“Become different and make a difference”, they said. “Try to make it sustainable,” they said. “It won’t be easy,” they said. After five months of working full-time (sometimes more) as a Canadian SportWORKS Officer at the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC), I can wholeheartedly agree with them.
Joining an office with two staff members, one of whom is part-time, who are undergoing arguably their busiest year yet, even if I were to only do simple tasks in the office such as answer the phone and take messages, I would be making their world easier. Thankfully, I’ve been given the opportunity to do much more than just that. After learning the Zeus database system with my colleagues in February, I’ve been very involved in compiling all of the athlete and team management information to be stored in the Zeus system. I am happy to say this is both useful AND sustainable!
From there I became the ‘accreditation person’ for all three Games – The African Youth Games, The Commonwealth Games and The Youth Olympics. In a nutshell, this means I am in charge of liaising with national sport federations to figure out who should be going to these games, obtaining passports, pictures and event information and then communicating with the organization responsible for hosting the games. Of course, before the CSO program there was no one else to come in and help Namibia with office administration or accreditation. So, how did they manage? My two colleagues worked day, night and weekend to ensure their athletes had the best possible chance to compete in as many international events as possible. With my contribution, my colleagues are still working very hard, but now, in addition to giving their athletes the best opportunities, they’re able to focus on other areas and accomplish even more than before. During the African Youth Games, my colleagues were able to travel to different countries because I was there to take over office operations. This was definitely new for them, and a huge responsibility for me, but it was extremely gratifying to see just how much they appreciated my contribution in the office. “Become different and make a difference”.
The experiences that I have been through and the people I have had the opportunity to meet and work with have helped me to grow and learn what it takes to work in a sport office environment. I know I have become different because of this. I also believe I’m making a difference and having an impact with the work I’m doing for my National Olympic Committee. So what will happen when my placement ends? Hopefully, I can make some of it sustainable and they will continue with the Zeus system, becoming even more efficient than they are now.