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  Issue no. 6 | July 2020  
  Skilled Crafts Newsletter  
Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa
  Current project developments and topics about skilled crafts in development cooperation
A newsletter by the Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa
  Dear readers,

Skillend Crafts and Trades Network 4 Afrika
Welcome to the third edition of the Skilled Crafts newsletter in 2020, which is now also available in English. For those of you who are new to the newsletter, this is the platform where we inform friends and colleagues about what is happening in the project ‘Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa’ (SCTN4A) every three months.

The stories in this issue speak of innovation, persistence and flexibility. Given that in-person implementation of assignments must wait we have made use of the difficult time and shifted our assignments into the virtual world. We have been positively surprised by the flexibility, the know-how and the interest of the German craftspeople and the African SME’s with regards to working with us on these new solutions.

In the middle of the year, three new employees joined our team in Germany, who will introduce themselves in the following pages. With our team complete we are united and ready to start into the second half of 2020. The upcoming merger with four other GIZ projects is also in full swing.

In this edition of the newsletter we focus on the new virtual cooperation options, giving you an insight into online consulting and training. In an assignment in Rwanda, an international master craftsman, who had supported a company in its improvement of management processes before the Corona crisis, was able to continue his work in an online consultancy (from Germany). In Germany, we developed a training concept to familiarise German craftspeople with the variety of online formats to use in their cooperation assignments. Two events have taken place, online of course, in June and July. Further events are planned, for which you are welcome to register on our website. In addition, we report about two very successful partnerships between German craftspeople and Ugandan entrepreneurs.

» Register for events on our website

It has been an exciting first half of the year! So, what better way than to sit down now, relax, and read a good, insightful email about all that has been happening?

Your Skilled Crafts Team
Please feel free to contact us with any questions and feedback you may have about the project:
From the network
» Skilled Crafts is online!
» Private fundraising initiative for St. Simon Peter's TVET college in Hoima, Uganda
» Introducing new colleagues
» A quote from the field (pre-Corona)
From the Craft Practice
» Positively charged advisory on management processes in Rwanda
Currently on the go
» Skilled Crafts Online Trainings: Virtual Cooperation in the Development Sector
Dates and Events
We would like to introduce ...
» Mansuli Senyondo from Mayondo Engineering Works and Eve Zalwango from V Interiors
  From the Network  
Skilled Crafts is online!
Homepage Skilled Crafts. Photo: © GIZ
Homepage Skilled Crafts. Photo: © GIZ
Since mid-May, as already announced in the previous newsletter, we finally have an address on the Internet at

The webpage offers craftspeople a platform tailored to their needs with information and training opportunities to use abroad. It offers development cooperation projects access to our pool of experts, which is unique in Germany. From now on, a matching platform will enable supply and demand for skilled crafts services in development cooperation to come together without much effort.

We would be pleased if you join our daily growing community and register on the matching platform. We support you in connecting you with a match and support you in contracting the craftspeople. In this way, we can jointly contribute to the promotion of skilled crafts in Africa and Germany.

» Website Skilled Craft
» Information for craftspeople on our website
» Matching platform

Please send any feedback regarding the website or matching platform to: Linda Küntzelmann
Private fundraising initiative for St. Simon Peter’s TVET college in Hoima, Uganda
Father Joseph Bigirwa, Ambassador Dr. Conze and the Ugandan President's adviser for oil and gas open the
Father Joseph Bigirwa, Ambassador Dr. Conze and the Ugandan President's adviser for oil and gas open the ‘House of Africa’. Photo: © GIZ/Dennis Onen
As a private initiative, the project team of the Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa requested end of June for the financial support of colleagues and friends for St. Simon Peter’s Vocational Training Centre (VTC) in Hoima, Uganda. SCTN4A has worked closely with the VTC since 2018 and wanted to support students' and vulnerable families around the college, who have been hit hard by the effects caused by COVID-19.

Thanks to your generous contributions we were able to raise 4,258 Euro within two weeks. We would like to thank you for that! Together with Father Joseph Bigirwa, the director of the college, we sat down and agreed how to move forward. The plan is to split the amount as follows: the first tranche in form of food supplies will be given to 30 homes of less privileged people (e.g. widows, women and children led households, the disabled), who live around St. Simon Peter’s Vocational Training Centre. The second tranche will be for the Centre instructors, who haven’t received salary since April this year. The last tranche will be for the vulnerable students who, as a result of the effects of COVID-19, cannot pay for their tuition fees.

