Krishna is from Nepal and is currently working as a Local Governance Planning Advisor with the Al Tadhamun Development Association on a citizen participation in local governance project, in Aden, Republic of Yemen.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a straightforward and open-minded person. I can easily survive in any culture and group of people. I like to work for deprived and vulnerable groups and voice their issues in different forums.

What inspired you to become a development worker with Progressio?

I am inspired by the skill-sharing approach of Progressio which can help to reduce poverty and empower voiceless people. I am also interested in working with a different culture and group of people than my own, which is fulfilled by Progressio through my work as a development worker in Yemen.

What is your first memory of arriving in Yemen?

For me, it was noticeable the many men with big cheeks, sitting in the street/roadside with a bundle of grass and a water/juice bottle. Later, I came to know that it is Qat, a kind of mild narcotic plant and people were in a hurry to end training sessions early to go to chew it.

What made the biggest impact on you on arrival in Yemen?

The gender discrimination, lack of trust, lack of good governance and the hot weather are some factors which made some impact on me. In another way, people's warm hospitality gave me a positive impact.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Community people have a lot of needs and expectations but the local authority has limited resources and knowledge. Civil society organisations like to work independently, so bringing all these groups together for development (civil society organisations, local authorities and the community) is very challenging – but it is also the most enjoyable part for me.

What has been the most exciting moment so far?

When we organised a participatory planning workshop at community level, I saw that women's participation was more than 60 percent and they were actively raising the issues of their community.

What is the biggest lesson learned so far?

Learning is a never-ending process. As a development worker, we are transferring our skills and knowledge to another place but at the same time we are also learning from them about the history, culture, traditions and development process. Another lesson is that the same tools and techniques can't be applied in another cultural and political set-up.

What is the biggest development challenge facing Yemen and the area in which you are working?

Development is at a slow pace and corruption is the biggest challenge in Yemen.  The main reason for corruption and the slow pace of development is the habit of Qat chewing. A lot of the resources and income of the people are going on Qat, which directly affects their families. Another big challenge is the different types of conflict, which are directly affecting the development of the country.

If you could change one thing, what would that be?

If I could, I would make the country free from Qat which is hampering every aspect of society and the development of the country.

What strikes you most about Progressio’s Development Worker model?

Progressio’s placement of development workers with a local partner in different development themes to transfer their skills and knowledge is a good model. 

What is your favourite motto or saying?

Work is worship and humanity is the biggest religion.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of becoming a development worker?

It is a good platform to share your skills and knowledge, which can help poor and vulnerable groups to improve their livelihood.

Where do you see yourself once your placement has ended? And in what ways is this placement with Progressio assisting you to get there?

In any developing country, working on the strong participation of civil society organisations with local authorities for voiceless people. The tools and techniques that I am applying in Yemen can help me to get another opportunity in another organisation.