Women have made significant contribution in research despite the numerous challenges they face. To celebrate the women and girls in science we asked some women at KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research programme to share their journey in research, their achievements, and a word of advice to fellow women in science.
Growing up I was exposed to the importance of both health and education and the impact they had on the quality of life. I decided to pursue a career in science because I wanted to contribute to the improvement of people’s lives. Looking back, my decision to pursue a degree in Applied Statistics was timely because this provided requisite knowledge and skills needed to kickstart a career in research. Currently, my work as a health economist generally entails understanding how healthcare resources are used and distributed.
The biggest challenge as a woman in research would be maintaining the motivation to keep going despite obstacles faced in my research. However, I am fortunate to have very supportive colleagues and family who always encourage me along the way.
Having many women in research who have gone ahead of me and achieved great things always serves as an important encouragement to me. Women and girls should seek out challenges that are both challenging and daring. Find a friend to go on this journey with you and make a commitment to your companion so that you can go further together.
GIS research assistant
It was a deliberate choice to join science with the exact field of science having evolved with time. My work now deals with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in population health research. My recent source of pride is that I carried out the first harmonization of Kenya’s national health facility databases that incorporates all public and private health facilities and their geographic locations. This filled a tremendous gap in understanding health facility distribution and will go a long way in other studies of where health services are available and understanding unmet needs
Mentorship has played a significant role in my career. I have had several formal and informal mentors along the way. When I first got started in GIS, I realized the field was largely male-dominated and I felt a little out of my depth. But I wanted to pursue a career in it so I sought out other women already in the field who offered me advice and a platform to explore different aspects of the field to find what inspired me.
There is room enough for more women in science and we need all the diverse perspectives to create a future we want to live in. You don’t have to be an expert to feel confident in reaching out, the most important thing I’ve found is to approach life with questions and often you may be surprised by the answers.
Siti Mohamed Wande
Clinical trial Monitor
As a child, I admired the nurses’ uniform and I fell in love with nursing. Little did I know what a blessing it is to be one – until the day I started my nursing education. In the course of my career in science I have been able to participate in pediatric research as well as worked as a communications skill’s trainer. This are key achievements that I am proud of.
To support the people I supervise, I offer mentorship in areas of interest. In science, mentorship is important in helping others to grow. It’s important to share and offer support to the young people in the field as mentorship gives confidence.
Science is evolving, so to keep pace with it, you must read and be updated. I urge, women and girls, not to be left behind, let’s be focused and never shy away. Your voice counts!
I started my career as a data entry clerk, later moved to an administrative assistant and now I work as a project manager supporting research. In my role I have been able to manage projects, make them run smoothly and complete them on schedule and within the budget. This requires one to navigate and resolve various challenges successfully. Some of the challenges that I experience in the delivery of my work includes managing teams’ expectations and controlling times and cost in compliance with different project requirement.
I enjoy supporting research and working with the great teams at the Programme. In my work there is great power and leverage in establishing strategic direction, gaining alignment, and building credibility. After all, you only get one chance to make a good first start. The rest is execution.