As a Canadian working in Uganda, I find one of the things that really takes some getting used to is the manner in which committee meetings are conducted. Over the past several years I have sat in countless meetings here in various capacities… and I must confess this is not my favourite pass time. However, we all know meetings are necessary in any culture in order to move projects and organisations ahead and can be great for team building. For a variety of reasons, meetings here nearly always take a looooooooooong time:
2) The ‘event-orientation’, as opposed to the western ‘time-orientation’, makes the concept of using the given time ‘efficiently’ less important;
3) The ‘concensus approach’ to decision making, as opposed the the western ‘voting method’, demands more time to get everyone on board before anything can be concluded. However, no one has an excuse to say he/she wasn’t heard. Decisions made this way are owned more readily by all and help to keep the group unity strong.
Yesterday I attended a meeting that was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. We finished around 3:00 p.m. so it was definitely quite the marathon, especially considering there were only two agenda items! We met as the national committee for the Christian Schools Association (Uganda) to plan some of the details of our upcoming national conference in April and discuss which delegates will be able to attend the Africa Roundtable on Christian Education in Johannesburg in August. These are two important and exciting events, so all the time invested in this meeting was well spent.