Get to know THINKer Fanelesibonge Msimango – and her wonderful interpretation of THINK culture and values!
Fanele joined THINK in February this year as a Data Clerk on the ADAPT project. When the ADAPT project concluded in April, she applied for her current role as a Linkage Coordinator. “In this capacity, I collaborate closely with Linkage Officers to oversee the management of linkage activities. My responsibilities include coordinating the efforts of Linkage Officers, monitoring progress, evaluating performance, conducting quality control and quality assurance checks on THINK Linkage Trackers, and compiling comprehensive linkage reports on a monthly and quarterly basis for programs,” she explains.
“A typical THINK day for me starts with a cup of coffee!” laughs Fanele. “This sets the day and gets the braincells going. A better part of my day is spent staring at 2 screens, sometimes 3, with a calculator adding up numbers and doing quality control and quality assurance on my work.”
If you happen to glimpse Fanele pacing about the office speaking to herself, it’s an indication that she is thinking hard and trying to unlock solutions to the challenges that lie before her. “What I love about my work at THINK is that it puts me out of my comfort zone,” she says. “Additionally, it allows me to make a positive impact on people’s lives or contribute to meaningful projects. My work also gives me the chance to learn and grow in my role, whether through training or mentorship.”
Born and bred in Durban, raised by both her parents, Fanele has a younger and an older sibling. She pursued higher education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where she obtained a Bachelor of Social Science Degree. “I later earned a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree, and at present I’m a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Public Policy.”
Deeply passionate about participating in programs that combine advocacy and helping individuals, Fanele firmly believes that advocacy is a powerful tool for connecting those directly affected by issues with those who may be more distant observers. “My academic background aligns with my passion and interests, which involve analysing current and future policy initiatives and using research to propose solutions to pressing social issues,” she says. “Additionally, I aspire to offer age-appropriate capacity-building projects to promote active policy engagement and meaningful discussions.”
Fanele’s parents have both dedicated their careers to the health sector, which exposed her to the field from an early age. “I spent a significant amount of time volunteering and accompanying them to work. Through these expert services and invaluable insights, I developed a genuine passion for making a positive impact on people’s lives, improving healthcare services, and contributing to the betterment of individuals and communities.”
Fanele’s interpretation of THINK’s values and culture:
- Firstly, it’s important to note that at the heart of every successful organisation lies a set of core values that define its character and drive its mission. For THINK, I’d say these values are far more than just words on a piece of paper; they are the essence of the organisation. THINK’s culture revolves around fostering respect, trust, and encouraging one another.
- At THINK, we believe in the power of empathy. There’s an understanding that people are at the organisation’s heart, so placing a high value on caring for people creates an environment that fosters respect, teamwork, and inclusivity. Also, among the values, a passion for making a difference is the fuel that drives individuals. For instance, in each project we work on, a sense of passion resonates within colleagues. Ultimately this serves as a driving force and motivates us to challenge conventional limits, explore creative avenues, and pioneer innovative solutions. At THINK, there’s an understanding that real progress often requires breaking free from traditional norms. “Kicking The Paradigm” is an invitation to question the usual and embrace new ideas.
- One of the few great things about THINK as an organisation is having an open-door policy, which promotes flexible and transparent communication between supervisors and colleagues. For me personally, this translates to better communication which in turn helps build a culture of trust. Also, with whichever title everyone holds, there’s the same level of respect, no one is bigger or more important than the other. Everyone is valued the same.
- If you’re a part of the THINK team, you are essentially part of an organisation that values innovation and empathy in equal measure. You’re sort of guaranteed a brighter and more dynamic future.