We will keep you updated about the process of handing over the donations to Father Joseph Bigirwa, the director of the college in the News Section on our Webpage. Additionally, we will also be reporting further on the handover, in our next newsletter at the end of October. Stay tuned!

» Information on the process of handing over the donations to Father Joseph Bigirwa
Introducing new colleagues
Linda Küntzelmann. Photo: © Linda Küntzelmann
Linda Küntzelmann. Photo: © Linda Küntzelmann
Linda Küntzelmann
Role: Project Manager Communication and M&E

Having joined the Skilled Crafts Team in Berlin around one month ago, I am responsible for communication and monitoring & evaluation.

My previous position with GIZ led me to Kampala, Uganda where I worked an Advisor for 3.5 years in a BMZ/EU co-financed project that strengthened refugee hosting communities in Northern Uganda. Here, I worked mainly in the field of vocational and technical skills development and employment promotion for refugees and host communities. Prior to my studies at university, I gained insight into the world of skilled crafts through a two-year vocational training as a clothing technician, which I concluded 2008.

I am looking forward to working together with you, as well as getting to know a few of the faces behind the names in person, as soon as the Corona situation begins to slow down.
Helena Brecht. Photo: © Helena Brecht
Helena Brecht. Photo: © Helena Brecht
Helena Brecht
Role: Intern

I am the new intern in the Skilled Crafts team, having begun my internship in mid June. I will work in the Bonn office until mid-December.

This internship is part of my two-year master's degree in ‘International Security’ at the University Sciences Po in Paris. My studies focus largely on on global risks and on the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Development cooperation, economic development and partnership collaborations naturally have a major role to play here! Prior to my masters I completed my bachelor's degree in ‘International Relations’ at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

I look forward to working with you online and (hopefully!) offline as well!
Ralf Elben. Photo: © Ralf Elben
Ralf Elben. Photo: © Ralf Elben
Ralf Elben
Role: Project Manager

Since the beginning of June this year I am supporting the Skilled Crafts Team at the Bonn office.

At the beginning of my professional career, in accordance with my academic education, I worked in various positions in the field of bio-medical technology & pharmaceuticals. Here, I learned to appreciate the skilled crafts and trades sector, through close cooperation with the manufacturing industry. Within the scope of a research project I was then able to get a taste of development cooperation, and decided to join GIZ in 2012. First, this was in an educational programme in Ethiopia, then in the field of renewable energies setting up maintenance and servicing structures for diagnostic equipment and digital trade, and now, here at Skilled Crafts and Trade Network 4 Africa.

I am looking forward to working with you in interesting projects, in particular those that bridge the gap between conceptual approaches and practical implementation. Or, as is in line with my favourite saying: ‘theoretically, theory equals practice – in practice, it does not’.
A quote from the field (pre-Corona)
‘It was very productive to have Mr. Fabrice Carstens with us. Fabrice was very attentive during the consultation and took notes for his recommendations. In addition, he was very committed to answering all my questions, even outside his area of responsibility. Fabrice made an important contribution to the work in the metal industry with his advice.’
Elan Valombola, Pinelka Investments, Namibia
  From the Craft Practice
Positively charged advisory on management processes in Rwanda
When Dirk Abel set off on his trip to Rwanda in November 2019 on behalf of the Skilled Crafts Project, the assignment was not significantly different from previous assignments. The company Electricom with its approximately 20 employees offers various services in the field of electrical installation and sells the necessary products in several branches. Support had been requested for various technical issues, so nothing unusual for the experienced master craftsman. In the preliminary discussions, however, a further starting point was defined, the optimization of management processes within the company. At the beginning of the trip it was not yet clear how exactly this would be achieved, the reservations on the Rwandan side to discuss their management weaknesses by telephone were too big.

