Lebanon CSP Transforming Lives_Ali Chouman
Ali Chouman’s internship with USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) as a quality control officer was the ideal platform to build on the quality education he received under USAID’s University Scholarship Program. A graduate in chemical engineering from the American University of Beirut, Ali joined CSP’s internship program to train short term workers from the assisted communities on safely using tools and equipment provided by USAID. The workers from CSP target communities were hired by CSP to carry out emergency rubble removal labor in the wake of the August 4, 2020 blast at the Port of Beirut. But when Ali hit the field to ensure the workers followed safety measures, he noticed that protective helmets, security vests, and COVID-19 preventive masks were not being worn properly at all times.
As part of the internship, Ali came up with methodical solutions to complex issues. He developed a tiered approach to build rapport with the teams and boost on-site compliance, including verbal reminders, direct coordination with site supervisors, and sometimes warnings.
He visited the work sites every day as he was aware that without oversight the workers compliance may lapse, which might in turn put them in danger. His dedication led CSP to select him as a quality control officer on another USAID-funded cleanup activity that is reducing wildfire risk in Mount Lebanon.
The internship helped Ali acquire leadership skills that will be useful in the long term. “In case I have my own business in the future, it is important to have a quality control officer who follows up on all safety measures, quality of the work, and workers’ efficiency. This is how we can reduce costs and avoid risks.” But this is not all as Ali was also able to save up money to study for his Ph.D. in chemical engineering.
The activity is part of a larger USAID-backed initiative that is improving the delivery of essential services and enhancing economic opportunities in underserved communities, primarily in Lebanon’s North, South, and Beqaa Valley. Ali is one of a dozen interns selected by CSP during its second year of implementation to further enhance CSP’s efforts in delivering assistance in underserved communities, while supporting USAID – assisted scholars to gain practical experience and be better prepared to enter the job market.