A small reunion
I met these two people 13 years ago, when we were recruited by an NGO to implement a 3-year project on reproductive health in the under-served areas of the country. We were a small team, but we had about 15 NGO partners around the Philippines. Unfortunately, none of us stayed until the project ended. They both left after the first year of implementation while I resigned after the second year. Last week, the three of us got chatting over at Facebook and we decided to get together to catch up.
We went to Robinsons Magnolia and had coffee and cake at The Clubhouse. Actually, I had pie and tea but you get what I mean. I arrived hours early because I was going to this mall for the first time and I wanted to explore it before we got together. So I wandered around the mall and its shops for more than 2 hours, having lunch at a restaurant which I hadn’t gone to in years, before meeting these two colleagues-turned-friends.
We did a quick game of catch-up, wherein we updated each other on what we have been doing in the recent past and what’s keeping us busy now. They were surprised when I told them that I had recently co-founded an NGO that will work with MSM and TG who have been recently diagnosed with HIV. In the course of our conversation something struck me. We all came from an NGO that did great work at the community level. However, all these successes have been negated when its Board of Trustees “cannibalized” the same NGO for their collective gains and individual interests.
I realized that now that I serve as the Board Chair of our new NGO, I have before me a clear template of the things I shouldn’t do as part of the Board of Trustees of an NGO. I mean, I lived through that terrible working condition of having the Board micro-manage the projects, impede instead of facilitate processes, and even get bullied by a Board member who seemed to have a personal axe to grind with me.
I have said it in a joking manner but seriously, I will have to do my best to resist all temptations so I won’t turn out to be like any of the Board of Trustees of this NGO.
The hours quickly passed in our little gab-fest. And we parted ways knowing this get-together will not be the last.