Over the years of connecting volunteers with client companies in Africa, we’ve learned that sometimes useful and important information can be shared simply, rather than executing multi-month chartered projects. Last year we formalized organizing and managing those smaller questions into something we call Ask An Expert, or AAE for short. PFS looks for volunteers who can work on these smaller scale opportunities, as well as the larger projects.
What's the difference? A project volunteer on average takes 4-6 hours per month for 3-6 months, usually in the form of 1-2 conference calls per month plus some e-mailing in between. Scoped properly, an Ask-An-Expert should only take 2-3 calls or e-mails in total over the course of just a few weeks. It’s more like a mini-project.
Sometimes an AAE question becomes a prelude to a bigger, chartered project. The answers given--or the questions asked--lead us to set up a full volunteer team to follow up. In that case, the AAE volunteer isn’t obligated to take on the full project if they choose not to.
For example, we once did a full multi-month project to help a small flour mill improve their quality management systems, covering many aspects of their operations. One recommendation of that project was to create a lab to perform a couple specific analytical tests. The client then wanted to know what kind of equipment and materials they needed to have in order to perform the recommended analyses. That is an Ask-An-Expert request--not a full chartered project.
AAE requests can be technical or business management in nature. If you’re interested in volunteering for Ask-An-Expert please contact Jimmy at [email protected]
Read a wonderful story about one of our clients, Hirut Yohannes Darare, and her work to help her community by improving the dairy value chain. Written by our partners at TechnoServe. READ
Your voice has been heard! Thank you to the record 134 of you who responded to our annual volunteer survey. The results were overwhelmingly positive, with 97% of respondents finding the experience to be meaningful and overall volunteer satisfaction at over 80%. At PFS, we strongly believe in the business potential of Africa, and our volunteers agree! 50% of respondents see business potential for their company in Africa. There was also positive appreciation for PFS corporate partner support, with volunteers answering an average of 4 out of 5 in response to “It is important to me to work for a company that provides volunteer experiences like PFS.” The survey also yielded opportunities for improvement. Constructive feedback pointed out the need to continually strengthen communications, share more about project outcomes, and improve role clarity. We will not rest in our efforts to exceed your expectations and strengthen the PFS volunteer experience in the coming year!