Management structures in African SMEs are usually strongly aligned with local socio-cultural conditions. Hierarchies follow existing family structures, decisions are made ad hoc and changed if necessary, and personal conflicts or sensitivities have a high impact on the working atmosphere. Such structures do have advantages in terms of company agility and could well be described as ‘lean’ in the current sense. However, due to the lack of transparency and reproducibility of internal processes, there are clear limits to the methodical optimization of the company.
  Storage room before the mission. Photo: © GIZ/Dirk Abel
Storage room before the mission. Photo: © GIZ/Dirk Abel
Dirk Abel found a similar situation at the company in Rwanda. Unclear responsibilities, processes that differ according to the expert, and a lack of succession planning concentrated the workload unequally amongst the owners and employees and strategic decisions could not be made or were difficult to make. Partial support of individual processes would thus not achieve any lasting effects, so that a systematic reorganisation of the company would clearly represent an added value. Moreover, this process could not be an individual measure, but rather the beginning of a longer journey with a strong need for longer-term exchange. The big question now was: where should this journey start?

After the first analysis of the situation and substantial discussions with the owners and employees, the essential elements of a well-running company were started. Thus an organization chart with clear responsibilities was created and a vision for the company including corporate identity was developed. Following this vision and a market assessment, the restructuring of the product range and services offered was started, internal processes were optimized and established within the company. In order to clarify the question of succession, intra-family differences had to be discussed and resolved. With the purposeful objectivity of a German craftsman, Dirk Abel seems to have hit the right note there as well and is certainly enriched by a very interesting experience.

The increased clarity of the product range and its stockkeeping enables better planning of the inventory of products in advance, thus improving costs, availability and delivery times. Transparent and standardized processes have reduced the workload for employees, which has a positive effect on their motivation and commitment. All in all, a win-win situation for all involved. The first results of the restructuring were quickly translated into valid figures. Apart from the extremely positive feedback from Electricom, the company was able to increase its turnover by 50 per cent in the first few months. A figure that even tech start-ups dream of.
Storage room, after the mission of Dirk Abel. Photo: © GIZ/Dirk Abel
Storage room, after the mission of Dirk Abel. Photo: © GIZ/Dirk Abel
Dirk Abel will of course continue to maintain contact with Electricom and its employees, and further measures are planned. Originally, the owner had planned a trip to Germany to establish further contacts and to diversify the product range. Due to the travel restrictions caused by the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the trip had to be postponed. However, the trust that has been built up through the cooperation on site enables further support through appropriate online formats.

The fundamental and conceptual success of this management consultancy is a beacon that should definitely be expanded and continued to be offered. Especially in the coming months and years, such optimisation processes are indispensable with regards to economic resilience.

» Electricom website
» Dirk Abels contact details can be found on the DEKTRO website
  Currently on the go  
Skilled Crafts Online Trainings: Virtual Cooperation in the Development Sector
Steps of content production. © GIZ
Steps of content production. © GIZ
As reported in the last issue, development cooperation has changed fundamentally in times of COVID-19. Likewise, Skilled Crafts has adapted to the new situation and has increased our work online. Not only with the new website, but also with some of its ongoing projects. Thus, in the past months, it has been possible to continue activities such as occupational safety trainings or company partnerships.

But not every aspect of development cooperation can be translated one-to-one into digital formats. In order to highlight the technical hurdles but also the many opportunities the recent development presents for the project, we held an online training on this topic on the 19th of July. The aim was to inform and motivate the participants to engage in a virtual crafts cooperation project. In this, we were supported by Heike Koch, who is an expert for web-based trainings and digital learning, which she will continue to do.

Contents of the event included the creation of explanatory and learning videos, web-based trainings and the work process for inventing digital learning materials. Tanja Neumann and Manfred Becker also contributed valuable practical examples to the online training. We are delighted to receive good feedback and took note of the active participation and motivation of all participants. Therefore, we plan further events in the near future.

On the 21st of July a follow-up training took place in a small group of already very committed craftspeople to advise them in a ‘Tool Hopping Workshop’ on which applications are best suited for their projects.

On the 10th of August this event will be open once again to a limited number of interested craftspeople, who have concrete ideas for online projects. You can register on our website until the 8th of August.

