Achieving gender balance among staff and giving Ethiopian women the chance to obtain gainful employment and the opportunity to pursue their dreams has long been a goal of Cordaid Ethiopia’s Country Director and women’s advocate, Akinyi Walender. 23-year old Huria Seid’s story not only attests to that, but also inspires other women to chase their dreams.
Huria Seid was born and raised in Addis Ababa. Her academic career began at Fiker Primary School and then Addis Ketema Preparatory School. She later attended Jimma University and Oromia State University where she earned two Bachelor of Science degrees in Midwifery and Business respectively.
Huria first learned about Cordaid through our internship programme, where we seek out potential interns through agreements with Ethiopian Universities. Huria was among several high achieving female students who were approached through her school department about the internship opportunity. After a successful application and recruitment process, Huria was offered a position as a public-based financing (PBF) intern, based in Addis Ababa. This was right around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and classes were interrupted. The internship opportunity could not have come at a better time for Huria and she took it with both hands.
After successfully completing her internship in Addis Ababa, Huria returned to Jimma University to complete her final semester. Around the time that Huria completed her studies, the PBF health project in Jimma was scaling up, resulting in several job opportunities becoming available. She was offered a full-time job as an Assistant PBF Verification Officer. Within this function, Huria is responsible for verifying the performance of 134 health posts in Jimma as well as supporting community-based organizations (CBOs) with the community verification process.
Why did you want to be a PBF Assistant Verification Officer?
“I really do appreciate the project. As a health professional, I have been observing the gaps in the health system of my country and my community. This is my passion and I am fully invested in what this project is doing. I am not doing this for the money because I believe I am living out my life goals.”
“PBF is an approach my country should adopt more. Cordaid is doing good for my people, to have better health services.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
“Going to the health facilities each month and seeing the progress that they have made with the help of the project gives me great joy. When you see something important that you have contributed to, it is very satisfying.” Huria enjoys working with her other colleagues at the Jimma field office, who she considers to be her friends, not just her co-workers.
What do you like most about working for Cordaid as an Organisation?
“The first thing that I noticed about Cordaid, is that there is absolutely no nepotism. When I first came to Cordaid for my written exam, I was about to go home. I thought that there is no way that I could join this organization because I do not have family that works there. I was with my brother, he held my hand and basically pushed me to the office. I’ve had experiences in the past where I was overlooked for opportunities because of this reason. So, I took the test and when I got the call back from Cordaid HR that I got the job, I could not believe it. I thought it was a prank. If it’s not nepotism, in some other organisations, it’s your gender, your ethnicity or religion. Because of these, you are likely to experience some sort of bias. At Cordaid, I did not experience that. You are accepted for who you are”. She further added about the importance of the PBF approach. “PBF is an approach that my country should adopt more. Cordaid is doing something good for my people, to have better health services. I studied health to help the society, so working for Cordaid goes with my passion.”
Where did your passion for Public Health come from?
“When I was in grade 10, I had straight A’s in the national exam and got a chance to join a public health institute in Ethiopia. This allowed me to see exactly what the institute is doing and get a glimpse into some of the issues surrounding public health. I was initially thinking about being a doctor, because my father has asthma. I wanted to help him. I later realised that my father is not the only one with health issues. There is someone else with a father, who has some other health issue. There is more than just asthma and I wanted to do something for the public. My future goal is to eventually to have my own NGO, supporting the Ethiopian health system. For now, I am learning in every aspect, from logistics, to project management and working in the field.”
“I studied health to help the society. Working for Cordaid goes with my passion.”
What do your family and friends think about your work as an Assistant PBF Verification Officer?
“My friends and family are so happy for me doing this job. First, my country has an unemployment problem thus they are just happy that I am employed. Secondly, because they are aware of the nepotism in a lot of companies, they believe that there is still hope because I got this job. Finally, they like that my work is closely related to my passion and what I studied in the university.”
What advice do you have for young girls when it comes to education and pursuing a career?
“I would like to tell women out there the only thing that will stop you from your dreams is you. You have to do everything within your power to accomplish your goals. Do not let others stop you; dream big, work hard for it, and you will have it.”