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Learner spotlight: Meet Nihad

We were delighted to recently meet Nihad at a careers event at the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at The University of Manchester. He shares his story with us.

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a humanitarian and development practitioner with over 11 years of experience managing programmes in complex and volatile environments.

I am from Syria and have had the opportunity to live and work in different countries including Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Jordan.

Currently, I am based in Manchester, UK, where I am pursuing my academic learning through an MSc in International Development at The University of Manchester.

What is your professional background and what do you currently do?

My professional background lies in stabilisation and humanitarian operations, having managed large-scale programmes working with several organisations including CARE International, Mayday Rescue, War Child, Save the Children International and Syria Relief.

Currently, I am working as a consultant with Towards Impact, which supports other organisations in enhancing their impact and effectiveness.

How did you first get interested or involved in humanitarian work?

My interest in humanitarian work began at a young age being a volunteer with a few organisations, and then when I witnessed the impact of conflicts on vulnerable communities in Syria. This ignited a passion within me to make a positive difference in those communities and serve those in need.

How did you first hear about Kaya and what made you start your learning journey with us?

I first learned about Kaya through a colleague who had completed several courses on the platform. Intrigued by the diverse range of courses and the opportunity to learn from very useful resources in the humanitarian field, I decided to embark on my own learning journey with Kaya.

As someone who faced challenges due to the Syrian crisis, such as limited access and remote management, I found Kaya’s designed courses to be invaluable in enhancing my skills and knowledge.

The platform not only helped me keep learning but also enabled me to share this knowledge with colleagues, team members, and partner staff, ultimately making a positive impact on those affected by the crisis, especially since many courses are available in different languages including Arabic.

What are your top three courses on Kaya?

FIELD programme, Cash and Voucher Assistance including the Facilitator’s Space, and Humanitarian Operations Programme (HOP) Fundamentals.

Has your learning changed your outlook, perspective or approach to your humanitarian work?

My learning journey with Kaya has broadened my perspective and deepened my understanding of the complex challenges facing communities affected by humanitarian crises.

It has helped me develop a more nuanced approach to my work, rooted in evidence-based best practices and a strong commitment to humanitarian standards.

For example, I applied the knowledge I gained from a Kaya course on Risk Management to improve risk analysis and risk management of a projects I was working on.

What’s next for you? What is your next professional goal?

I still have a few months to complete my dissertation and my master’s studies.

In the meantime, I am also working part-time as an institutional funding and strategic partnership specialist.

My next professional goal is to work in the humanitarian and development field. I will be open for more opportunities to continue building on the knowledge and skills I have gained through my learning process.

My advice to fellow humanitarian learners is to approach your learning journey with an open mind and a willingness to challenge your assumptions. Take advantage of the diverse range of courses on Kaya and don’t be afraid to explore new topics and areas of interest. Finally, always remember that the ultimate goal of our work is to serve those in need and make a positive difference in the world – we can do this better by equipping ourselves with the right knowledge.
Nihad Sarmini


MENA Kaya Syria

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