expertise in the education sector. We are also very excited about the fact that our Acting Vice President Administration, Monica Foster, will be able to join us in Barbados tomorrow afternoon. Monica’s presence and participation in the meetings will be a strong illustration of NSCC’s commitment to partnership engagement in Barbados. Monica will also sign on behalf of the College a Memorandum of Understanding with Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and we look forward to formalizing an already successful relationship with this partner institution.

I would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency, Nova Scotia Business Inc. and EduNova, all of whom have made this trade mission possible. Also, a big thank you to Stew Hattie and Paula MacKinnon, two consultants from Nova Scotia who have arranged and organized all our meetings. Thank you all for your support and assistance.

Zoran Kondali

Posted by NSCC Intl 13:31 Archived in Barbados Comments (0)

Mikumi Day 5 - Last Day of Class.

overcast 24 °C

We are winding down here at Mikumi and Jim is delivering his last entrepreneurship class. He is tying things together with review and questions and bringing the elements back into the business plan he presented on the first day. The faculty have been very engaged and interested in this training. This would be a great area for further workshops and we'll look at that as a possibility within our tourism project.

It's overcast here today - a nice reprieve from the heat. Just about everyone we have talked to has said that it will rain today or tomorrow and it will be most welcome. Aside from the short burst of rain we received earlier this week, it hasn't rained in Mikumi since June. Everything is so dry and many trees are without the leaves.

We are driving back to Dar es Salaam shortly after class finishes. We are planning to meet our colleagues from the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, Anna Haanstra and Natalie Cole for dinner. NSAC's International Office is involved 3 Education for Employment projects in Tanzania in the communities of Mpanda, Ilonga and Mlingano. Anna and Natalie will be delierving training at Mikumi for their colleagues from Mpanda and Ilonga. Before Christopher Ayo and Richard Magwadula came to Nova Scotia in September, they were doing Project Management training with their Mlingano colleagues in St. John's at the Marine Institute. NSCC, NSAC and MI have been working closely together on these Education for Employment projects in Tanzania and the input and collaboration has been very helpful for everyone.

Posted by NSCC Intl 10:10 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

Day 4 in Mikumi – Jim makes accounting interesting!

sunny 35 °C

The classes have really gone well this week and the instructors are very keen and interested. Today Jim gave an overview of accounting in 3 hours AND, he managed to make it interesting. We learned how to record expenses and profits, make balance sheet and income statements. Jim did a great job of making a 120 hour Intro to Accounting course a 3 hour class. Accounting isn’t taught at VETA Mikumi and it’s something that all of the instructors wanted to spend some time on. Accounting would be a great short course (a 3 month course) here.

We did a campus tour this afternoon so Jim could have a look at more of the classrooms and accommodations. Mikumi is built on a hill – much like Mount Saint Vincent University. The hike to the top is tough in the heat, but the view of the valley below and the Udzungwa Mountains in the distance is well worth it. We were shown an area that the tour guiding students are going to turn into a tenting site for visitors and got to see the tour guiding classrooms. Mikumi is the only VETA campus that offers tour-guiding as a course. Ludovic Saronga (a visitor to NSCC in summer) is the lead teacher in the course and even helped to write the curriculum. He was a guide in the Selous Game Reserve for many years.

I left out a very important improvement to the VETA Campus yesterday. The first bricks were laid last week for their trial Visitor Information Centre! This is a very exciting addition to VETA Mikumi’s services. Visitor Information Centres (VIC) are not common in Tanzania, but Tony Dorrian and Wendi Dewey (NSCC Tourism Faculty and our Academic Leads for the project) planted the seed last November when the three of us visited Mikumi for the first time for the project inception mission. After Ludovic, Linet, Kaini and Peter (all VETA Tourism instructors) spent time learning about tourism in Nova Scotia this summer and after VETA Mikumi’s Principal and Training Coordinator visited the Pictou VIC in September, the idea for a Visitor Information Centre has become a reality. The VETA Mikumi VIC will open in the New Year and they will see how it works out. It will be run by students and managed by Peter Maiwambe, Mikumi’s Front Office Operations Instructor.

This afternoon Jim and I were invited to Linet’s house for tea and it was a great visit. We met her sister and nephew and caught up on our news. Linet’s brother is applying to take the Health & Human Services program at the Truro Campus and they are waiting to hear on the status of the application. Gilbert would like to start in the ALP program in January 2011 and start the Health & Human Services program in September 2011. This is exciting news. It makes me happy that Linet had such a positive experience with us at NSCC that she has encouraged her brother to study with us. I already feel badly that he may come to Canada the first time in January! We’ll do our best to give him a warm welcome...and then ensure he has warm clothes!

It’s hard to believe that we’ll be leaving Mikumi tomorrow.

Posted by NSCC Intl 19:28 Archived in Tanzania Comments (0)

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