“If you can work in Africa you can work anywhere. You learn so much about differences in culture and work processes.”
Name: Zuhur Mohamed
Profession: Financial Specialist
Country of Origin: Federal Republic of Somalia (Somaliland region)
Lives in the Netherlands since: 1991
Zuhur Mohamed is on a mission to ensure equal opportunities for everybody, regardless of their origin. Zuhur is well aware of the value of being able to develop yourself – she and her mother came from Somaliland to the Netherlands when she was three years old. She takes every chance life gives her. After two internships in London and New York, she worked as financial advisor at the Dutch bank ING. She advised clients on insurances, mortgages and other finance matters, here she developed the skills and gained the knowledge that proved to be quite useful later on.
After three years at ING Zuhur felt the need to give back to her country of origin and, after some searching, found IOM’s Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) project. She started with automatizing financial systems at the Ministry of Justice in Somaliland and soon applied her skills at other departments. During her last assignment she even co-wrote the national development plan.
She grew enormously during this period. “If you can work in Africa you can work anywhere. You learn so much about differences in culture and work processes. Going back to analog ways of working required a lot of research, reading and evaluation. You keep developing yourself because you want to make an impact.”
What should have been three months turned into 2.5 years in Somaliland. Her CD4D assignment allowed her to build a big network of NGOs, governments and companies. In 2019 she co-founded Holland House Hargeisa with seven other diaspora to better connect the Netherlands with Somaliland. “There are so many possibilities for sustainable development in Somaliland, everyone is curious and future-oriented. Through Holland House, we help Dutch people that want to invest, live or work in Somaliland.”
Moving back to the Netherlands due to her newborn child did not stop her from continuing her mission. The knowledge, skills and network she gained in Somaliland she now applies to help Dutch diaspora entrepreneurs.
“Many diaspora in the Netherlands are disadvantaged because they do not have a good network or know the right ‘routes’. ”
photography by Kristie Wernink