The importance of being less HQ-centric

#IMI Country Office Immersion for Innovation– Guatemala, 1-8 December 2012

This visit has been a valuable chance to examine the current administrative procedures and see what opportunities are available for innovation that could be repeated at other offices. Some difficulties that ICO colleagues face with procedures are due to the fact that existing IFAD administrative procedures have been created and designed to be carried out in IFAD HQ. During my mission I discussed with the ICO colleagues the new Travel Procedures that will be set up shortly, and made a list of procedures for which they have problems, or that are too costly. In this view the revision of the existing travel procedures was a good example of mutual benefit for both IFAD HQ and ICOs: a less HQ-centric approach in setting-up new procedures and redefining existing procedures will help, also in terms of time and budget savings. This kind of approach was also shared by our ICO colleagues that were enthusiastic of the idea.

The mission was also very exciting, as Guatemala city is a city surrounded by four active volcanoes that give rise to breath-taking sunsets!

Also the country-side is of a deep green that leaves you speechless, such as the “Cooperativa  Mujeres 4 Pinos” which is an impressive example of women cooperative.

Started about 30 years ago, 70 women produce vegetables, collaborate with producers to identify production schemes and contract those who can meet quality and quantity targets, also fixing product prices.

Also thanks to IFAD funding, Cooperativa Mujeres Cuatro Pinos is now an industry that produce, package and sells its products. Recently they started exporting their products to the United States and have achieved an annual growth rate of 50 per cent in vegetable exports over the past 4 years.

Colleagues of ICOs were so nice that I would stay in Guatemala much more!  Hospitality is something that doesn’t make a small difference when you’re in a foreign country…

I recommend this experience to everyone, especially to my colleagues who wish to touch with their hands the sense of our work in IFAD. IMI initiative was a great opportunity for me and I think it showed how important can be the GS contribution to make IFAD and ICO collaboration easier and effective.

Definitely a very formative experience for me, that I am confident will be useful to IFAD too.