» Last issue, Skilled Craft Newsletter (German)
» New Skilled Craft website
» Registration for introduction to the use of online tools training on the 10th of August
  Dates and Events  
At present, no events are planned due to the current situation. However, we would like to encourage all experts to use their existing networks, to stay in contact with each other and especially with their partners in Africa wherever possible. You are welcome to ask questions about the current situation of the project and our initiatives.
If you have suggestions on how to strengthen the craft in Africa during Corona, please let us know, we welcome every suggestion.
  We would like to introduce ...  
Mansuli Senyondo from Mayondo Engineering Works and
Eve Zalwango from V Interiors in Uganda
The Skilled Crafts Project has initiated and accompanied numerous partnerships between skilled craftspeople, between Germany and Sub-Sahara Africa. For this edition of our newsletter, we speak to two skilled craftspeople from the wood sector in Uganda. Mansuli Senyondo from Mayondo Engineering Works has had a partnership with the German carpenter Josef Kramhöller since October 2018. Eve Zalwango and her company V Interiors have had a partnership with Orsine Mieland, also a German carpenter, since early 2019.

»Skilled Crafts website
» Mayondo Engineering Works
» V Interiors
Evelyn Zalwango. Photo: © GIZ
Evelyn Zalwango. Photo: © GIZ
Why did you want to engage with the GIZ ‘Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa’ project?

Mansuli: Mayondo Engineering Works is a member of Uganda Manufactures’ Association (UMA) and Uganda Small Scale Industries association (USSIA). When the Skilled Crafts project organized a matching trip to Uganda, we were recommended as a possible partner. We found out that it would be a possibility to learn with German craftspeople and be an opportunity to access German technology and craftsmanship, which is why we wanted to engage.

Eve: I was interested in the idea of how to teach people new skills and wanted to create new partnerships.

How have you benefitted from the cooperation?

Mansuli: The cooperation with Mr. Josef is both a skills development partnership and a business partnership. Mr. Josef is a teacher and advisor for Mayondo Engineering Works, always just a phone call away. I have also benefitted from going to Germany and doing apprenticeship training in his workshop. We then developed a chair together. This is a new product that we can sell (designed in Germany, made in Uganda), which means the partnership has been an opportunity to increase profits for Mayondo Engineering. And, the cooperation with Mr. Josef is also a marketing tool as our customers gain more confidence in us because of the association and connection to German skilled crafts and trades.

Eve: The partnership I have with Orsine is one in which she is my mentor. She has taught me how to manage my business better and also introduced me to new ways of making my production line more efficient.

What has surprised you most since the beginning of this cooperation?

Mansuli: I have been positively surprised by the quick response to our requests by the GIZ, and the easy access I now have to other craftspeople. This is good for networking and for the exchange and collaboration of ideas. I also went to a trade fair in Hannover through the Skilled Crafts project. This was astonishing and a real eye opener. And, the partnership has helped us utilize our skills better at Mayondo. For example, Mayondo’s apprenticeship scheme has been boosted through training manuals that we developed with Mr. Josef.

Eve: Orsine and my work spaces are different, yet we face similar challenges as women in business.

How will the partnership continue?

Mansuli: I will continue to collaborate with Mr. Josef. At the moment, we hold online meetings to exchange information. We are also looking to continue to develop new products that suit both the German and Ugandan market.

Eve: Orsine and I are going to train other women in the industry together. We are developing training for this. Here, Orsine will be our mentor and senior advisor on a lot of the programme.

Who would you recommend such a partnership to?

Mansuli: I would recommend a partnership through the Skilled Crafts and Trades Network 4 Africa to any other UMA or USSIA company.

Eve: In Uganda we have a lot of young people that are running similar small workshops. They would benefit from a partnership too.

What do you think the German craftspeople learn from you?

Mansuli: German craftspeople can learn how to improvise better. In Uganda, we can do lots despite limited technology because we improvise and adapt. German craftspeople can also learn how to have more patience with the slowly growing economy. And, German craftspeople can learn more about a wide choice of materials that we have on offer in Uganda. For example, we have been designing products using Ugandan bark cloth for over 600 years.

Eve: German craftspeople can learn about our culture, and also about differences in our workspaces and approaches despite us all working in the same sector.

Is there anything else you would like to say, that people reading the newsletter should know?

Mansuli: There is need for the German market to open up and increase the access for Ugandan products.

Eve: We always have to explore things outside of our usual spaces and our comfort zones to learn more. The exchange that occurs through the partnership and also when there are visits to the country allows us to learn from one another.
Mansuli Senyondo and Josef Kramhöller. Photo: © GIZ
Mansuli Senyondo and Josef Kramhöller. Photo: © GIZ
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