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Anita Ahmad

Anita first met a (Afghan) refugee when she was 11, an encounter that would influence her career choices in the future. Upon completing her law degree, Anita worked in the private sector, during which she began to look for opportunities to volunteer. This led to Anita joining Mercy Malaysia as a volunteer in Afghanistan for 3 weeks, before being employed as Mercy’s first full time staff, as country manager in Afghanistan coordinating humanitarian projects. This was followed by missions in Syria, Iraq, Cambodia, including serving as country manager in Sudan where Anita oversaw the rehabilitation of a maternity ward and construction of operation theatres in Darfur amongst others. These life changing experiences led to Anita’s desire to build her career in the non-profit sector, including pursuing her Masters’ degree in Social Development as a Chevening scholar.

Anita had a short stint with UNHCR, before joining UNDP, where she facilitated policy research and advocacy projects on persons with disabilities, gender equality, indigenous people and peacekeeping training. Anita then joined Yayasan Hasanah as a founding team member, where she shaped and led its community development and humanitarian response strategies, as well as supported the capacity building of the non-profit sector ecosystem and various multi-stakeholder partnerships, such as the Government Linked Companies “Demi Rakyat & Negara” initiative (GDRN), which seeks to coordinate social impact initiatives at scale. Always in pursuit of knowledge, Anita also became an Eisenhower Fellow during this time. At present, Anita is the CEO of Yayasan MySDG, which was incorporated in 2022 to support the Government of Malaysia in mobilising resources to accelerate the SDGs while leaving no one behind, including coordinating with the United Nations and the Ministry of Finance on the ‘Malaysia-UN SDG Trust Fund’ which provides grants for projects aligned to the SDGs.

For me, impact happens when those most in need, and most marginalised are in the driver’s seat of their own development, where they have options available to them to make better choices for themselves and their loved ones. Our role in the non-profit sector is to ensure that we support them by building their capacity to do so.

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