Melissa Muscio (Malaysia)

Melissa Muscio (eHomemakers, Malaysia): Melissa graduated from Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service with a BS in Foreign Service, and a concentration in International Relations, Law and Organization. She then worked as an account executive at a high-tech public relations agency in San Francisco and as an English teacher for Centro Panamericano de Idiomas in Costa Rica. Melissa also worked as a legislative assistant, and as a marketing and public relations manager for the trade association United Telecom Council (UTC) in Washington, DC. At the time of her fellowship, Melissa was studying for a Master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy at the Fletcher School, where she focused on human security and development, particularly in predominantly Muslim regions of the world. She speaks French, Spanish and Turkish.

Going Ten Miles Deep Focus.

14 Aug

“Do you want to be ten miles wide, but only one inch deep? No! Even if you would only be one inch wide but ten miles deep, it would be better.”

These were there the words of the business workshop trainer last week.

I think this is a common problem for many organizations who manage to spread their mission so wide that everything fits it and their area of focus becomes blurred. While the rest of the participants came from the corporate world and they didn’t initially understand the idea of a social enterprise, by discussing out loud her hopes for the organization, Ching Ching earned a lot of supporters for eHomemakers. She spoke with such enthusiasm and emotion that she became the poster child of the entire workshop. Other groups who were struggling with their own direction suddenly put their own worries aside and wanted to help her. They’re even chipping in to help kick-start eHomemakers’ fundraising.

The workshop played in beautifully with what I have been doing all summer. Particularly over the last several weeks, I have been helping eHomemakers to get at the heart of its mission and its value proposition. What is eHomemakers really trying to accomplish? Are we hoping to do anything that might benefit any homemaker? Or, might we better serve our members by focusing our energies on those that really need help the most – the disabled and disadvantaged?

Refining the mission and breaking down our strategic objectives into activities that fit within our capabilities is a difficult, but interesting process. I am enjoying playing devil’s advocate with Ching Ching – “Ok, you want to do this, but why?” “Is that really important to you?” “How do you think we can accomplish that?” “Can you be more specific?”

It is my last week here. I’ve done a lot of office work, thought a lot about “institutional strengthening” and bounced a lot of ideas off of people. I’ve enjoyed discussing questions with my colleagues about how eHomemakers can be even more effective in reaching out to women who want to improve their lives and live in dignity.

In the end, that is what it is all about. We may be brainstorming about what type of paint to use on a basket, or what type of computer system is best for telecommuting, but the end goal always comes back to the women.

Economic empowerment means a woman will know how to earn enough money to feed her family; it means she’ll be able to make informed decisions about how she earns and spends; it means she won’t feel trapped in her life just because she doesn’t have the resources to survive. It means dignity.

Women’s empowerment through eHomemakers means that the women we touch will have the self-confidence to hold their heads up and teach their children to do the same. We have seen how helping one woman doesn’t just affect her: it touches her children, her siblings, her parents and her neighbors. With a strategic vision, the work of eHomakers will send ripples through society with the potential to move the entire country forward.

Posted By Melissa Muscio (Malaysia)

Posted Aug 14th, 2006

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