One of our colleagues said something that at first sounded funny but is actually not far from the truth – Halifax Consulting emerged from love.
In 2001 my husband and I decided to settle in Serbia and set up our own business in development work. This was just starting here, and our aid experience was of great value.
Development projects are special, they demand a lot of care and attention to do properly. Each country, each institution, has its own specificities and requires a careful, tailor-made approach, while using all available modern methods and experience from around the world. An all-too-common mistake is to ignore these differences: if you do, projects have limited effect, valuable funds are wasted and animosities are even created between the people involved.
And while there are many, many things that need to change in Serbia and that drive us crazy, the country also has some terrific strengths that we mustn’t ignore. Why bring a foreign expert for a task that can equally well or better be done by a local one? We in Halifax are aware of all the aspects needed for a project to run well and have the desired impact. We place a priority on producing a practical project design embedded in the local situation, and the right combination of international and local experts. This is the only way to build and retain local capacities in both project beneficiaries and consultants.
In 2008 we won an EU-funded project to translate the first 16,000 pages of EU legislation into Serbian. Success in implementing this project led us to expand and successfully develop our translation sector. The same principles apply in this business – work well, respect the clients’ needs, respect your translators, love what you do. There lies success.
Back to the love I mentioned at the beginning, we all love to do a good job, to perform well under any, and usually difficult circumstances. We love being correct, friendly and appreciative of others, and find a lot of professional and personal satisfaction in being so. Commitment – loving what we do – is finally the only guarantee of quality.
These years have been filled with hard work, happy, frustrating, sometimes sad moments, but I think we made a difference by doing this work the way we have done. We have proved to ourselves and others that things can be done in a different way, and we are proud of it.