Najia Nasim, Executive Director, Women for Afghan Women (WAW)
Ms. Nasim has 17 years of experience in the non-profit realm, with a focus on civil rights, women’s empowerment, and international development, including five years managing WAW’s day-to-day operations in Afghanistan, for which she received numerous accolades. In her former capacity as WAW’s Afghanistan Country Director, Najia built strong relations with government officials, international donors, the public sector, civil society, and influential local elders and religious leaders. She successfully led a massive program and staff expansion, as well as honed the vision, strategic direction, programmatic development, financial management, and infrastructure growth of WAW in Afghanistan. During her tenure, WAW increased its presence from 10 to 14 provinces, while simultaneously implementing organization-wide evaluation, reporting, operational policies, and work flow systems that have greatly improved WAW’s functional efficiencies and program execution. Najia established WAW’s Security Department, which has become instrumental in successfully protecting WAW’s facilities, clients, and staff. Moreover, she has adeptly navigated the significant social, political, and security challenges with which the organization grapples daily.
Najia was nominated for the “10 Bravest Women of the World” award in 2014 by Amnesty International and the 2015 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize, and in 2018, she won the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice on WAW’s behalf. In addition, she has received official appreciation letters from both Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for WAW’s outstanding performance under her leadership. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (summa cum laude) with double majors in Economics and Accounting from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Her academic training in the U.S. and years of work experience in Afghanistan has equipped Najia with robust financial management skills, technical knowledge, and the practical expertise required for strategizing, developing, supervising, and expanding programs to support WAW’s mission to save, protect, and empower Afghan women, children, and their families. Najia is fluent in English, Dari, and Pashtu.