We could not complete our work on the ground without the efforts of our dedicated country directors. In eight war-torn and post-conflict nations in Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East and South Asia, our country directors provide the oversight to run our field offices and implement the programs that forever change the lives of women survivors of war.
Sweeta Noori currently serves as the Afghanistan Country Director for Women for Women International. She directs programs that have helped more than 20,000 women by providing direct financial assistance, rights education, vocational skills training and microcredit loans. In October 2005, she addressed the United Nations Security Council and the U.S. Congress about the challenges Afghan women continue to face.
In July 2004, Sweeta launched the country’s first microcredit lending program targeting women which has since disbursed over $16 million to approximately 64,400 women. Under Sweeta’s leadership, Women for Women International teamed up with the Afghanistan Ministry of Women’s Affairs to register 2,000 women to vote in the historic 2004 presidential elections and 1,800 women in the 2005 parliamentary elections.
Prior to joining Women for Women International, Sweeta served as an assistant for the Chair of the Loya Jirga Commission in forming the interim administration of Afghanistan and traveled with the delegation to Belgium for talks with donors and representatives of the international community. She has also worked for International Human Rights Law Group and the International Rescue Committee. During the mid-1990s, Sweeta was forced to move from Kabul to Pakistan, where she worked with the International Rescue Committee on health and agriculture projects. In 2001, she returned to Kabul and continued her work with IRC as a team leader for implementing health and education initiatives in various parts of Afghanistan.Close
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Seida Saric was the first country director of Women for Women International in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the first country director for any Women for Women International country program. She lived in besieged Sarajevo during the four years of war witnessing the most horrible atrocities. People's lives were shattered and destroyed, and Seida mustered the courage and decisiveness to risk her life for the greater good and well-being of her fellow citizens trapped in the city. Lacking basic necessities and under constant threat of attack, daily life became minute-by-minute for Seida and the people of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The sobering experience of war introduced Seida to the horrors human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another, and the fact that women were always the ones hurt the most in the crossfire. This presented ample inspiration for Seida to start introducing positive change into devastated lives. Education and creation of opportunities for women has always been at the core of Seida’s beliefs and values. She joined her strength and energy with the mission and vision of Women for Women International in 1998. Ever since, Seida and her team have managed to help over 50.000 women rebuild their lives and self-confidence through investing in their potential and education.
Seida is a frequent guest at seminars and conferences around the world and is a fervent advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. Her portfolio of experience includes work in Care International and Save the Children and her educational background spans from engineering to business.Close
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Zainab S. Shakir currently serves as the Iraq Country Director for Women for Women International (WfWI). She provides active leadership, management, and strategic oversight of WfWI’s program implementation in Iraq, cultivates strategic partnerships, and plays a leadership role in local, national, regional, and international movements for women’s advancement. Her firm belief in the power of women and their influence inspires her to work to bring change to the lives of women and their environment.
Zainab has been active in the civil society field since 2003. She has served as cultural advisor, facilitator, and trainer working to promote reconciliation and moderation, strengthening governance and civil society, and working with youth to give the next generation a stake in peace and stability.
Previously, she served as Iraqi Consultant for Creative Associates International in Iraq, providing essential advice and consultation on the status of civil society in Iraq.
Zainab has also served as deputy country director for the United States Institute for Peace, managing the development and implementation of field projects focused on education, conflict resolution, intergroup dialogue, peace building, human rights, interfaith, women’s empowerment, rule of law, and media. She directly engaged with the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Iraqi government officials, civil society leaders, and academics throughout project implementation. She was a leader in establishing conflict resolution dialogue among the tribal leaders of Mahmoudya, resulting in a significant decrease in violence in that area and establishing an example for the power of dialogue in fostering peace and reconciliation in Iraq.
Zainab leads the Network of Iraqi Facilitators (NIF), to provide facilitation and mediation nationwide as a method to overcome conflict at the community level. Zainab is also the founder and former director of the Election Iraqi Network (EIN), a group which has monitored Iraq’s elections since 2005 and operates throughout the country.
Zainab has a bachelor or science degree in physics and a High Diploma in computer applications. Her professional experience includes managing information and research centers within the Government of Iraq, University of Technology, Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission, and the Military Industrial Commission.Close
Iliriana Jaka Gashi is a medical doctor with a masters degree in Management of Health Care Administration from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. She has worked for the Canadian International Development Agency, World Vision, French Embassy in Kosovo, World Bank, and the American International Health Alliance (AIHA). She was also a member of the Policy and Planning Committee in the Ministry of Health of Kosovo and is thrilled to be turning her efforts toward the active citizenship of women in Kosovo.Close
Ngozi Eze has been Women for Women International's country director in Nigeria since 2003 and has helped more than 30,000 women forge a future in a country ravaged by corruption and civil unrest. In 2005, Ngozi received the Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award for making a difference in the lives of thousands of survivors of civil conflict in her home country.
Under her leadership, Women for Women International-Nigeria has implemented a program of direct financial assistance, rights education, vocational skills training and income-generating opportunities. Ngozi has instituted specialized programs to educate women about HIV/AIDS and the harmful effects of some traditional practices, including female genital cutting and widowhood rituals. She also pioneered a men’s training program to sensitize community leaders to women’s rights. In the wake of increased community violence between Christian and Muslim communities in northern Nigeria, Ngozi launched joint training sessions to offer women from both religious backgrounds the opportunity to meet and rebuild their trust.
Ngozi has over 18 years of experience working in both private and public institutions on advancing the status of women and children through international development. Before coming to Women for Women International, she worked in Nigeria with a number of NGOs and private firms, including the Ohio African Trade office based in Lagos.Close