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 jimmy@partnersinfoodsolutions.