Having started as a volunteer for PROJECT-E on the ground, it was the perfect time to visit the project again as part of the Management Board, discuss recent developments and brainstorm on strategic directions.
I started as one of the first volunteers for the then newly-established Hospitality Institute in autumn 2015 and since then been engaged in the European Team – coming back after two years of running this college with our first year of graduates currently on job-search was incredibly valuable and insightful.
The first ever students at PEHI began their education when I started as a volunteer in Addis, seeing them now again showed the huge development they all have made since their first day. They have grown into independent, educated and self-confident women who have developed visions for their lives and are on the way to realize them. I accompanied some of the recent graduates to job interviews at different hotels in Addis and it was amazing to see how welcomed our first PROJECT-E graduates are in the industry – a great percentage of this first graduate year has already started their working life in the hospitality sector. But it is not only our students that have developed over the last two years, the whole project has grown so much. Being in its infancy when I saw the Institute two years ago, the Hospitality Institute has become a highly professional training institute with inspiring and dedicated staff that train our students not only in Hotel Operations but also in life skills training and are constantly improving our programme. During my stay, we had to say goodbye to one of our founding staff members: Our Academic Coordinator Fetenech has been involved in the project development right from the start and has become an important reference person for our students and staff. We are sad to see her go but we know that she will always support PROJECT-E and our vision.
My two-weeks stay at the PEHI was dominated by discussions and meetings concerning the general project direction, current cooperation ideas and possible future expansions. Next year will be an important year for PROJECT-E as we are looking for a new project compound and cost recovery options to increase our financial sustainability. Linked to the latter, I visited two places in Addis together with our country representative and our social worker that serve as a source of inspiration for our cost recovery ideas. Being present in Addis gave me the opportunity to engage in wider discussions and brainstorming outside the normal topic range with our project manager and country representative.
I have returned to Europe with a great boost in motivation, fresh memories and concrete ideas of the current situation – and tried to pass this on at our last Strategy Weekend in Europe last week.
Written by Nadja Frercksen