After graduating from AIM in 2018, I was planning to continue my PhD at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos. I was already admitted for the PhD program in Development Studies at the College of Public Affairs and Development (CPAf-UPLB).  However, as I had a “47 a2/special Non-Immigration Visa” during my studies at AIM, UPLB required my visa to be converted into a student visa. The conversion process was going to take some time and I would have missed the semester if I waited for the process to finish. Therefore, I decided to defer my PhD at UPLB.

At the same time, I had two job offers from two different DAI-USAID funded projects in Afghanistan. One was for a Senior Portfolio Manager for the “Afghan-High Value Crops” project, and the other as Business Service Mentor for the “Promote/Women in Economy” project. The latter is the largest USAID funded project in Afghanistan.  For good reasons, I accepted this offer and started working as Business Service Mentor on February 5, 2019, just a few days after I returned back to my country, Afghanistan.

“Promote/Women in Economy (WIE) aims to provide support to women-owned businesses, or businesses that have at least 10% female workforce, to help them increase their revenues.  In the western region of Afghanistan, DAI hired four (4) Business Service Mentors, including me (the 3 other mentors have their Master’s degree in Business and Commerce from India).  As Business Service Mentors, we were tasked to provide mentorship to 18 Business Development Advisors that were hired to professionalize the businesses in Herat Province.

Although my contract with DAI-Promote/WIE was short term (six months only), it was a great opportunity for me to put into practice the advanced business knowledge that I gained from AIM.  All my colleagues and the businesses we helped were not even familiar with the concept of “triple bottom line”.  I am glad that I was able to share this knowledge with them.  I am grateful to AIM for providing me with the right training.

On July 1, 2019, I joined the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) as Information, Counselling, and Legal Assistance/ICLA Program/Project Manager.  The Norwegian Refugee Council is an independent humanitarian organization helping people who were forced to flee. We work in crisis situations across 31 countries, where we help save lives and rebuild futures. ( )

In my current role with NRC, I manage a team of about 40 individuals (Coordinators, officers, assistants) under ICLA core competency in Herat, Nimroz and Badghis Provinces in Afghanistan.  We help the IDPs, Deportees, and Returnees by providing them with Information, Counselling, and Legal Assistance. This is the biggest team I have ever managed in my whole 7-year career.  Again, thanks to AIM for preparing me to lead large and complex teams.

I truly owe AIM a debt of gratitude for preparing me to take on bigger roles in Leading, Inspiring, and Transforming my country.


words by Farhad Kabiri, MDM 2018

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