For helping a new generation of project leaders in Angola deliver social impact
When Alcides Cabral began forming the PMI Angola Chapter, he saw an opportunity to nurture project leaders—a new cohort of changemakers who could help address the country's most critical needs. And over the next dozen years, he and his fellow chapter members have done just that.
"We carried out concrete projects that addressed specific issues: hunger, lack of water, lack of clothing, lack of medical and medication assistance," says Cabral. "For these types of projects, the impacts are visible, and the importance is vital."
The chapter's efforts took on a new urgency during the pandemic. In a country with limited clean water, for example, it was often a challenge to ensure access to hand-washing aimed at helping stop the spread of the virus. So Cabral and other chapter volunteers came together to pilot a community washbasin project. "Inspiration was born out of necessity," he says.
Innovative thinking and social connections helped fill the gaps created by limited resources. Cabral's friend at a refinery supplied empty oil drums that the team converted into public sinks. And within months, they had created more than 90 washing stations in places like markets, bus and taxi stops, and hospital entrances. Ultimately, the number of community wash stations hit nearly 500.
Cabral says the chapter's work shows what's possible for Angola—and other developing countries—when teams harness the power of projects.
"We can transform lives and improve our ability to respond to problems," he says. "We can dream, believe and transform into a more dignified reality."
Q&A: Alcides Cabral on agility, resilience and not letting fear get in the way
How are young people changing the world of projects?
With their courage and agility and by being bold and not afraid to fail.
What are the most important skills for the next generation of project leaders?
Resilience, adaptability and focus.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Believe. Go ahead and make it happen—one step at a time. Create synergies and don’t let fear or apprehension take over.
Hear Alcides Cabral discuss the biggest challenge in his career.
The biggest challenge was when I accepted to work in the public sector in Angola. It was 2011, and I work to Angola Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Technology. I was invited to launch a department of technological innovation. I had to create a team with 15 to 20 young people presently training at universities. And we need to create a solution, a technological solution, to respond to a specific issue in local administration. For that, we autonomized a process, and just to have an idea, we produce results in one minute.
We get the young people from universities, we create a team, we train the team, and we create a pilot, and we solve a specific solution for a local administration. Because of that I think that was a very big challenge, and the way that we faced that and we create solution and change the way that specific municipality attend the citizens was very important for me. And [it] was a big experience and challenge for me as [a] manager. Because I need to train my leadership, my way of management—everything I need to train and develop myself.