Bente Consulting – 10 years anniversary 2010 – 2020
Time flies and today marks 10 years since I registered my company after vivid discussions in the family on company names and with no idea of what it would take to run a private company, including tax regulations and VAT payments, being employer and employee, CEO, accountant and senior consultant – all at the same time. I thought it was a temporary solution – but it is so far the longest employment period of my career. And thanks to excellent leadership in the company, I think I will stay for a couple of more years!
It has taken me far – geographically and topic-wise. The solid network in Mozambique helped to kick-start the business and over the years assignments in Mozambique have represented a considerable part of the portfolio. In total, I have undertaken 70+ assignments of which almost a third in Mozambique, but also West Africa, MENA and Asia are on the map. I have worked with civil society, democracy and governance, human rights and gender, and also with rural and market system development, social and financial inclusion, women, youth and disability, environment, health and sexual and reproductive health.
The jobs have included the full circle of project identification, formulation, appraisal, reviews and evaluations. I have facilitated strategy processes and learning studies, and designed baselines, monitoring and evaluation systems – and written thousands of pages of reports. I have worked in English, Portuguese, French, Swedish and Danish – or in languages, I don’t understand, depending on a local interpreter, often summarizing long sequences of talk into only short statements.
I have sat on a mat or low wooden chair under the mango trees, balanced on narrow paths on steep slopes in Myanmar, worked in dusty villages in Zambia, travelled the wide plains in Mongolia and enjoyed the beautiful seaside views in Mozambique. I have been freezing cold in high level government offices, where the aircon brings the temperature to 15 degrees, sat on uncomfortable low sofas in meeting rooms and enjoyed maize porridge and canapés during work hours, depending on the setting. I have travelled what corresponds to earth's circumference a couple of times – and paid my CO2 compensation! And I have stayed in innumerous hotel rooms – all different, but similar, and yet a few exceptions like the wooden house in Myanmar on poles and with no privacy from neighbors due to thin walls or the fancy resort in Zambia with zebras grazing on the lawn next to the restaurant.
And I have met many, many inspiring, hardworking and dedicated people that I cannot count – in farmers’ and civil society organizations, fighting for their rights and the future of their children. And there have been outstanding colleagues all along – some of which I have enjoyed working with on several occasions. I cannot thank everybody – and I cannot invite you all to a reception. Let’s blame it on the COVID-19 restrictions……though I would have love to see you all here at Agersø with a glass of champagne raised and good music playing. Thank you all of you who made this journey possible!