From 5 to 8 December 2023, I participated in the first IPPF Africa Region (IPPFAR) staff retreat held in Amboseli, Kenya.
Implementing the new IPPF 2023-2028 strategy laid the foundations to a new organizational structure that is more centered on IPPF’s Member Associations (MAs), and it was therefore essential for the team to reconvene and outline its objectives and work plan for 2024.
The entire IPPFAR team was present, including team members based in the sub-regional office in Abidjan and new joiners. Additionally, members from the London Central Office were also there to support. This gathering served as an opportunity for new arrivals to familiarize themselves with our mandate, their colleagues, and deeply engage in the organization’s work.
Upon our arrival, the Regional Director, Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, extended a warm welcome, followed by introductions for everyone and opened the floor for honest conversations on the organizational way forward.
"I'm immensely pleased to have all of you here for our first staff retreat in four years. This gathering aims at aligning IPPFAR’s objectives, developing work plans, and fostering team cohesion to successfully implement the new 2023-2028 strategy", said the Regional Director.
In a convivial atmosphere rich in interaction, each department head presented their work plans for 2024, fostering interesting and forward-looking discussions among us. At intervals, fun ice-breaking and team-building activities revived our spirits to get back to work.
Significant discussions during the retreat included addressing issues such as decolonization, anti-racism, IPPFAR's 2024 new work plan, team efficacy, team building, and commitments related to prioritization and contextualization, gender and inclusion, people and culture, data and evidence, and the respective roles of IPPFAR’s secretariat and its Member Associations.
The team seized the opportunity to visit the beautiful and vibrant Amboseli Park, rich in wild animals, and set amidst lush greenery with a stunning view of Mount Kilimanjaro. To cap off the retreat, the team gathered for an end-of-year office party. It served as an opportunity to bid farewell to those departing and extended a warm welcome to the new joiners.
Mallah Tabot, Senior Technical Advisor, remarked: "The meeting was a fantastic opportunity to foster team spirit among the participants!"
The IPPFAR staff retreat in Amboseli, Kenya, marked a new chapter for the organization. With a refreshed strategy and realigned objectives, the team set ambitious goals and plans for 2024. With new members on board bringing fresh ideas and energy, and long-standing members providing continuity and institutional knowledge, IPPFAR appears poised to implement its strategy and better serve its beneficiaries across the sub-Saharan region.
The year 2024 seems full of promise and potential, the fruits of which we will see in due course.
By Martine Ouedraogo
IPPF Africa Region Procurement Assistant