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My name is Ayaan Khalif. I am the Project Manager at iRise Hub, managing the EU-funded Dalbile Project under UNFPA Somalia. As a Project Manager you find yourself working throughout the whole lifecycle of a project: project management is present from the beginning to the end of a project and involves an understanding of diverse elements such as costs, design, risks, and contracts. Every day is different, making my work challenging and interesting. I am grateful to be part of one of the biggest projects currently implemented in Somalia this early in my career.

Working as a Project Manager is not an easy task. People have the impression that it is all about simply overseeing project activities, but this is very far from the truth. Oftentimes, people are the trickiest element to manage and the one most likely to go wrong, especially if your communication skills are weak. I love doing what I do, but it is neither easy nor soft, and to do it well one requires patience and an ability to put oneself into the shoes of the people most impacted by the project. This is why it is important to continuously improve one's technical skills whenever an opportunity presents itself. 

On this day, on International Women’s Day, I would like to tell all the women out there that it takes guts to achieve success in any career as a woman. Ask a question if something is intriguing to you, stand up for yourself if someone tries to intimidate you, and promote your own successes if no one else is. If we do not speak out for ourselves, we may end up being our own greatest adversary.

People rarely go out of their way to acknowledge other people's accomplishments, which means that we all need to be more self-promotional. I feel that there is a lot of scope for improvement for women in this department, because we believe it to be "bragging." This is irrelevant, go ahead and "brag" about it! Unless you tell them, how will they know what you did or how significant it was? It is not only beneficial to your career, but the information is also helpful to others.

Lastly, I want to say this: make sure you recognize those around you and make sure to praise others publicly. If you are part of a good team, your coworkers are probably as awesome as you are. I know mine are!