Sharing Voices from our Partners: Field Officer Awards in West Africa and the Middle East
By Claire Kelly, Regional Director for West Africa/MENA and Interim Regional Director for Asia
Whole Planet Foundation launched the Field Officer Appreciation Award in 2014 and it remains one of my favorite annual milestones. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that WPF requested a quote from each nominated field officer as part of the nomination. These stories often reveal the field officer’s inspiration to join their organization and recount stories of client support of which they’re particularly proud of.
For this year’s West Africa/MENA edition, Whole Planet Foundation received 12 nominations from our partners to recognize the extraordinary work of their top field staff. Please read below for some inspiring stories about this group, in their own words.
Sani Rantan Isah, Babban Gona, Nigeria: “Several of the members under my portfolio had their fields in locations that are not accessible by motorcycle. At harvest, transporters could not reach the fields of 5 of the members, who farmed field size of 1 Hectare each. The closest place they could reach was approximately 4km away from the fields of these members, which posed a serious challenge to moving the bags of crops from their fields. To remedy this, I took it upon myself to move the bags from their fields, one by one, on my bike through until I was able to move all bags of maize.”
Nicole Soudre, Yikri, Burkina Faso: “Supporting the poorest is a vocation for me, a daily source of satisfaction. I am proud to offer a wide range of products and services of monthly training, savings, credit and especially the mutual health insurance to improve the social and economic development of the beneficiaries.”
Jean Lankoande, GRAINE, Burkina Faso: “When I was working here as a security guard, I closely watched the activities of loan officers for years. Now that I’m a loan officer, I use my free time to educate all clients on the credit methodology. Today, I manage a large portfolio whose quality is under control and which has allowed the agency to have good results.
Aliaa Alsaanaa, KIEDF, Israel: “Bedouins in non-recognized villages or isolated towns are not on the electricity grid. They rely on generators for their day to day electricity. I fought to prove the Bedouin community would repay for solar generators and prove to businesses that payment plans could be made. When companies wanted to sell solar generators, which would cease the pollution caused by diesel ones, to Bedouins, they demanded full payment up front (not trusting they would get paid). I worked to show, through KIEDF’s microloans for the purchase solar generators, that they would repay these loans…and they did! Now companies sell on a fair payment plan and KIEDF no longer needs to provide such loans.”
Magnoulelen Padaban, Assilassime, Togo: “A client lost her husband in 2019. She was responsible for 5 children. After the death of her husband, things became very difficult for her and her income was almost non-existent as it was her husband who helped her manage their business. Faced with this situation, the woman found herself in arrears and experienced total depression. We tried to chat with her and she ended up telling us her story. First, we tried to reassure her, to accompany her until she balances the loan. Afterwards, the renewed credit was reduced (from ≈$625 to $180 USD) to allow her to start over little by little. Today she is successfully managing a loan of ≈$895 .”
Please meet all the winners of the 2021 Whole Planet Foundation Field Officer Appreciation Awards in the West Africa/MENA region in the images above. All winners received certificates and cash prizes. Congratulations!
Learn more at wholeplanetfoundation.org.