Updated: Jun 12, 2018
Author: Ahmed Pasha
Duty station: Baghdad
Job role: Project Manager
My typical day at Mercy Hands
A typical 8 hour working day is simply loaded, intense, educational and challenging. Most of the work is a team effort, and the most joy I get on a daily basis is learning. The Mercy Hands staff are very helpful. Being the youngest Project Manager at Mercy Hands, I always consult with and ask for advice and feedback from other national and international employees, some of who have been working in this field for 5-10 years. Mercy Hands has a great balance between experience and youth. Sometimes, to make sure our beneficiaries receive the help they need, we work after hours or during weekends. Humanitarian work is a tough field and working long hours is something that we are familiar with. I love my work, my position and all the difficulties that comes with it. There are a lot of challenges, but challenges exists in every job. The important thing is to give it all I have and do the best I can.
What inspires me?
“A humanitarian means helping people who are suffering and saving lives any time any place in the world and helping them on the basis of need, without discrimination.”
I read this quote a 8 years ago in a local newspaper when I was in high school, It started as an admiration that turned into a career, and a lifestyle. I’m happy to have a job that reflects my values and what I believe in. I’m lucky to be working in peace and conflict resolution — this requires integrity, independence and neutrality. I personally believe that working in the humanitarian field means to have human values and an understanding of all human situations that we share, regardless of race , ethnicity, religion and social status. I always loved the idea of being part of a professional NGO that treats people with respect and dignity. Working in this field allows me to hear so many personal stories of what people need and how their lives have changed, which is what I love. This helps me connect with them on a personal level, which will hopefully prepare me to help others in the future, at home in Iraq or any other region in the world. Telling individual stories highlighting community members is one of my passions. It’s always great to hear children expressing their hope for a better future. I feel proud that my career allows me to bring inspiration to other people.
The challenges I face
As a Project Manager, learning how to manage time and the expectations of both colleagues, donors, beneficiaries and partners can be difficult. Facing new challenges in the office and in field on a daily basis can be particularly challenging aspects of my job. Still, a lot of those challenges can be dealt with in the future by learning from experience! You never know what to expect in this role, but you will develop the skills necessary to deal with new challenges that come your way.
My most memorable day at Mercy Hands
I have worked on 8 Mercy Hands projects in the past 2 years and I have visited and worked in 8 different provinces during this time. I can name at least 15 moments that made me feel proud and happy to pursue this work.
On the current project I am managing in Tikrit, 'Providing Leadership and Life skills for Adolescents and Youth (PLLAY)', Mercy Hands has a youth center for adolescents and youth that helps hundreds of young people in Tikrit, to reach their potentials and goals by a series of sessions, activities, trips and campaigns. The sessions that we provide gets updated every 2 months. We focuses on: English, Computers, Photography, Fashion Design, Art and Sports.
One of the moments that I found rewarding is this following success story that happened earlier this year. I am going to protect the name of our beneficiary as per his request: A.G (18 years old) registered for PLLAY’s 2nd cycle back in February 2018. A.G was very active in the photography sessions that are provided on the PLLAY project. He was always the first to arrive and last to leave the session. A.G used his own phone to shoot scenes and take pictures. Now, near the end of the sessions, A.G sent the PLLAY staff this picture (below), which demonstrate evolvement and improved skills.
PLLAY staff helped A.G enter a photography content hosted by a publishing house in Tikrit. The picture won a beginners level contest, and beat over 40 other contestants. The award allowed him to get exposure and he even did a few interviews with local newspapers in Tikrit. A.G ultimate dream is to become a well-known photographer and Mercy Hands will be on his side to achieve this goal among the goals of other youth like him!