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Teamwork, Technology, and Triumph: A Look Inside Jembi's Strategic Retreat

We at Jembi are committed to improving public health through innovative technology. Although we knew this intellectually, after our retreat this year, the grand vision of the next few years is crystal clear.

Jembi’s Strategic Retreat

Early in January, most of Jembi descended on the Monkey Valley resort in Noordhoek, Cape Town, for our annual strategic retreat.

The purpose was to align all the limbs of Jembi towards a single purpose, to help us all walk a single path through 2024 and beyond. Throughout the week, we shared knowledge across teams, discussed and debated our strategy and operational plans, and spent many moments laughing.

As a remote-centric hybrid company, these events present an opportunity to connect with our team members, both old and new. Putting faces to names and voices and moving from an icon on Zoom to a person shaking your hand. For what we have planned, a sense of camaraderie and a unified purpose are essential. Without it, our goals would be so much harder to achieve.

Any one of our multidisciplinary teams could be spread across multiple South African provinces or even countries. And although many things are possible online, with our incredible tools for sharing ideas, collaborating, and staying in sync, there is nothing quite like being in the same room.

Gathering around breakfast to talk about potty training mishaps or laughing over lunch envy and choosing the wrong meal. Both the people we work with and the people we serve become that bit more human and understandable.

Then there was that fateful Thursday, when Team Umoja (Unity) fell to the combined might of Team African Blaze's under the frosty leadership of our fervent FIHR man, Richard. But it was Gloria who got us screaming our hastily written war cries, untangling our human knots, and solving tyre puzzles under the dazzling African sun. When done well, as they were, these challenges are true moments of synergy.

Lastly, it was eye-opening and inspiring, as someone who works across many teams, meeting everyone and seeing how each person’s work adds to the larger whole. Also, as the person tasked with sharing our impact stories with the wider world, seeing everything start to weave together this year is truly inspiring.

Some of the bravest Jembians hiked to the top of Chapman's Peak
Some of the bravest Jembians hiked to the top of Chapman's Peak

2024 is going to be an exciting year for Jembi

We have so many diverse projects across so many countries and now multiple continents that it can be easy to lose track of the interconnections. This week gave me that much-needed perspective to step back and see the much larger picture.

It was also an opportunity for Wayne Naidoo, our technology director, and Chris Seebregts, our CEO, to share their vision and strategy for the next few years.

The Road Ahead

We learned which countries are essential for our success and how success in one will lead to success in another. Building momentum and strengthening the OpenHIM platform every step of the way.

And how sharing these stories with the wider community is essential. We’re doing good work and having an important impact, and it needs to be shared. Wayne and Chris showed how OpenHIM fits in the health ecosystem and how we have proven it can be used to positively impact the lives of millions across Africa and now Southeast Asia as well.

Overall, the retreat was a massive success, and I believe everyone left with a renewed sense of purpose and a clear picture of what needed to be done.

As I said before, this year is going to be an exciting one for Jembi. The OpenHIM platform is going to grow and impact more and more people around the world. From centralising HIV data in Ethiopia’s to helping solve malnutrition in Madagascar to learning and collaborating with our advanced partners in Indonesia.

It’s going to be a very exciting year, indeed.



Sphere on Spiral Stairs


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