Denmark-based Information Technology (IT) professional, Shaukat Khan, heads global IT infrastructure for Novo Nordisk, a multinational pharmaceutical company. He has extensive experience in leading infrastructure and development teams. Prior to Novo Nordisk, he worked with UNICEF’s HQ IT Centre in Copenhagen.

Shaukat’s two-month TKN assignment in spring 2018 was as an IT Technical Analyst with the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) in Afghanistan. The assignment came at an extremely busy time for Shaukat, who is the UK Aga Khan National Council’s member for Europe (covering Denmark, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden). “We were expecting Mawlana Hazar Imam’s deedar, and it was a peak time for council and professional commitments,” Shaukat said. “But when I received the call from the TKN office, and learned that one of our institutions needed my service, I knew I should accept, no matter how busy I was.”

Based on a comprehensive review of existing documentation, as well as a 10-day field trip to Afghanistan, Shaukat undertook a current state assessment of AKAH’s IT infrastructure. His review identified a number of issues which included a single point of failure and challenges with line connectivity.

Shaukat also conducted interviews and discussions with the AKAH team, which enabled him to develop a long term IT vision and strategy that proposes how the IT infrastructure can be strengthened. Shaukat presented his recommendations to AKAH management, and also participated in recruitment interviews to help build the agency’s IT HR capacity.

For Shaukat, what he got out of his TKN experience far outweighs his contribution. “In most cases, when professionals from North America or Europe think about TKN service, we consider the contribution we’re making, but it’s very important to see it the other way around,” Shaukat said. “The biggest beneficiaries are the volunteers themselves through the rich experience they get and gaining valuable exposure to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and other institutions.”

It was during Shaukat’s TKN assignment that he was contacted by AKDN about a full time Chief Information Officer (CIO) position with the University of Central Asia (UCA). “I was extremely impressed by the professional commitment I saw, and the contribution people are making in situations where there is an element of risk,” Shaukat said. After going through an in-depth recruitment process, including a number of interviews and technical assessments, he was offered the UCA CIO position and will be starting in January. Shaukat's AKAH TKN assignment has resulted in a life change – an exciting new job opportunity.

AKAH is most grateful to Shaukat for contributing his extensive expertise and submitting a detailed report which will enable the agency to strengthen its IT infrastructure and security. AKAH wishes Shaukat much success in his upcoming new role with UCA.