January 20, 2023

5 Questions with Bulisani Khumalo

Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.

1. Can you tell us about your role?

I joined CHAI in 2012 as a team driver under the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) program. My job involved driving the team to visit health facilities and communities, and doing admin work. When I became a senior driver, my traveling reduced significantly, and I started helping more with office work. During that period, I went to school and graduated with a Diploma in Management Development. After completing the Diploma, I was promoted to Administrative Assistant. In my current role, I mainly focus on payment requests and reconciliations. If a member of staff, for example, has a request for someone to help with meeting attendee registration—I’m your person.

2. What advice would you give to someone who is new to CHAI?

One thing about CHAI is that there is always room for improving yourself. For example, making use of Lingos—a learning and capacity development platform—helps develop a lot of technical skills. I know most people don’t make use of Lingos, but it is a good site for learning new skills and those certificates are useful. Also, don’t enjoy just working and getting paid, but improve yourself by furthering your education and learning new skills beyond the school system.

3. What is it that you find challenging about your work?

When doing reconciliations, sometimes requested paperwork from staff is not provided promptly. The delays influence our relationships with suppliers. Additionally, dealing with different kinds of people can be challenging and requires strong people management skills. On the positive side, accounting was challenging initially, but now I enjoy it.

4. Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing?

I like playing football and having braais (barbecue) where I can meet other people. I like talking to people and helping them overcome challenges. Helping people is part of me. Some say I would make a good preacher, but I hope I don’t get the calling.

5. Are there any lessons you learned from your travels, and do you have a memorable experience?

One time, I was traveling to Plumtree , and I lost a window for my canopy. We decided to look for it a bit late at night. I have never seen that many giant snakes in my life. I was traveling with some ladies who indicated that the area is notorious for snakes on the road at night. From that time, you will never see me traveling late. I have never been so scared in my life.

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