Country Director, Plan International Sierra Leone
Casely Ato Coleman completed his MPHIL in administration and organization theory in 1996. He uses his administrative and organizational skills everyday when working with change management, human resources, and influencing government policy and laws.
Can you tell us a bit about your present work? What are your specific work tasks?
I am the Country Representative of Plan International in Sierra Leone. Plan is one of the biggest global child centred international non governmental agencies. As the chief executive of Plan International in Sierra Leone I am accountable for the country operations of Plan. I lead the program in representation with government and donor agencies, financial management, human resources management, strategy development and execution etc.
What is the best about your job? And the most challenging?
One of the best parts is to support and nurture talents so they can reach their full potential. To influence government policy and priorities in education, child protection and social welfare is another. Also engaging with donors to invest in child centred community development projects, and interacting with the children and communities who benefit from our interventions.
The most challenging is dealing with fraud and corruption. And to attract highly qualified people in a country where the educational system has been affected by decades of civil war, and most recently by EBOLA.
How do you use your education at work?
My training in organizational theory, public administration and employment relations has helped me to lead change management at my work place, engage with government to influence policy and laws, and support high performing staff to reach their full potential. Also it has been helpful with regards to publishing stories of impact of our projects, and share best practices with other peers and also to learn from others.
What made you decide to study administration and organization theory at UiB?
I have always wanted a career in Human Resources, and Development and Public Administration and the MPHIL was a stepping stone towards that ambition.
Is there anything you wish someone would have told you when you first started your studies?
The social life in Fantoft was very lonely, perhaps I underestimated that aspect and at times it was depressing during cold nights with almost minimal opportunities for social interactions. I managed to overcome it because there were some few Ghanaians around and we used to get together and eat or socialize during weekends. I also joined a Christian fellowship in Fantoft that also helped.
To avoid being lonely one has to join social clubs at the University of Bergen, this is what I would have done differently I had to do this a second time. In terms of spare time – I will suggest new students invest time in visiting some of the famous tourist sites in Bergen and Oslo while also investing time in making new friends on campus and also at Fantoft.
What do you think of as the best part of your study period at UiB?
One of the best parts was the quality time I had with Tor Halvorsen and Svein Michelson during my Masters dissertation which enriched my research and analytic skills. The course in Organizational Theory equiped me to understand key organizational issues such as organizational learning, change management, systems thinking etc. The course in Political Regimes helped me to understand the dynamics of the role of the state, bureaucracy and other actors in public policy and public administration. The course in Research methodology by Vibeke Erickson developed my research methodology skills. The directed course in Industrial relations helped me to specialize in Employment relations. The course in Consumerism was key in understanding the rights and obligations of duty bearers and right holders in facilitating quality services delivery.
All these courses and learning opportunities have helped me become a great leader which has earned me a lot of awards.
Bergen, 23. november 2016
Published by: Evelyn Myrå Holmøy