An Interview with Susi Mayer

by Dianna

September 29, 2013

Susi Mayer is Shika’s Programme Manager in Tanzania. Susi has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and graduated in 2012 from Catholic University of Eichstätt, Germany. Susi joined Shika in May 2012 after 6 months working with drug-addicted youths in Arusha. Susi is a dynamic, young social worker with empathy and excellent communication skills.

Susi’s role involves:

• Ensuring the smooth day to day running of the programme & general administration duties
• Managing the finances of the centre and adhering to budgets
• Monitoring and evaluation of the ASSP activities
• Supervising the staff of the centre and providing support and guidance to them
• Coordinating volunteers and assisting with their placement and visas
• Liaising with schools and resolving conflicts
• Communicating to the Trustees in the UK
• Building relationships with parents/guardians
• Counseling and liaising with child protection services
• Networking with local community and other actors in the educational sector

What do you like most about working at Shika?

Seeing the children’s progress and seeing them having fun doing activities. Seeing the children become confident in their classes. Watching how they are interested in political and social topics.?Observing them  taking on responsibilities. I like being able to work at an administrative level, but also to be actively involved with the children. I enjoy that I am able to develop strategy plans and so to be part of a movement/change of people who haven’t been aware of their rights for such a long time.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Making plans and seeing the plans being implemented by the children, our staff and our volunteers. To be able to witness the positive effects on the children’s lives.Being able to develop together with staff, volunteers and stakeholders a sustainable future plan for shika.

What are the children’s biggest problems and how do you help?

They don’t have anyone to help at home with school related matters, a lot of the children are lacking attention and love from their home environments. The status of children in Tanzania is determined by serving and respecting people who are older. Respect is really important, but it is sometimes abused and the children are often not cared for as they should be. At shika children learn about their rights and how important they are in their society. This makes them confident and able to act within their culture, but with the confidence of knowing their rights.

What changes and improvements do you see?

Children are getting really confident when they get to class 7, some even earlier. They are able to take over responsibilities, especially in our clubs as well in our Big Brother/Big Sister Mentoring. I see the children more motivated in their after school activities and tuition after getting a healthy and good meal and how they are having fun eating fruit. After teaching life skills lessons in health we see children wearing tights or trousers under their skirts on cold days. Since being at the school, children come to the office just to be there, we’ve made it easy for them to step into our door, which makes the work so much easier with all our children.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

I love playing soccer, swimming and other sports as well as reading books. I am really interested in social/development politics and like to discuss and read about theories of development cooperation.