We spoke to Abdullah Al-Fuad, a participant in the CONTEXT Core Skills Programme of 2016, and later returning for Management & Leadership in 2017.
Fuad was inspired to work in humanitarian response by his experiences during childhood. Sirajganj, his town of birth, lay aside the banks of the Jamuna River, and was prone to disasters. Fuad’s family had a home next to the river, and as year passed by he saw the erosion that the waters caused, and the lands and possessions that were claimed by the swelling banks. Fuad grew up conscious of a responsibility for helping his fellow citizens, but found that the Bangladeshi education system didn’t offer clear avenues for him to pursue this.
Fuad went on to study criminology, still hoping to find a way in to the non-profit sector. His break came with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust – this was his start with NGOs, and he found an avenue into projects on gender-based violence. This soon brought another opportunity, working in research and documentation for disaster management with the National Development Programme. It’s here that Fuad’s supervisor noticed Fuad’s keen interest in disaster response, and recommended that he take the CONTEXT Programme.
Fuad found the course to be fascinating, and academically fulfilling. He emphasises the comprehensiveness of the course, which delivers an essential overview of humanitarian response in just 8 working days. This was a welcome opportunity to quickly expand his capacity; he mentions that master’s courses on the subject take at least two years.
When he joined the CONTEXT Programme, he learned not only academic knowledge, but also found an opportunity to connect with leading humanitarian response organisations, National, and International. Course participants were able to expand their contact network, and Fuad emphasises . Opportunities which were previously unknown became more apparent, and this facilitated career advancement for the ambitious. Fuad cites the Core Skills Programme for inspiring him with the confidence to work for a national organisation, covering all 64 districts of Bangladesh. He almost doubled his salary with this move, and is now heavily involved in proposal development, constantly learning more skills and pushing himself beyond his comfort zone.
The CONTEXT Programme has been useful in providing this extra confidence. The techniques he learned are featuring heavily in his work, and Fuad credits the role that engaging in capacity building has had in improving his self-belief; his next goal is the found his own organisation, and each day he seeks to move closer to this. Here he will pour his dreams, creativity, and experience into serving the people of Bangladesh.