Henock Tesfa Keno is administration/finance manager, CVT Ethiopia.
When it comes to helping people, I believe everyone has something to bring to the table. Here at CVT Ethiopia, we work with people from many different backgrounds, who face many difficult issues. Their circumstances are challenging, and they have been through many difficulties. I am a finance person, but this work is very rewarding to me. I see the great impact everyone at CVT has on the lives of those who have survived torture and war atrocities.
I am from the Oromia region originally, and I went to Jimma University, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Finance with a specialty in Accounting. I worked with several NGOs before coming to CVT. These NGOs were in the health care system, and as I moved forward in my career, I wanted to further diversify the kinds of health care organizations where I had experience. I was interested in working with an organization that served refugees, so when I saw an open position at CVT, I applied for it. I had read CVT’s blog and website, so I knew that the care center was based in northern Ethiopia, serving Eritrean clients living in the refugee camps there. I was interested in the focus on trauma rehabilitation.
I am in charge of the finance and administration of the organization in Addis. I oversee the primary financial functions and ensure that all transactions are appropriate and timely. I also participate in regular meetings with partners and government agencies and represent CVT at any level. It’s my responsibility to respond to the needs for finance-related support or information, and I review all transactions from the field to make sure they are adequate and accurate.
I meet with many organizations; for example there is a monthly meeting on refugee protection with UNHCR. At this meeting, organizations have discussions about concerns and give presentations on their activities. Maki Katoh, country director for CVT Ethiopia, recently made a presentation about CVT’s work in one of these meetings, and she had a very warm reception. I work closely with Maki to ensure we have everything that is necessary to run smoothly.
The most important thing about my work is ensuring the organization is always operating within the guidelines and regulations of the government. I make sure we stay within guidelines on our work with partners and donors and with all logistics. For example, we are involved in the process for pre-approvals for any visitors to CVT and the refugee camps, and I make sure all the accommodations for visitors are made.
As another example, I work closely with ARRA, the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, who are responsible for managing the refugee program for the country. I connect with them when I need pass permits for visitors, and they work with our proposals. I oversee to make sure that necessary arrangements are made for all CVT headquarters and ex patriate staff when they travel, and ensure they are picked up and have the local phones and materials they need.
For ex patriate staff who stay on the ground, there are some challenges with getting their work/residence permits to ensure their legal status and presence in the country. They need permits, and in those cases I work with the appropriate government agencies and ensure they understand and agree with what we are doing.
As I said, everyone has something to bring to the table at CVT. We all ensure we meet our purpose. My favorite part of my job is all my work on the financial side. As a finance person, I know how important it is that everything is clear and accurate. Our report to the ministry ensures we have our license to work in the country; it ensures our presence in the country is sustainable. This is why we have to make sure our finances are in compliance.
And I find this work rewarding when I hear the stories from staff about clients mentioning the good work of CVT. When I’ve gone to Mai Tsebri, CVT’s center next to the refugee camps, I’ve had the chance to see what it’s like to provide the care to our clients. We work with them from intake and assessment through the counseling cycle, and then we follow up to make sure clients get the services they need. It’s rewarding when I hear from my colleagues that clients are getting better. I feel like we’re actually making great progress in these areas, and that we’re meeting our purpose.
The work we do in the country is very important. CVT has been the organization which provides comprehensive trauma counseling in the country. No one is comprehensive the way we are. CVT is of great value, and there is great appreciation for our work.
CVT’s work with Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia is funded by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.