April 30, 2024

International Labour Day: The Value of our team in Our Mission


As we embrace the spirit of Labour Day, it is with immense gratitude and appreciation that we extend our heartfelt thanks to the remarkable team of staff and partners who make our organisation thrive.

Every year on May 1st, the world comes together to celebrate International Labour Day, a time to honour and appreciate the invaluable contributions of workers across all fields. For us at the Open Institute, driven by our dedication to promote a responsive government and active citizenship, Labour Day holds special significance as it gives us the chance to reflect on the value of labour in the marketplace and its impact on our mission.

In any economy, the marketplace is an important place where people can earn money and help their communities thrive. Labour also plays a critical role in achieving sustainable development goals by promoting inclusive growth, reducing inequality, and addressing social and environmental challenges.

Being well aware of this we deeply value our team members and the contributions they make to our mission, and are committed to providing a supportive work environment that recognizes their unique strengths.

The Open Institute and Maono Team visit to Garashi, Kilifi County.

Our Drive To Make a Difference

Each day, we’re inspired by the impact of our team’s work through the positive stories we get from the communities we support. Whether it’s creating tools like Sabasi for data collection, advocating for inclusive data practices, amplifying the voices of those often left behind, or championing sustainable development in marginalised communities, our dedication to these communities drives us to make a difference in the grassroots and beyond.

“The impact of our programs is what drives me every day. As a new member of the team, discovering how our citizen-generated data initiatives have transformed communities inspires me. Seeing the growth in the changemakers here at Maono motivates me even more. I am a strong advocate for inclusivity, and being part of an organisation that shares this goal ignites my passion to empower future generations to demand and enact positive change .”

– Furaha, Intern

“I devote my time and energy to my work because I identify with the company’s values and purpose. Encouraging active citizenship and people empowerment is a course that directly impacts the community, gives people a voice, and enlightens them. With the help of change-makers whose values align with those of the Open Institute and like-minded people who work there, like me, the push for a responsive government requires all the collective efforts we can get.”

– Stephen, Finance Manager – Maono

“I’m deeply passionate about initiatives that make a real impact, promote transformation, and ensure sustainability. For me, the joy of my work lies in staying committed to our mission while embracing a mindset of continuous learning. I firmly believe in the power of learning from others and taking moments to reflect on my own contributions. Flexibility is key to my approach, as I encourage individuals to work in their unique styles as long as they deliver results aligned with our goals.”

– Loise, Chief of Staff & Director of Team Wellness

The Challenges We Face

Our journey is not without its challenges. From navigating complex socio-political landscapes to managing limited resources, we encounter obstacles that test our resolve. The emotional toll of our work, coupled with the demands of long hours and tight deadlines, can sometimes weigh heavily on our team members. But it’s our shared determination and resilience that help us push through and keep making a difference. We acknowledge the sacrifices made by our team members and strive to compensate them accordingly. This includes compensation reviews and giving extra time off to offset the long hours they put in.

“Working as a team has helped in creative problem, solving and brainstorming new ideas for the work we do. Sometimes it’s hard to stand out in our field of work and to remain relevant, we are constantly thinking of new ideas and approaches for our work and in telling our stories of impact”

– Esther, Communications Manager

“Collaborating with the team has offered diverse perspectives from a wide pool of skill sets, which has allowed us to approach challenges from multiple angles, brainstorm innovative solutions, and provide mutual support where delegation of tasks is called upon.”

– Shadrack, Front-end Developer
Out of office activities with the team.

Supporting Continuous Growth and Development

We understand that our team members are the reason we are able to achieve our success. One of the core principles of our Wellness Department is to invest in their continuous growth and development. We do this by providing opportunities for training and professional development, mentorship, and even scholarships to ensure that they have the requisite skills to thrive in the market place and contribute meaningfully to our mission. With our inclusive workplace culture, we ensure that every team member feels valued and empowered to reach their goals.

Capacity building training on leadership and governance at Maono Space.

We also recognise the importance of #MentalHealth for our team.

“One of the indicators we use to tell that our staff is struggling is through performance review after which we will talk to the team leader or have confidential conversations with the affected staff to understand the underlying issue, and find the best way to assist them.”

– Loise, Chief of Staff & Director of Team Wellness

Our wellness department is dedicated to providing the required support needed through initiatives such as wellness programs, medical insurance that provided for mental health support, flexible work arrangements, time off, and reassignment of their tasks so as to give them time to take a break and resolve their issues.  

By acknowledging and addressing their challenges we have been able to create a supportive environment where our team members now thrive and continue their work with renewed vigour and passion. We have seen employees returning to work with improved performance compared to their previous levels. To support this concept have also ensured that staff are actively connected, engaged and productive, by designing a number of initiatives as follows: 

  1. A new culture map
  2. Weekly staff meetings held every Monday
  3. Culture activities conducted every Friday as follows:
    • Staff training – 1st Friday of the month
    • OI rest day – 2nd Friday of the month
      This is an additional “leave” day every month deliberately set to give out team time time to rest and reset
    • Innovation Day – 3rd Friday of the month
    • Wellness Day – 4th /Last Friday of the month
  4. Provision of resources to all staff to support them on days they are working from home including airtime, internet and power backup systems.
The Open Institute and Maono Team visit to Garashi, Kilifi County.

As an organisation, we strongly believe in connecting our team with the communities we serve. For instance, through projects like Data Desk in Nandi, our developers directly engaged with the Nandi people to better understand their needs. Similarly, in Maono, during training sessions, data collection activities, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, we ensure our team interacts closely with communities. This allows them to share their expertise while also learning from community members, which creates valuable exchange of knowledge and skills.

We also place a strong emphasis on humanising our team, recognizing that they too are people who go through life challenges. Consequently, we are committed to offering our support whenever they need it. Moreover, we advocate for other organisations to adopt a similar approach, ensuring that all employees receive the support they need to perform at their best and find joy in their work.

To our incredible team

We celebrate your invaluable contributions, dedication to your work, your innovative ideas, and unwavering commitment to our shared vision. As we continue to build a responsive government and active citizenship, we remain committed to your growth and development whilst valuing the crucial role of labour you play in the marketplace to make our world a better place. Happy Labour Day!

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