Zahara Khan

Head of Operations

AKSWBP - we work on the social protection & socioeconomic development of the underprivileged communities across Pakistan.

I work with national, regional & local teams for successful identification and implementation of Social Protection Initiatives including Social Safety Nets, Social Risk Mitigation, Social Care Services, Social Inclusion, and Social Safeguard programs. Our special focus is on empowerment of vulnerable groups, i.e., women, children, elderly, and differently-abled persons.

I love the community development & integrated service delivery side of my work. Also, working with a passionate team of professionals & volunteers, meeting with the communities across the country, and seeing the small yet steady improvements in the quality of life of communities brings me joy!

No single day is the same at my work. These days my time is spent on a mix of strategic (e.g., organizational digital transformation, programs for migrants & elderly), operational (e.g., delivery of ongoing programs) and emergent assignments (e.g., distress cases).

I did my Bachelors (1995) & Masters (1999) in Computer Science. Joined a software house in 1996 and worked on customized software development. In 2005, I moved to a company working on Information & Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) projects as the Head of Programs. In 2006, I co-founded two social enterprises - an ICT4D solutions company and a health social enterprise. From 2010 till 2011, I worked with a USAID project and as an independent consultant. I joined my current organization in 2012, where I used to volunteer between 2005-2009.

1. Work with communities in other countries on human development programs. 2. More travel and writing about my experiences from travel/life. 3. Set up a travel fund for the people who are interested in traveling but are limited by resources. 4. Set up a scholarship fund & mentoring program for developing female leaders. 5. Audiovisual documentation of the life stories of people, especially the elderly. 6. Continued learning till I die.

I love to: read books; listen to music; travel; learn new languages; color & gift mandalas; make cards/do art journaling occasionally; sing; dance; spend time with my close friends; play with & learn from my neighbor's kids; learn about new things (esp. neuroscience); volunteer; try photography; reflect upon life.

Too many, but Robert Frost's verses kind of sum up my life: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."