Brenda Siamasuku Haas
Development analyst and social worker
I am Brenda Siamasuku Haas and I live in the city of Freiburg Im Bresgau, Germany. I am married and have two sons. I was born in the Southern part of our beautiful Country, Zambia in a town called Choma which is locally referred as “Choma maanu wabula maanu chakulya,” meaning, “if one has no brains, one cannot succeed!” My father was a politician, who in the first republic served as District Governor in a number of districts as well as Provincial District Governor Coordinator for Southern province.
I guess my interest of working in development projects stems from accompanying my father in various developmental projects as well as political rallies when I was little, which definitely ignited in me the passion for public speaking and community work.
As for my primary and secondary school education, I completed both in Southern Province. Because of the nature of Job that my father had, we constantly shifted to various districts which implied that I couldn’t stay at a particular school for long. I attended primary schools in Mazabuka, Choma and Kalomo districts while I did my secondary school education at St Mary’s girls secondary school in Livingstone and Choma Secondary respectively. I hold a BA (Hons) degree in project planning and management though I originally trained as a journalist.
I was fortunate to work in the public sector (local government) where I started off as a district planner and eventually deputy director of planning for Choma Municipal Council at the age of 21. My job involved not only coordination of projects but also leading district teams in implementing development programmes funded by various donors such as the World Bank, UNICEF, the EU and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ, now: GIZ). The Municipal Council job experience served as a steppingstone for me into the NGO and international organisations fraternity. For me, this was surely an ideal opportunity to advance my ambitions and desires to engage more with the grassroots and help communities through various projects. And so, after 5 yrs of working in the local government, I joined the NGO sector and started working for Society for Women and AIDS in Zambia (SWAAZ) – an NGO which seeks to empower, Advocate & support women & young people to address issues related to HIV/AIDS, gender based violence and sexual reproductive health rights. In this organisation, I started off as a program officer and eventually was elevated to the position of Executive Director.
"Having mainly worked in the development projects mainstream, I have always been intrigued with the renewable energy industry."
After working for SWAAZ for 3 yrs, I progressed to work as National Coordinator and Project Manager for savings-led microfinance programmes in international organisations such as Kindernothilfe (KNH) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), positions which I held for 8 years. I later decided to focus on independent consultancy work mainly in the area of savings-led microfinance using various community based methodologies such as Village banking, Self Help Group Approach (SHG) and Savings Led internal Savings Communities (SILC) with my main clients being Financial Sector Deepening Zambia(FSDZ) as well as Expanded Church Response. I also undertook assignments related to project design, implementation and monitoring, institutional and organisational capacity development of NGOs, mid-term reviews and project evaluations as well as facilitation and development of training content/manuals.
Having mainly worked in the development projects mainstream, I have always been intrigued with the renewable energy industry. As such, in 2010, I co-founded the solar company called Doneka Limited in Zambia with the aim of providing renewable energy solutions for public and private companies. The company operates as Haas International Development Consulting here in Germany with its main focus being on renewable energy project development and consulting services. I provide part-time consulting services which include research and writing project proposals, reports, and gender studies for development projects in Africa, mainly commissioned by GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation).
What I have learnt about moving to Germany is that the language is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to integrating in the country as well as career prospects therefore, as I continue to improve my language skills I am to taking advantage of the available opportunities to make further educational and career advancements.