Q&A: Stella Ford Mugabo: Building Rwanda’s capacity
Briefly, can you introduce yourself?
I am 50 years old and I was born in Uganda. I am fourth born in a family of seven boys and four girls and my parent are Francis Ford Gashumba and Stella Mukamutara.
I joined Makerere University for my first degree in education and after some years I went for further studies in the United Kingdom where I got a Master of Arts in Economics and Social Studies, majoring in Development Administration and Management from The University of Manchester.
I have been the Executive Secretary of the Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS) since March 2010.
In this role, I have been leading the co-ordination of public sector capacity building initiatives across the Government and spearheaded the design of Rwanda’s Strategic Capacity Building Initiative, a framework that aligns capacity building interventions to the development priority programmes of Government.
I am also currently serving as the chairperson of the Board of Directors for the Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management, and I am also a member on the Board of Directors for Rwanda’s Capacity Building Programme under the Private Sector Federation. I have also worked as an Academic Registrar and as an Academic Secretary at Kigali Institute of Science, Technology and Management (KIST), before which I was a public policy analyst with the Office of the President in Uganda.
What is your childhood dream? Are you living it?
I grew up thinking that I would be a social worker. I think I got my inspiration from my mother. My dream kept on growing to the extent of applying for social studies during my senior six, but unfortunately things kept changing due to many circumstances.
What are some of the challenges you meet from day to day?
As a woman, I have three cross cutting roles and challenges. Being a leader is a challenge whereby you are a servant of everyone who is a stakeholder.
Being a mother, a wife and a citizen is always hard to be there when needed but I try my best to serve the community. I strive to have some time for my children since they are still young, while sparing some small time for my personal needs.
What do you think are the greatest challenges that Rwandan women face?
Before I look at the challenges I have to talk about the opportunities that Rwandan women have compared to others in the region.
We still have low levels of education compared to our brothers which is the main cause of not using the opportunities we get effectively. We are less exposed to bigger challenges compared to our counter parts and still have the challenge of balancing our education, work and family issues.
How do you spend your leisure time?
At least twice a week I attend Christian women’s fellowship where we share challenges we face as women, success stories and we learn from each other. I spend some time with my children and whenever it’s possible for me I do some sports to keep myself fit.
What is your current relationship status?
I am privileged to have five daughters and a jolly man who is so supportive and encouraging. When I received a scholarship for further studies I had a baby who had just turned one and another had just turned two and I wanted to turn it down but he assured me that he would be able to take care of them and I shouldn’t lose that opportunity. I thank God for such a loving and a caring husband.
What are your future plans?
As I am heading towards the retirement age I am planning to establish a consultancy firm that will give service to both the government and international agencies because even today I can see that is needed.
What is your message to Rwandan women?
To my colleagues out there, the sky is the limit. No one will respect you just because you are well dressed but almost everyone will respect you if you are knowledgeable and are able to challenge people based on facts. Women should be ambitious because there is not a single job that a man can do that we can’t.
Contact email: mbbz_pelagie[at]yahoo.com