Tanzania: Planning is the recipe for success says my mentor
Written by Gladness Hemedi Munuo | 29 August 12
Dar-es-Salaam, 29 August: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" sums up my phenomenal woman, Dominica Haule. I believe that this principle has contributed the success that she enjoys today. It has assisted her to be successful as a career woman, a wife, as well as a mother to her three children.
Dominica will never change her plans for anything or anyone unless if it is means someone is dying. Even if you have a close relationship with her, she will not bend her back if the request is late. I have asked her to preside over events a few hours before they start.
She will respond, "Gladness, I'm sorry that your request for me to be part of the meeting you are hosting has come in late. Short notice does not work with me, I plan and I have to attend to another equally important programme. I am very sorry."
I used to get disappointed and thought of her as an arrogant successful woman, but now I've learnt the trick. I have to send my request three or four days prior to the event so that she can prepare a speech or her contribution depending on the role she will have at the meeting.
I admire Dominica, a veteran communications practitioner. She insists on planning all the time. The Information Services of Tanzania (MAELEZO) employed her for more than 25 years before she resigned. She is decisive and she resigned out of choice. Her friends tried to convince her to stay on but she refused, noting that she had given enough of her career to the organisation. She wanted to start her own thing and her next move showed us all that she had thought through her decision.
Together with other women, they went on to form an organisation called Grass Root for Female Communicators Association (GRAFCA).
I met this phenomenal woman over ten years ago during a gender and media activism workshop held in Dar-es-Salaam. This is when I learnt that she is a gender and media activist and I always consult her when organising workshops targeted at the media.
Two years ago, she shared with me that, "if I want my dreams to come true, I should wake up and work." She added that it is also important to put in place a plan in advance and stick to it as much as possible. It has been difficult for me to plan and stick to my plans, but slowly, I'm grasping the principle and enforcing it in my career.
She has taught me that an activist should be prepared for anything and to stand by what they believe in. I have become a respected activist in the work that I do with media houses to develop gender policies. I believe that the media should also serve women and deliberate policies are important to ensure that the media includes women's voices.
In addition, Dominica is my mentor and when I need guidance from her, I have to place an appointment first and brief her on what I require help on. She will engage with the information and when I go to see her, she will give me excellent advice that assists me to make decisions. She gives her all and is never jealous of some of the things that I will be seeking her advice on. Since she became my mentor, I have witnessed positive growth in my personal life as well as in my career.
The valuable lessons and life skills that I have gained from knowing Dominica have to be acknowledged this Women's Month. She is the phenomenal woman in my life and I would like her to know that.
I would want to believe that the principle of planning has contributed to the success of many other Tanzanian women including the Speaker for Tanzania National Parliament, Anna Makinda; Minister for Land and Housing, Anna Tibaijuka; former Deputy Secretary General of the UN and now UN Special Envoy for HIV and AIDS in Africa Asha-Rose Migiro; and former President of the Pan African Parliament Gertrude Mongella.
I also believe that if I stick to what Dominica has taught me, I will also be successful in my work and leave a legacy in the Tanzania media fraternity for championing the adoption and implementation of gender policies in media houses.
I envy Dominica Haule. The busy lives we lead today can make us change our plans every minute. They require one to be smart, to manage their time and not agree to work on everything that comes their way. As a married woman, I also have to juggle other tasks. Multitasking and planning become very important. I have learnt this from Dominica and I thank her for teaching me this special skill.
Gladness Hemedi Munuo is a media activist based in Tanzania. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service, special series on celebrating phenomenal women, bringing you fresh views on everyday news.