Category Archives: Global Citizens

Three Months in Tanzania: What Have I Learned?

So I’m back home. Felt strange at first. It’s the little things I miss, like the radio in the morning, the conversations with Ed,  the outdoor lunches, the meetings with “my” team.

Going to a different world leaves traces. Sometimes less when the exposure was minimal and sometimes more, when many touch points with the other culture were made. Having spent three months in Tanzania and reflecting on it I come up with some points where I think I’ve changed somewhat. It’s an integral part of what the Global Citizen experience at Credit Suisse is about: reflection and building awareness. Continue reading Three Months in Tanzania: What Have I Learned?

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How to put the Global in “Global Citizen”?

Inspired by the tales of a Global Speaker I’ve been observing my own global mindset. While living in Tanzania for 3 months I interacted with people around the world through receiving or providing various services. On my last day in Tanzania it is time to look at the following list: Continue reading How to put the Global in “Global Citizen”?

What is a Slum in Tanzania?

With time my perception changes. I can almost feel it. It’s due to the fact I am confused. What is poor and what is rich? At their extremes these terms are clear. But what’s going on in the middle? Whenever I see a dirt poor person with threadbare clothing and no shoes walking the streets the sign “poverty” flashes up in my head. But occasional local companions label such persons as “crazy”. So it starts to look like only the mentally ill are at the very bottom of the pyramid.

Housing is a similar case of confusion. What clearly looked like slums to me at the beginning is looking less and less so. I see unpaved roads, narrow pathways and no running water but then I see power lines running through such places and I see that most houses are built from bricks. Can this qualify as slum? Continue reading What is a Slum in Tanzania?

What about the Middle Class in Tanzania?

I noticed that some of my colleagues from FINCA define themselves as middle class. My boss has recently summarized this: “Take her”, he pointed out X to me, “she is middle class. She has a salary, owns a car, pays taxes, has a pension fund, lives in her own house and has cable internet at home”. He made it sound easy to define a phenomenon that has left others struggling to come to terms with. Continue reading What about the Middle Class in Tanzania?

How to Ask (the right) Questions?

Through the Global Citizen Program by Credit Suisse I’ve been exposed to some serious coaching and have received the opportunity to reflect on the power of questions.

First thing I realized: questions carry the risk of bringing me into trouble. “What’s your name, sir?”, “What is it you like doing in your spare time?”, “When will I receive the status update from your team?” Continue reading How to Ask (the right) Questions?

The Epic Race of Population vs. Economy

Let’s do a little thought experiment to visualize the challenges faced by many developing countries. Imagine a country with a population growth of 5% and economic growth of 3% per year. The standard of living in year 0 would be 100%. Where would that country be after twenty years?

Continue reading The Epic Race of Population vs. Economy

Demining Rats from Tanzania – A Success Story

There are apparently 56 countries and 4 territories around the world that are affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war that pose a structural barrier to development and economic growth. Civilians become casualties long after the conflict has ended. Clearing mined land is a dangerous and time consuming task. Continue reading Demining Rats from Tanzania – A Success Story

Salt, Soap and Shoes for Tanzania’s Elders – A Success Story

Old people in rural Tanzania face a difficult life. While health and strength deteriorate they can not hope to be supported by one of their many children, who are either unwilling or unable to help or have been consumed by AIDS.

In addition to being less and less able to provide an income they sometimes become primary caretakers of their orphaned grandchildren. Continue reading Salt, Soap and Shoes for Tanzania’s Elders – A Success Story

Judging a Country by Happiness or Unhappiness?

Gross Domestic Product has become the yardstick by which we measure a country’s success. But, says Michael Green, GDP isn’t the best way to measure a good society. The Social Progress Index determines what it means to be a good society according to three
dimensions: Basic Human Needs (food, water, shelter, safety); Foundations of Well-being (basic education, information, health and Continue reading Judging a Country by Happiness or Unhappiness?

What I Learnt Before Even Starting My Assignment

As the time of departure is approaching I get a bit antsy. It’s a bit like before jumping off a cliff (with a parachute, I hope). And I noticed that I’ve been handling some things differently lately.

Acceptance

Take the recent reorganization, where members of my boss’ team were divided and ended up in three other teams. Where my
workload had been just about right before, it became insane to learn Continue reading What I Learnt Before Even Starting My Assignment