Ejonta Pashaj learned of DAI through a public administration program DAI was implementing in Albania. Ejonta says she was impressed with how DAI approaches working with local governments, especially our emphasis on citizen participation in municipal decision making. When a job opportunity opened on the project, Ejonta applied and started her career as a governance specialist and program manager. Her areas of expertise include the design, implementation, and evaluation of citizen participation, community development, outreach, and anti-corruption strategies. She has helped to establish business improvement districts, citizen assistance centers, and one-stop permitting centers in Albania, Serbia, and Macedonia, and designed and delivered training on results-based public engagement in municipal decision making.
“They came to DAI to ask for help—we helped them raise additional money to build a road, conduct a transparent procurement process, and ensure citizen monitoring of the construction work.” — Ejonta Pashaj
After working with DAI in the Balkans, Ejonta managed the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Afghanistan Social Outreach Program for AECOM International Development, where she guided the community development and government outreach program. She also served as AECOM’s long-term home office manager for USAID-funded anti-corruption programs in Cambodia and Tanzania, supported USAID’s Sudan Transition Initiative, and provided technical assistance to a decentralization program in Egypt. Ejonta recently joined DAI’s governance team and is managing a local government program in Afghanistan.
Recalling some of the highlights of her work, Ejonta harks back to her native Albania. “A relatively new district in Tirana had opened their houses to Kosovar refugees in 1998, and as a reward for their gesture each family had received a modest sum of money from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The families could have done a lot for themselves with that money, but instead they decided to use it to build the sewage system. They came to DAI to ask for help—I was the first one they met with. Their community spirit was so unique that we helped them raise additional money to build a road, conduct a transparent procurement process, and ensure citizen monitoring of the construction work.”