This week, our Resources Manager, Zoe Kasiya, cheerfully sent our last container of the year to Malawi, complete with a huge sack of donated boots from British Aerospace. We’ve made great strides in the health and safety of our workforce, and boots are always needed. Since 2008, Krizevac Project has been putting up new and different buildings in Malawi. Building practice is basic and, in all the time we’ve worked with hundreds of builders, we have been so fortunate that there have been very few and only minor injuries. Every engineer we have volunteering in Malawi makes improvements in safety. The sad thing is that the boots are treated with such care, that our workers often take them off before digging in a trench for fear of damaging them! Casual workers can also get more cash from selling the boots on the market than their earnings in construction so temptation to run off with them is high and we have pretty tight processes to control this.
We’ve always had to balance between process and product in our construction work: do we build buildings or grow the ability to build? Well, we end up doing the second by doing the first… it’s been an exciting roll-out of schools, community buildings, houses and more!
The small houses we built for volunteers are useful in themselves, but they were our classroom for learning to build. Our ‘learning by earning’ approach to skills development is key to the Krizevac development ethos. There is work to be done to formalise staff development, but enabling skills transfer from those who have some experience to those who have never worked is core. Our approach means we have to allow mistakes and constant course correction, but this is a very practical hands-on development.