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Five Questions: Stu Patience

Introduce yourself: who are you, what do you do, and why is it important?

I’m Stu. I’m part of the team at Yayasan Tunas Aksara (, an Indonesian literacy charity based in Jakarta. We’re working so that children in poor communities across Indonesia can have the chance to learn to read, and to love reading. It’s important because literacy – the ability to read with fluency, critical understanding and enjoyment, and to write to communicate and to think – is one of the cornerstones of education, and I think it can change the world.

What’s your most valuable skill?

My ability to learn – and get reasonably good at – lots of other skills, and to bring them together to help people get things done.

Describe a tool, technique or practice that makes a difference to your work.

Apart from reading and taking inspiration wherever I can find it… getting a working understanding accounting and double-entry bookkeeping has been really useful in managing projects, and helping me get a really good handle on what the different things we do actually cost, and how our spending reflects – or doesn’t reflect – our priorities. It’s also been hugely important for developing relationships with new donors, and is surprisingly satisfying.

What advice do you most need to hear?

You are a pain in the backside when you try to do everything – spend more time finding and training people who are better than you at one of the things you tend to hold onto, and let them go.

Suggest an endearing and humorous question for question number five – and answer it.

Today I like “Which character from a children’s book or TV show would you choose to be?” – I’d be Dangermouse, who is spectacular … with a side order of the Enormous (driverless) Crocodile.

One last thing – suggest one or two people you know whose answers you’d like to read, and who you think would enjoy answering.

They’ll be receiving an email from me shortly…

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...