Birds Of A Feather

STORY OF: Mounir Saïd
WRITTEN BY: Mohamed Ali Laswad

The Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) recruits experts to provide advisory services for capacity building in member countries; it is a South-South cooperation grant-based program focusing on the transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise. Built around a tripartite scheme, the program involves three partners in each of its activities: a technical donor, a beneficiary and IsDB as a facilitator. Experts are matched to complement the capacity-building efforts of the beneficiary in the desired field to enable an effective transfer of knowledge and skills.

It was a difficult day when I was informed by the production and marketing manager at my small poultry company of the death of large numbers of chickens due to an unknown disease that the veterinary department was unable to treat.

I phoned the company’s veterinarian to ask about the nature of the problem. He concluded the call with a promise that he would manage the matter himself. I began thinking about how I could overcome this crisis, the like of which had not been seen since my appointment as director general of the poultry company. 

Eventually, I decided to contact my cousin, Sami, who was known for his common sense and wisdom, and who worked as an employee at the Ministry of Planning. I went to his office and explained the problem and asked him for advice. 

Sami encouraged me to be positive and to face up to the challenge. He felt that some external help was needed and suggested asking IsDB to recruit an expert specializing in poultry diseases from one of its member countries. His work in the Ministry of Planning had made him aware of many of IsDB’s activities, and he described the Bank as “the bank of giving and the pride of Muslim nations in an era of challenges”.

I was excited and agreed with my cousin that this was a good idea. After some urgent correspondence between the Ministry of Planning and IsDB’s Technical Cooperation Office, Dr. Mohsen, an international expert in poultry diseases, was delegated by IsDB from one of its member countries. 

Dr. Mohsen started his work immediately. The most important challenge he faced was to find the cause of the disease and stop the losses. To save the company, Dr. Mohsen advised me to improve the equipment in the company’s laboratory and recruit more qualified staff as the company had only one veterinarian and one technician, which I agreed to do.

One month before the end of his mission, Dr. Mohsen informed me that the disease had been eliminated from the poultry farm. I was delighted. At that moment, Sami arrived at my office to be briefed as usual on the latest developments. 

"The people of the country thank IsDB for empowering the company to achieve this great transformation." 

As soon as I saw my cousin, I rushed to embrace him saying, “By the grace of Allah Almighty, the expert has succeeded in eliminating all disease!” Dr. Mohsen had also passed on his expertise to some of the company’s staff so that they would be able to solve any similar problems that the company might face in the future.

Sami shook hands with Dr. Mohsen and thanked him for his tremendous efforts. He turned to me and we both agreed that the expert’s efforts had helped save the company. The poultry farm subsequently achieved high production and made good profits, so its share price increased in the local stock market. 

I officially appointed Sami as my advisor. The company has now opened new branches in many cities of the country and employed large numbers of veterinarians, technicians and workers in permanent jobs. Its products are also rapidly becoming popular in the markets of neighboring countries thanks to their high quality. As a result, the President of the country granted the company the Award of Excellence, and I received the Award of Merit. 

My company’s success has benefited all segments of society. I have provided some of the company’s employees with soft housing loans, and have established a charitable society that takes care of deserving students, widows, orphans, the poor and people with special needs. I have also supported a group of young people to study abroad. The people of the country thank IsDB for empowering the company to achieve this great transformation. 

One summer evening, I reflected on the hard-living conditions my poor family had experienced before my appointment in the company. I shared with Sami how I used to go to university in shabby clothes, while my brothers were forced to travel long distances to reach their schools, at a time when my father was struggling. 

I explained to my cousin that I joined the poultry company just as it was about to declare bankruptcy. But after saving the company, I experienced a qualitative shift in life. Sami turned to me and replied, “I’ve told you since the beginning that IsDB is the bank of benevolence and giving.” I smiled and said, “Indeed I am grateful to Allah the Almighty, and the positive programs made available by IsDB.”