Aryan Yaba (AY) from Iraq and Bahja Said Hassan (BSH) from Somalia have just returned from Doha, where they took part in Module 1 of the Executive Programmes in Conflict and Fragility Management (DPP-CFM) and Development Policies and Practices (DPP-MENA). They tell us about their backgrounds, their motivations and their first impressions of the programmes.
AY: I am originally from the Kurdistan region of Iraq and currently work at the Center for Civilians in Conflict as a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) advisor on several programmes worldwide, including Yemen, East Africa, and Ukraine. I have gained a wealth of experience in my previous work with organisations such as Mercy Corps, UNDP, and Mission East, as well as in independent consultancy.
BSH: I was born and raised in Somalia. My training and professional experience focus on human rights, in particular women’s and children’s rights. In recent years, I have worked for various organisations, including government institutions, with different capacities. I am currently the coordinator of gender equality and gender-based violence (GBV) programmes at Save the Children’s international office in Somalia.
AY: There were so many reasons why I decided to apply! Recently, I saw a pressing need to broaden my knowledge in areas related to conflict and fragility, as well as the various approaches states employ in policy-making. I am convinced that acquiring a deeper understanding of these subjects will enhance my professional capabilities and contribute significantly to my effectiveness in my current role. As my work extends beyond Iraq into many countries, I was also looking forward to exchanging and sharing experiences with people working in other contexts.
BSH: I found that this programme offered a range of courses that matched my training needs to enable me to progress at this stage of my career. In particular, I want to develop my ability to conduct professional research and improve my writing skills. After the training, I would like to be an independent analyst and use my research to highlight the shortcomings of gender policies and practices in Somalia.
AY: The scholarship was certainly one of the key factors that motivated me to apply for this programme. The flexibility it offers and the possibility of continuing my professional responsibilities while pursuing my studies were also important to me. In addition, one of my ambitions was to research topics such as conflict, environmental issues, and population displacement. Joining the CFM programme has given me the invaluable opportunity to launch my first independent research, which I greatly appreciate and look forward to developing further as a professional throughout my time at CFM.
BSH: Without the QS scholarship, I would not have been able to participate in such a high-quality training programme and take the steps that will enable me to develop further my passion for development issues and the way gender shapes human relationships. I also love travelling, exploring different cultures, and tasting other foods. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to stay in Doha to visit prestigious institutions such as the Qatar National Library, whose architecture so subtly blends tradition and the modern world. And I am honoured to be in close contact with such a diverse group of participants!
AY: My experience so far has been highly positive. I appreciate the fact that, besides their vast experience as academics, the lecturers have extensive practical experience in various contexts, particularly in peacebuilding, mediation, conflict resolution, and research. I appreciate the way they seamlessly link theoretical concepts to concrete real-world examples, making the learning experience insightful and highly relevant.
BSH: The programme is well organised and combines practical skills with theory. We had fascinating lecturers who approached the various topics in a simple and understandable way, with concrete examples from the region. I particularly appreciated the methodology courses and the personal coaching sessions, which helped me to clarify my research questions and objectives. At this stage of my training, this is a unique and very enriching experience that will strongly influence my career and life path.