What drew you to this role?
I was part of the Ascend programme from the very early stages in my role as bid manager, which involved working with our consortium partners in designing the operational and technical approach for the programme.
When we won the bid, it was natural for me to take on the PM role. Ascend is very close to my heart, not just because I have been part of it from the outset, but for the amazing work that is being done to contribute towards saving lives and improving the quality of life for those suffering from NTDs.
Success stories from the field make me more passionate about my job and managing this programme. I also care because I know from experience that having good health is key in improving quality of life and livelihoods.
What are your main responsibilities?
While I am not in the forefront of the delivery, it is one of my main responsibilities to ensure we have the means and resources to deliver this programme. This involves ensuring that we receive the funds on time to support delivery, ensuring compliance with the head contract, risk management and mitigation as well as maintaining communication with the client.
Do you work in a team, country, role of field that is predominantly male? If so, how have you overcome any challenges relating to this?
In the programme management unit, we are predominantly female and work with supportive male colleagues. As a young and professional woman, I have never come across any challenges working with my male colleagues
What challenge are you working to overcome through your role and work with Ascend and how?
Ascend is the most complex project I have ever worked on. It pretty much throws different challenges our way on a daily basis. We all work as a team, however, to overcome these challenges and remain focused on the delivery.
But one of the biggest challenges, no doubt for pretty much everyone, has been the pandemic.
The impact of pandemic on the programme as well as on me as working mum has been challenging. As with many working mums, it involved juggling work, home schooling and parenting whilst managing a demanding and challenging programme at the same time. There have been many times when I was leading a call whilst helping my 5 year old with his homework or cooking a meal at the same time.
With massive thank you to my Ascend team, I was able to work flexible hours to allow me to be a parent/teacher and the programme manager on Ascend.
On the programme aspect, the pandemic meant that we had to stop our activities for over 6 months, including some vital support provided through this programme to some of the most vulnerable populations that we are working with. Luckily in discussions with FCDO and our amazing Ascend team, we managed to put measures in place that allowed us to continue delivering some really essential services in tackling NTDs.
What do you enjoy about being a professional/working woman?
I am lucky that I grew up in a family where education was a priority for me and my sisters. Both my parents worked full time whilst looking after 5 small children. For my mum, a medical nurse, it was especially difficult as she was required to work night shifts and look after us during the day. This upbringing has taught me a lot and helped me get where I am today.
I love being a professional woman. There hasn’t been a time when I didn’t work other than being on maternity leave. As a working woman I feel empowered and often develop skills that help me at work and at home.