Naila Sarwari*, a young, dedicated intern, completed her Bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2003. Unfortunately, due to a lack of experience and professional communications skills, she was not able to find a job after her graduation.
Then in August, 2015 Naila joined the USAID Promote: Women in Government (WIG) project’s pilot internship program. Although a little apprehensive about entering the job market without experience, she decided to see how far she could advance in the application process.
She prepared her CV according to the techniques she learned in her trainings and applied for the position of Program Assistant at a local non-governmental organization. To her surprise, she was shortlisted for a written test. Upon passing the written test, she was called for an interview. Two weeks after the interview, she received a call from the organization confirming that she had successfully passed the interview process.
Naila was surprised to receive a job offer for the position of Program Assistant. But she was then faced with a tough decision: take a job she didn’t really feel confident in, or complete her internship program to set her sights on a higher goal – a job in the Afghan civil service.
“In the end I decided to continue my training with the Promote: Women in Government internship program,” she said. “I want to learn further from this internship program to enhance my skills for better job opportunities in the future.”
Receiving a job offer built her confidence and also showed her something she never dreamed would be possible in Afghanistan: that a woman can chose her own career path. She was pleasantly surprised and proud to see that she indeed possessed the necessary job qualifications.
USAID’s WIG program is helping Afghan women obtain key roles in the Afghan government. It is a hands-on internship program for female university and high school graduates interested in working for the Afghan government at the national and sub-national levels.
Naila believes that this job offer indicates how much her professional skills have grown through the internship training program, especially compared to her skill level immediately after graduation. Naila affirms that the knowledge she developed during the internship training helped her succeed in the exam and the interview process.
This success has motivated her to continue her training to gain practical experience working in a government ministry.
Naila believes her commitment to the internship program will not only continue to build her skills, but will also result in employment opportunities within the government.
With boosted confidence and an expanding skill set, her future employment prospects in the civil service are more tangible now than ever before.
*Name changed for security reasons