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Mango members on Placement: Aderemi Sotunbo in Sweden with the Life and Peace Institute

Aderemi Sotunbo is a seasoned Mango register member and has previously been placed by us with Save the Children in the DRC. He recently caught up with us to let us know how he is enjoying his most recent placement as Director of Finance and Administration for the Life and Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. Aderemi tells us how he has already been on a whirlwind tour of East Africa since he started three months ago, and how he’s been keeping very busy in his new role.

This July I started my role as Director of Finance and Administration for Life and Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden. I feel like this role came at the perfect time! The confirmation of my appointment actually came on my birthday. Over my last few roles I have spent a great deal of time based in field locations, so I was ready to make the change to an HQ role.

I’m mainly responsible for overseeing most operations including logistics, security, administration, HR, finance, and helping to manage country offices, so I certainly have my hands full! Indeed, I have already spent a great deal of time visiting our field offices in Nairobi and Addis Ababa. I’m currently on my second field visit to Nairobi since I joined three months ago. The field visits have helped me gain a greater understanding of how the programmes work and how the team on the field locations operate. I have been lucky enough to have had one-to-one meetings with all the field finance staff, which has been a great opportunity to touch base. Since I’ve joined I’ve also been implementing Mango’s health check, embedding and rolling out Mango’s recommendations across the organisations. During my first six months I hope to improve Life & Peace Institute’s systems and compliance, as well as to implement additional controls. I’ve been lucky that the team at Life & Peace Institute are ready and willing to embrace change. In many ways I also act as a strategic thought partner of the ED/CEO.

So far, I’m enjoying my role here big time! The team here are fantastic, and I feel like my views and contributions are respected. I feel like the role is a perfect fit; the transition from my previous role as Internal Controller with Save the Children to this new opportunity has been smooth, as previously I covered all the functions and had a strong knowledge of different functions to make sound recommendations. However, coming from a big organisation like Save the Children, it has taken some adapting to work in a smaller organisation such as Life and Peace Institute. Joining any new organisation involves a great deal of adapting and learning; whilst you may be keen on changing and improving best practices, some practices are part of the DNA of the organisation and you need to adapt yourself to these. After all, the only constant thing in the NGO sector is change.

As part of my personal leadership development agenda to prepare myself for the leadership challenges ahead, I am taking a Leadership Development Programme in IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain. To be ahead of your game, you need to constantly acquire knowledge.

Life and Peace Institute (LPI) are an ecumenical organisation based in Sweden that have hubs around Africa. The LPI is a growing organisation that works on conflict resolution in East, Central and Horn of Africa. Personally, there has been a lot to learn, as I have never worked in a peace-building organisation – this has been one of the benefits of the initial visits. There have been some nuances in terms of financial management as our programme is more mono-thematic (despite our sub-thematic areas).

I’m enjoying living here in Sweden. It’s a simple way of life, and is a very eco-friendly country with a very strong academic community in Uppsala town. I have been enjoying taking time to walk and bike around as I like to be active. Uppsala is a relatively small town, but with a high standard of infrastructure. I’m also about to start learning Swedish!

I have come into contact with many different recruitment services but Mango has made the biggest impact on me and has accompanied me throughout my career. Mango’s recruitment service has a great reputation within the industry. Their recruitment process is tough and thorough, even from the admission process – once you are a register member you know you are worth the onions!

For more information about how to become a Mango Member please click here