I first learned about the International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance course for aid workers and professional humanitarian actors in 2006. It seemed, on paper, as if the IDHA was especially designed for a person like myself: working in the developing world and searching to bring additional knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to their home communities. That would turn out to be true.
I attended IDHA 23, held in Nairobi in November 2007, on a scholarship. That generosity has enabled me to pass on to my own people – and others throughout the region – a skillset and way of looking at problems resulting in sustainable solutions. The course changed my whole conception of what it means to be a professional humanitarian aid worker. I honestly can say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the professional courses of the IDHA.
I was surprised when I was first told of IDHA founder Dr. Kevin Cahill’s familiarity with Somalia and Somaliland – advising top officials of various governments since the 1960s and more importantly, always assisting the people on the ground. I was surprised in the sense that many people have come to “help” and then gone on to the next crisis. Few have kept a consistent relationship for over a half-century. That is what friendship and “humanitarian action” should mean. And that is what the IDHA courses mean as well. Dr. Cahill’s founding in 1994, with his friend and colleague, the honored Elder Abdulrahim Abby Farah, was a further continuation of that friendship. After the civil war ended, Dr. Cahill, Abdulrahim Abby Farah and the CIHC were able to fill a gap in the field at a time when the people of Somaliland needed such an organization. A problem was assessed and a solution utilizing the skills of the people of Hargeisa was found.
Personally, undergoing the IDHA 23 diploma shed light on my experiences and career, allowing me to work with many organizations. I have had the opportunity to work with UNESCO and Save the Children, where I became Program Coordinator of Education for Emergencies projects. From there, I went to the International Organization for Migration as Program Officer for Mixed Migration/Counter Human Trafficking. I was later appointed to a national officer post. Currently, I am Head of Office for the International Organization for Migration in the Hargeisa Sub-Office where I supervise 20 national staff implementing six projects, including WASH/Health, institutional capacity building, migration management, emergency assistance, and voluntary return and reintegration programs.
It was the IIHA team’s encouragement and persistence that taught me that I can accomplish what I set out to do and be the finest professional. I also learned to expect these same high standards from my colleagues. I know that I am capable, but it will take hard work and lots of dedication. Your team promoted an environment where I felt like I was able to not only share my contributions but also to know my input was also considered and appreciated. If I can pass that wisdom onto others, the training and support the IIHA offered me was a smart investment.
I have had many teachers in my life and I can honestly say none has inspired me as much as Larry Hollingworth. He really goes the extra mile – sometimes the extra 10 miles – for students.
I hope to become an individual that makes your institution proud, epitomizingthe values the IIHA stands for and by which you have built your highly-regarded reputation.
Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community who need my professional services. I promise you I will work very hard and continue to give back to others, too.
Thank you again for your generosity and support Kevin Cahill.