Opinion

Hello from UNITAR: Skilled Leaders of Afghanistan Trained in Hiroshima

by Annelise Giseburt, UNITAR Hiroshima Office

The UNITAR Hiroshima Office welcomed 32 Afghan trainees to Hiroshima for a workshop of the UNITAR Afghanistan Fellowship Programme, which began on 27 June. The Fellowship, which has been held every year since the office was established, is the UNITAR Hiroshima Office’s longest-running programme.

Alongside the international elements of the programme, raising a self-sufficient community of practitioners in Afghanistan who can continue to teach their peers is an important goal of the Fellowship. Standout participants are invited to return the next year as Coaches, whose role is to support and advise participants throughout the programme. Coaches have the opportunity to continue with the Fellowship through other mentorship roles, all of which give them more experience as leaders taking an active role in the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

Mina Naikmal (26), who works for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Finance and is one of this year’s Coaches, successfully implemented a project she developed thanks to UNITAR’s programme. The project gave women internships with the Ministry, which later onboarded a number of them as staff. The result was that the number of women working in the Ministry’s Intern Audit Directorate increased from 10 to 23 percent. Ms. Naikmal said the skills she learned from UNITAR helped her through every step of her project.

“Visiting Hiroshima gave me hope to rebuild my country, to fight for peace no matter what the circumstances are,” said Ms. Naikmal, who first came to Hiroshima as a Fellowship participant last year. “I am excited and happy to visit this beautiful and peaceful city again, and I wish to adopt Hiroshima’s culture to make a change in my country.”

(Originally published on July 3, 2018)
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