With New Skills Come New Attitudes

Amina Haidari coaches her civil servant counterpart in Kandahar DAIL.

For civil servants at the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture in Kandahar, learning new skills was an eye-opening experience.

Every morning, Amina Haidary arrives at work at the provincial agriculture office in Kandahar, where she has worked since 2012. Among her 76 colleagues, she is the only woman.

Haidary, who specializes in finance and administration, works alongside civil servants to provide them with on-the-job training and mentoring. She is one of 93 change management specialists who work with USAID’s Capacity Building and Change Management II Program to strengthen the human and institutional capacity of the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, as well as its 20 provincial offices and 50 district agriculture offices.

“I always had to work hard being among people who believe that a woman cannot train a man,’ she said. ‘Even though many wanted me to leave the job, I stayed and showed that a woman can do her job as well as a man.”

Haidary is part of the four-member capacity-building program team in Kandahar.

“My days typically begin with training in computer and internet skills. I simultaneously teach them administrative and finance procedures, basically everything they need to perform their jobs more effectively and provide better service to our farmers,’ she said.

Even small changes can make a huge difference for the civil servants in their day-to-day jobs. Qasam is human resource manager at the Kandahar office. In the past, he said, it was difficult to find and access the files of colleagues who had left.

‘Since Amina showed us how to create folders and make simple databases on our computers, we can now find employees’ data easily and finish our work on time,’ he said.

Haidary provides support and training to civil servants in inventory, accounting, procurement, human resources, and more. ‘They accepted me once they recognized how much these new skills have improved their performance and made their work easier,’ Haidary said.

“Thanks to [Amina’s] dedication and patience, many of [our public employees] have advanced in ways they never would have thought of before”

‘Esmatullah Ghafri, program team leader, Kandahar agriculture office

Esmatullah Ghafri is the program’s team leader in Kandahar. He says Haidary is dedicated, energetic, and always positive.

“She proved her ability and used her skills to make changes and build the capacity of her male counterparts,’ Ghafri said. ‘Thanks to her dedication and patience, many of them have advanced in ways they never would have thought of before.’


This story is made possible with the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the sole responsibility of IESC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.