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Meet Ely Keita: National Director for ChildFund Zambia

ChildFund International welcomed Ely Keita, national director for ChildFund Zambia, to our staff back in November 2009. Ely brings more than 20 years of international development experience to ChildFund, having worked in several countries with challenging environments.

Before joining ChildFund, Ely worked for World Vision as a National Director in countries such as Mali, Chad and Mauritania. We recently caught up with Ely to get better acquainted:

What most excites you about working for ChildFund International?

My own childhood has influenced my perspective of life, as I did not enjoy so much life and some facilities as a child. I have always longed to make a contribution that [leads to an] easier life for other children. Working for a child-focused, child-centered organization obviously meets my hope and dream.

However, I am more precisely excited about the fact ChildFund takes children on a journey from their tender infanthood to early adulthood by preparing them to become empowered world citizens.

To be more explicit, ChildFund’s work with children’s life stages and how we work to accompany children throughout all of them, gives me a sense of having made a significant impact and contribution in the lives of others.

I am thrilled to be part of an organization that works to impact lives in a more sustainable and positive way.

What have you learned about ChildFund that's pleased or surprised you since you began work?

What pleased me is the conviviality and sense of community focusing on the essential.

In November, I attended the ESA Regional meetings. Around the table, it was clear to me that there is a strong sense of community here, working together to foster a positive and sustainable environment for deprived, excluded and vulnerable children, many whom are on the African continent.

We met and worked as a very flat organization and team, both regional leadership and National Directors together. I commend leadership for that and wish that such style continues, as it allows an enabling environment.

Nothing has really surprised me as such because my past professional experience has been with organizations doing more or less similar business.

However, I wish to stress that I found it developmental for ChildFund to allow the various federations and community structures to deal with Child Sponsorship Management at a community level.

This contributes to the empowerment process and allows communities to fully play their parental role at the start.

Tell us one thing that people may not know about you.

I am a stranger in my own family!

The Administrative clerk who did my birth certificate decided to change my surname from “Goita” to “Keita” on the basis that both are the same from a legend. So, I am the only “Keita” in a “Goita” family, and I always have to prove my brotherhood.

He also took liberty to change the spelling of my first name. Instead of “Elie,” he spelled my name “Ely,” adding to my stranger status at home.