Leading by Example: Health Builders Operational Staff Help Ensure Well-Run Organizations

As a nonprofit organization, it is important that Health Builders is transparent and good stewards of our donor’s dollars. And as unexciting as Best Accounting Principles may sound, they are an incredibly important part of our organization, ensuring that it is efficient and effective. We preach what we practice, helping the health centers we serve establish similar protocols and processes.

Recently, we had the opportunity to chat with one of the key staff members who helps make Health Builders such a success by managing our organizational finances well, and then sharing his expertise with rural health centers through our mentoring program. Elie Hakizimana is our Accountant, and here is what he had to share about his role.

“I am a Professional Accountant, a Member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). I have a Masters Degree in Accounting and a Bachelor of Accounting Science both from National University of Rwanda. At Health Builders, I help prepare, monitor, and control the budget and annual audits, and reconcile and finalize monthly financials.”

Elie helps implement the same accounting practices in the health centers in rural Rwanda.

“During our mentorship we help health centers with Public Finance Management (PFM). We sit together with the finance staff at the health center and make sure that we cover the key management metrics, such as procurement, income and expenditures management, bank and cash management, budget management, tax compliances, and the creation of regular financial reports.”

By mentoring and coaching the local health center staff, Health Builders can help them avoid some common problems in planning and financial management. Without protocols and systems in place, health centers may face long outstanding payables, delays in the ability to make purchases of goods or services, wrong calculations of taxes, and misallocation of medical supplies. Elie tells us:

“To solve these issues, we meet in the field with health center staff to provide immediate support and guidance in correcting the identified problems. We sit together and provide coaching through practical resolution and clearance of identified reconciliation issues. We provide training in using the IFMIS software which is new to Accountants at health centers. Once the systems are in place, we keep monitoring and working together by sharing issues and providing support remotely.”

Elie’s work at Health Builders has helped him grow professionally and he has had many rewarding moments, as well as some lessons learned, not the least of which was the differing Rwanda weather!

“From my previous roles, I was not familiar with field visits and used to spend my time working at the office. In supporting Health facilities, I visited Health Centers in Nyabihu District, which is near volcanoes and with temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. I was familiar with working in Kigali with mostly sunny seasons and didn’t travel with the appropriate clothes!"

Thanks so much to Elie and the Health Builders staff for all you do to ensure that not only does our organization run as a well-oiled machine, but that you share your expertise and knowledge with the health centers we serve!