Meet Kiribakka Tendo, AMP Health's Management Partner in Sierra Leone

Thomas Kisimbi (left), Kiribakka Tendo (middle), and Matt Ramirez (right) spent time together at the Institutionalizting Community Health Conference in South Africa.

Thomas Kisimbi (left), Kiribakka Tendo (middle), and Matt Ramirez (right) spent time together at the Institutionalizting Community Health Conference in South Africa.

Tendo has been living and working in Sierra Leone for about six months. We interviewed him to find out more about himself and the work he is doing. He told us about his inspiration for joining our team in Sierra Leone, his greatest challenges in doing this work, and revealed his past life as a sous chef.  

What is your hometown? Kampala, Uganda

Before joining AMP Health, what was the most unusual or interesting job you had? I was a sous chef at Trio Restaurant during the break between high school and varsity (college). Started out in the now closed Trio Pizza shop and eventually ended up making salads, gourmet sandwiches and milkshakes behind the counter as guests watched.

What interested you in joining AMP Health? My thesis is that Africa’s chief challenge is management. Poor management, to be specific. It’s not that we don’t have resources, skilled personnel, nor vision—it’s that we haven’t recognized the need to proactively and deliberately manage the extraction, design and dispensation of it all. From an impact perspective, what better way to facilitate productivity than facilitating managerial know-how in health? Healthy people = productive people = economic growth.

What are three words you would use to describe Sierra Leone? Hot. Humid. Green.

What have been the most gratifying and challenging aspects of your work thus far? Gratifying: Seeing the spark in people’s eyes when they realize the usefulness of a tool or approach I teach them; unlocking millions in funding that the country almost lost due to lack of technical capacity; and seeing CHWs at work.

Challenging: The lack of things we take for granted in the developed world: electricity, internet, HVAC, cinemas, fast food, roads, etc. and adjusting to the pace of work in the public sector.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Play beach volleyball, eat fresh lobster, design business ideas. 

People would be surprised if they knew: That I’ve built 4 websites in my lifetime—each from scratch.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? “If you wish to improve, be content to appear clueless or stupid in extraneous matters.” – Epictetus

“One of the most powerful things we can do as a human being in our hyper-connected, 24/7 media world is say: “I don’t know.” Or more provocatively, “I don’t care.” Not about everything, of course – just most things. Because most things don’t matter.” – Howard Marks