Focus on Fellows
Dr. Abdullah Fahim
Medical Director, French Medical Institute for Children
Afghan Fellow - 2016
“Teams need to accept diversity. If we can’t accept diversity in a team, how can we accept it in our country? We can’t succeed if we don’t do so,” said Dr. Abdullah Fahim, Medical Director of the French Medical Institute for Children and UNITAR Afghanistan Fellowship Programme Fellow.
AFP Fellows, representing various sectors, work in teams to develop project proposals to address organizational and/or community needs. Dr. Fahim’s group’s project is to create a sustainable, village-level agricultural supply shop that can provide farmers with hybrid seeds, fertilizer, and tools. More than just providing supplies, the shop would also educate farmers on how to best use the products; the project is also gender conscious and outlines plans for how women can participate as well. If farmers grow a large crop, they can then sell the surplus, growing the local economy.
As one would expect in a training on leadership, communication, and teamwork, Dr. Fahim is conscious of the dynamics in his group. Although he has the most work experience out of the team members, Dr. Fahim has struck a balance between leadership and support, and he says other members aren’t afraid to critique his ideas. The team has a free atmosphere, and although conflict still exists, it can be overcome.
While visiting Hiroshima for AFP’s Workshop III, Dr. Fahim was struck by a similar cooperative attitude from the people of Hiroshima, an attitude which helped them reconstruct their city. Dr. Fahim said that one of the most positive aspects of the programme overall is the opportunity to experience Hiroshima firsthand.
The programme’s learning-by-doing methodology has also positively impacted Dr. Fahim; he noted that participatory practical exercises are key to internalizing and utilizing what Fellows learn. He said the training will make his work style more results-oriented and that he “will move with more clarity and strength through distinguishing needs rather than wants, which will improve results and increase customers and staff satisfaction.”
Dr. Fahim said that thanks to UNITAR’s programme, he “better understands his environment.”
In his own work as medical director of the French Medical Institute for Children, Dr. Fahim has utilized what he learned about evidence-based planning and activities in UNITAR’s training. He conducted a patient satisfaction survey, analyzed the data, and has plans to effectively address the concerns that were raised therein.