The STAR-Ghana End of Call Learning Event was a shining success. More often than not, whenever a project comes to an end, the main focus is to celebrate the accomplishments without considering the failures. This event was novel in that it provided a space for the Grant Partners, state actors and beneficiaries to not only pat themselves on the back for a job well done, but to take a critical look at what went wrong and why, and the best way to move forward. As a part of the STAR-Ghana program management team I was more involved behind the scenes, holding the seams of the event together, with sporadic free moments to slip into the grand arena of the event and capture some key points. What was most informative to me was the session with the state actors, which included members from the Judicial Service, Electoral Commission, Ghana Police Service, National Media Commission, and the National Commission for Civic Education. I was eager to hear about their experiences throughout the election process as well as their thoughts on how effective and beneficial the projects that were implemented by STAR-Ghana’s grant partners were, however, it was the question and answer section (Q&A) that was most entertaining as there was some strong arguments between the CSO’s and the state actors which raised very potent issues. These issues informed the planning of the way forward and the communique which was subsequently developed at the end of the event as presented to the media in a press conference.

My main assignment was to handle registration and welcome the guests to the event on both days. I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people attending the event, however with more people came more problems. A major component of the registration process was to distribute name tags, however, not all the people who attended the event had had name tags printed due to eleventh hour changes and a lack of communication. This resulted in improvisation, printing in large quantities and a memory game which involved assigning names to faces. Despite the initial chaos, the team was able to distribute all name tags to the attendees with minimal fall outs and an important lesson was learnt; the importance of communication in a timely manner. The culture of waiting till the last minute to make a decision is debilitating not just to the organizers of the event, but to the attendees as well. It is important that as individuals we try to consider the other party involved and the repercussions of our actions. As a STAR-Ghana team however, we must keep in mind that not everyone is capable of keeping to a timeline so it is essential to always have a contingency plan that is quick and efficient, because life will always give you lemons, so we just have to make lemonade.

By Akushika Odunton

With Thanks to our Funders

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