The Director of the Alternative Development Office for USAID-Peru was conducting an audit of the ongoing activities, and the TechnoServe Country Director
for Peru (Victor) was here to host and check the office’s progress. All of the PIMCO EEP volunteers met with Victor to share with him our work thus far,
receiving constructive feedback as well as instructions for our next steps.
After sharing with Victor a list of suggestions for TechnoServe and its clients on reaching full sustainability in the long run, he asked me to put
together my ideas in the form of “Best Practices.” I wrote out my ideas for both the cocoa entrepreneurs and cooperatives, with details ranging from how to
conduct organized meetings to protocol when communicating with investors. The end product was a five-page, single-spaced example of my neurosis.
The project was inspired by a combination of events and observations both in the office and out in the field. A few weeks ago, one of the TechnoServe
entrepreneurs broke her leg during a moto-taxi ride outside the office. The moto-taxi spun around too quickly, and the whole thing fell on top of her. She
called her TechnoServe contact for help to the hospital. Afterwards, he helped her open up, operate, and close down her cake shop for several days. In my
“Best Practices” piece, I suggested that our clients structure a contingency plan in the event the boss is unable to be at work. I emphasized the need for
on-going employee training, as well as cross-training, so that everyone has the capacity to operate in different roles. My hope is that TechnoServe clients
use their time with us as training wheels, rather than a crutch. I believe economic self-sufficiency begins with planning for the likelihood of challenges
and unfortunate events, and is the very definition of independence.