Focus on Fellows
Gender Adviser, Afghanistan University Support Workforce Development Program (USWDP)
Afghan Fellow - 2012; Coach - 2013; ARP - 2014; Mentor - 2015, 2016
In her role as a mentor and leader, Friba Quraishi counts guiding a group of Fellows as they develop a group project as a personal achievement; facilitating a group of people with disparate opinions isn’t always easy.
However, Friba knows her work is well worth it, as Fellows gain real confidence in what they learn and their abilities through the UNITAR Afghanistan Fellowship Programme’s blend of activities and group work. For some Fellows, the programme involves their first trip outside Afghanistan, and their experiences and study in Hiroshima leave a lasting impression.
Friba was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1985 and graduated with a BA from the Kabul University Department of English. She currently works as a gender adviser for the University Support Workforce Development Program, which is run by USWDP and USAID.
After participating in the UNITAR Afghanistan Fellowship Programme as a Fellow in 2012, Friba returned as a Coach and Afghan Resource Person in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In 2015 she served as a Mentor for the first cycle of the UNITAR South Sudan Fellowship Programme, and she participated as a panel member assigned to critique the gender focus of Fellows’ projects during the cycle’s final workshop.
When she was a Fellow, Friba worked on a project on gender mainstreaming for the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation. The project created a gender working group and network comprising of representatives from various Ministry projects, which worked to improve gender mainstreaming at the project and beneficiary level.
Friba said she wanted to participate in the programme because it “focuses on developing Fellows’ capacities and sharpening their skills; it provides a forum to exchange views and experiences amongst Fellows, in order to learn about each other’s challenges and successes.”
After participating in the programme as a Fellow and in various mentor positions, Friba has noticed that participants’ perception and outlook positively change, and a change in their behaviour follows. After workshops, Fellows try to put into practice what they learned. For example, after learning about teamwork, Fellows working together in a group will divide up tasks among the group members and work toward the group’s main goal. Similarly, Friba feels the DiSC test, which gives Fellows a chance to reflect on their workstyles and personality, as well as those of their team members, was one of the most useful activities of the programme.
Friba gained both personal and professional development, such as time management and networking and coordinating skills, through her mentor and leadership roles with UNITAR. She commented that she learns something new every cycle and is always working with diverse teams. Continually inspired by the people of Hiroshima, Friba considers how she can adapt lessons she learns in Japan to Afghanistan.