Tuesday, 13 September 2011

A World Without HR

I doubt if most of the people that I’ve observed so far this week in Niger have heard of HR and, even if they have, it’s not a service that many of them will ever have a need to turn to.

Certainly not those who have cut grass from the edge of the river, and have packaged it up into enormous bundles to sell as animal fodder, sometimes to those whose cattle stroll along the side of the road, occasionally wandering in front of the motorbikes and pedal cycles which weave in and out of the traffic on the rather challenging routes into Niamey city centre.

Certainly not the numerous hawkers who offer you items ranging from low tech hand-made jewellery to hi-tech SIM cards, or the various beggars with a heart-breaking array of disabilities, all of whom seem to have a radar-like ability to spot a visitor from a more wealthy culture. Top marks to all of them for persistence.

With a life expectancy of about 53 years for men and 55 for women (in the UK it’s 78 for men and 82 for women) and a gross national income of just over £200 per head (in the UK it’s 130 times more, at £26,000) clearly Niger is far from the most wealthy country on the planet.

Therefore there’s a great temptation to indulge in the all-too-predictable “Oh, how awful” commentary, focusing on the great disparity between the likes of the UK and a country such as Niger. But perhaps it’s equally pertinent to reflect upon our own circumstances and how they affect our attitudes to others. As a friend remarked to me earlier today, “We do live cosseted lives, don’t we?”

How about taking a break from the online world, where the most passionate debates seem to be about whether HR is afraid of social media, or whether LinkedIn is the best thing since sliced bread, and have a look at what’s happening in the real world?

Open your eyes and have a look around!

1 comment:

  1. But I open my eyes and I see MI to analyse, reports to write and forthcoming legislation to get my head around.
    I open my eyes and I see bills to pay, uniforms to wash and dust on the window ledge.
    I open my eyes and I see my small world, I feel my real world.
    Is that wrong?
    Guess I need help to see more