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Internship Reflection: Administration, Social Services And Finance

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During the internship I managed to venture in various departments of Manyame Rural District Council. The departments included administration, social services and finance. During the first week I was introduced to those departments and I was allowed to browse the council code of contact. I was invited to the council board of management meeting and was introduced to the council officials and that’s how I got to grasp the council vision and mission statements. I managed to gain confidence and to be open around working colleagues. Presentations were made during the meetings and usually based on research, local problems were addressed during most of the meetings which includes water, electricity problems and garbage management in the local areas.

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On the inside mostly during the first weeks I was able to grasp a few administrative tasks like managing the registry mail, mail registers and security register. When I was studying business and economics in my second year I did not manage to learn a lot like I did during this internship, I learnt to draw an organogram which is the organization structure which taught me how all the departments in the organization relate to each other in business. On the administrative part I was instructed to do stock taking of the newly acquired assets like printers, computers and recording serial numbers of each and everything.

On other days I had to switch to the other relating programs like finance were I was instructed to do the billing process which is basically calculating amounts due for debtors. I wrote invoices legibly because they didn’t have a modernized and computerized data collectors. Receipting was also part of the learning process where I was required to receipt the land development levy for commercial farms. When I rotated back to administration as per plan instructed by my instructor I was instructed to make a quotation of the goods required and make a comparison over the quantity and quality, Had a chance to learn the relationship of the organization with other stakeholders. Stakeholders are the people and organizations concerned with the operations of the council. These can either affect or be affected by the operations of council. These stakeholders play an important role towards development within the council in terms of service delivery. They include business people, residents, sector ministry departments, government, farmers, councilors and non-governmental organizations, churches among others.

I had the chance to grab the fact that in the organization the business people are the great revenue suppliers of the council through licenses and land development levies charged on them. They also create employment for the locals. MRDC maintains a mutual relationship with the business community in order to bring new developments within the area. To fully meet the needs of these people council has established institutional and business stand at Guzha 141, Murisa, Dema and Beatrice. The organization also ensures that business people participate heavily in budget formulation to enhance transparency and efficiency. While business community plays a significant role in developing the council area MRDC in turn offers land for these people to set up their investments.

On the social services aspect it is vivid that non-governmental organizations are involved in community development. These organizations ensures development and disaster free environment by providing essential facilities like health, education, accommodation, clothing as well as food to local people during times of need. There are a number of NGOs operating in the district e. g. Seke Rural Home Based Care, Hope Orphans Support Services (HOSS), Kunzwana Women’s Association and Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe. It is responsible for the provision of social services which are mainly centered on health and educational facilities. MRDC has successfully managed to set health centers in its area which include Kunaka hospital, Jonasi clinic, Makanyazingwa clinic, Wheelerdale clinic, Charakupa clinic, Marirangwe clinic and Muda clinic. These health centres are aimed at ensuring a healthy and disease free community. In addition to clinics there are also NGOs like Seke Rural Home Based Care that also operate within the community. This has improved convenience to local people who can now access drugs in their localities without incurring heavy transport in seeking such facilities. To perform its duties fully the committee is assisted through recurrent and health grants from the government through the Ministry of Health which are used to purchase drugs and other health materials. Council also obtained assistance from organizations like the Korean Food for the Hungry International who donated towards drilling a borehole at Kunaka hospital and Oxfam who are sponsoring water and Sanitation (WATSAN) programme in the district. The social services committee also ensures that there is education for all by setting up primary and secondary schools in the area in a bid to have an educated generation which fights back poverty. Currently council has 47 primary schools and 19 Secondary schools in the District. Of these 10 are satellite schools in the new resettlement areas. Educational operations are funded by educational grants from government as well as Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) which assist those vulnerable children in society.

Recommendations

Besides the weaknesses of this organization I will first mention its strength especially the ones I have observed because strength is an internal variable that puts the organization at a competitive advantage and the variable can be controlled through operational strategies. MRDC has successfully managed to acquire state of the art equipment, has got a vibrant internal control system, effective Human Resources Management, broadened work force as well as a strong financial base. Geography also put MRDC is agriculture region 2 which facilitated agriculture production hence strengthening MRDC to self-sustain its communities.

On state of the art equipment, MRDC managed to acquire computers, service vehicles, tractor, boardroom furniture and also a PABX system in way to improve the efficiency of the organization. The accounting system, records management system and the internal communication in particular have been greatly improved. The council has also improved its internal control system by resuscitating the auditing department which has not been operating since the year 2007. This comes after recruiting the internal auditor who assesses whether controls are properly implemented and their effectiveness.

MRDC has also capacitated its human resources by recruiting drivers, accounts clerks, cashiers, assistant treasurer and the internal auditor. This has marked great improvements in service provision as the organization cannot be restricted by lack of skilled labor to achieve its objectives. This has improved efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. In addition the organization has also managed to consider students on attachment from various institutions who bring new ideas into the organization thereby improving its competitive advantage. The organization has managed to take students from Midlands State University, Chinhoyi University of Technology as well as Bindura University of Science Education.

Now to mention the weaknesses because weakness is an unfavorable element which negatively impact on the organization’s performance. MRDC has got a manual debtors’ management system, insufficient service equipment and cannot fully implement by-laws. MRDC also does not have a property plant, equipment maintenance policy. Apart from this bureaucracy is inevitable. MRDC has got a manual debtors management system. This compromised on debtors management in the sense that it is prone to errors and mistakes which result in the organization failing to collect all its revenue from various sources thereby failing to spearhead service delivery.

Although, MRDC has managed to acquire sophisticated equipments like graders, tippers and tractors, these remains insufficient in line with the mission statement of effective and efficient service delivery. In this regard the organization needs to greatly improve so that it can satisfy total quality service as one of its objectives.

MRDC is also failing to fully implement policies and by-laws. There are a number of illegal sand miners, illegal vendors and people who cut trees without an approval from the council or any relevant authority. This is causing environmental degradation. The reason why MRDC cannot fully implement these bylaws is because of lack of enough resources like motor vehicles to conduct raid operations or checks around its communities in a bid to implement its by-laws.

MRDC is also greatly affected by bureaucracy. This is so because authority is centralized to the Chief Executive Officer. In this regard, too much time is taken to make decisions. More so some issues are referred to committees for further attention. This means changes in the market cannot be responded to very quickly thus losing its competitiveness to private businesses. The organization is also failing to ensure adequate maintenance and security of its assets around its sub offices and clinics. This is so because there is no procedure for maintenance of assets. Many assets are lying idle without being maintained for the benefit of the organization and some are vulnerable to theft. All this are compromising the achievement of set goals and objectives.

Conclusion

During the internship I had a good learning experience apart from what I learnt from school. I had to venture in a lot of meetings and seminars which was helpful for me. More of the business criteria is learnt through this process because international relations is not inside the box its broad and a lot of things that include accounting, business, sociology and others which we learnt in my first year. Knowledge of these would be of advantage if you are dealing with a local government organization. Lastly it would be nice working under a free environment like this one I was because everyone is eager to learn not minding their age. My communication skills were improved when I got the chance to run the reception. Overall it was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to experience this in a diverse world.

15 July 2020

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