Tell us a little bit about yourself, when did you start working with Acasus and why did you choose us? You’ve been to many countries (Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, USA, Tanzania, and Liberia), what led you back to Pakistan?
I grew up in a small village near the Pakistan-afghan border in Balochistan. I always wanted to explore the world and meet people from different backgrounds and communities but I also had this sense of responsibility towards my community. I had the opportunity to work in different countries, make amazing friends around the world, and loved some places a lot. Some of these places were ideal to settle and live there, but I always wanted to come back home and help people here. In 2016 I came back from Liberia and started working for the Polio control program and in June 2019 I joined the Acasus immunization team.
Our work in Pakistan is very dynamic, could you introduce us to the ways of working there?
Usually, in a week, I do a lot of meetings, and that is something which really excites me. I am a person who enjoys meeting people, so I meet all of my stockholders every week, do calls with my Country Team and write reports.
Normally, I travel once a month outside the province to attend our monthly meeting in Lahore, Punjab. This is something that I wait for the whole month because it gives me an opportunity to learn a lot and meet my fellows.
I like traveling a lot but I don't get a lot of opportunities to go out of my province, but inside the province, I normally go out to one or two districts every month. It depends on what the partners want, and where I am needed. I am planning that after the COVID I start going to all the districts that I have been to since I joined Acasus. Also sometimes I go to Islamabad or Karachi on my own just to relax for a day or two and meet my friends there.
I think it's a very dynamic team full of champions, people with all kinds of skills and I see every one of them as an artist. Because what we do is not less than an Art.
I think the way we responded in the COVID was one of our biggest successes. The interventions are really impactful, got very famous, and right now, I would say the whole system depends on it. Balochistan is the biggest province of Pakistan geography-wise, the population is very scattered and it is very difficult to travel to most of the districts. Also, our interventions involve a lot of technology that people here are very scared of, and it's difficult to persuade them to own a technology-based intervention.
How does COVID affect life and work in Pakistan?
I see myself as an extroverted-introvert person, so I enjoy working at a crowded place without interacting with people, normally at a cafe. Now that normal life has ceased, and I am always busy in meetings and work, I feel like I have lost the feeling of a normal life. This might affect my mental health and it worries me a lot.
With my Acasus Team, I do a call twice a day. We do a call almost every morning and then once during the night. The team helps me to do a lot of problem-solving virtually. We do brainstorming together and come up with solutions to the problems that I face every day on the field.
I have not traveled outside my province during the COVID situation since March but I do travel a lot inside my province. I have visited the Quarantine centres in a few districts like Chaman city and Noshki. But inside the city, I am always on the move.
Most of the government officials that I work with are in the offices. During the strict lockdown, the Deputy Commissioner gave me a security pass which allowed me to travel freely from one office to the other one.
Why do you love working at Acasus/what is your most beloved memory so far since working with our team?
I love working with Acasus because it's different from all the other organizations that I have worked with. The work I do with Acasus is the kind of work I have passion for, and above all, I love working with Acasus because it allows me to use my creativity. The team encourages me and gives me good feedback on how to improve things. I feel like I am not an employee of the company but an owner and a member of a family.