As part of our International Women’s Day blog series, we have interviewed some of the brilliant people that make our work at Womanity possible. In this interview, we hear from Girls Can Code Programme Director Mohammad Zia Noori, on what he enjoys most about his work, and what #BalanceforBetter means to him.

Tell me a bit about your role at Womanity?
I am the Programme Director and country representative for Womanity Foundation in Afghanistan. I’m responsible for overseeing the Girls Can Code programme and our school improvement work in Afghanistan. As part of this I make sure our activities are in line with Womanity’s strategy and I also maintain our relationship with the relevant Government Ministries here in Afghanistan.

What is it that you enjoy most about this work?
Good question! To be honest, any work that develops and improves opportunities for women and girls to enable them to have a better future is enjoyable for me. The Womanity cause gives me the energy to support and implement the work in the best possible way.

What challenges do you face working in this area in Afghanistan?
There are several. Sometimes we face unexpected delays to our work because an unexpected security situation has arisen. We also face challenges in identifying quality trainers for the Girls Can Code programme. But we work hard to overcome these things.

Why is this work in STEM so important to achieving equality in Afghanistan?
Girls participation in the STEM field is a must! It’s a growing sector in Afghanistan and there are opportunities for women and girls to be a part of it, challenge stereotypes and shift perceptions. It’s very easy for girls to learn these skills and then go on to find a job easily. This particular skill set also means that they can work from home, which is a real benefit in a conservative society like Afghanistan.

What has been your highlight/s from your time working on Girls Can Code to date?
When we began Girls Can Code it was just an idea. But over time we worked hard to improve that idea and turn it into reality. And here we are now, through team effort. The programme is in place, girls are getting an education and being linked to the tech job market through internships and job opportunities. I feel proud that we have achieved this.

What are your plans for the future? Are there any exciting activities on the horizon for Girls Can Code?
It’s difficult for me to talk about an exact plan for the future of Girls Can Code, particularly working in a country like Afghanistan where changes happen regularly and sometimes unexpectedly. That said, we are constantly working to improve the quality of the programme, and we will be exploring whether it’s possible to extend the programme to new school outside of Kabul.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “Balance for Better”. What does “Balance for Better” mean to you?
For me “Balance for Better” means investing in a new kind of support that moves away from traditional programme models – support that uses technology as a way to improve opportunities for women, girls and their communities.