Geoffrey Beingana is the former president of Rwanda Pharmaceutical Students Association, is the African Regional Projects Officer of IPSF (International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation), a world pharmaceutical body. He won an award for the best contact person for IPSF and currently works with a company called Babyl Rwanda, which offers digital health services. The 26 year old, talked to Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa about the importance of technology in the health sector. Tell us about your passion for community health and leadership? Geoffrey Beingana I have been a leader since my early school life. When I opted to do Pharmacy, I discovered it is nothing without the best health policies, and leadership. I saw an interconnection between leadership and health because health is more into the policies that are formulated, and the decisions that are taken. RPSA has been one of the most active students’ associations in the country. What would you attribute this to? We have leaders and patrons such as Afadhali Diallo and Israel Bimpe, the current president of IPSF that encouraged us to have an impact in society. We started realising our potential and with students who had a vision for global health and therefore stopped focusing 100 % on class work and we thought of impacting society and focused on projects that are beneficial to society which attracted International attention. What are some of the association’s contributions to this country? We have had a nationwide campaign about diabetes that has raised awareness to Rwandans about diabetes and other NCDS, we have had nationwide campaigns in all the prisons of Rwanda about TB and the dangers of homosexuality and their mindset and professional awareness that we did in all secondary schools inspiring students on career guidance and leadership trainings. We have students who have gone for young African leadership in Nairobi through our association’s recommendations. You will be hosting the International World Health Symposium. Why was Rwanda chosen to host the symposium? I bid and won the hosting of the symposium that will be hosted in Rwanda so I will be in charge of program and content. The symposium brings together all students that do health related fields together with professionals from all over the world. We won the bid because of our history, having hosted other events like African Pharmaceutical Students Symposium, and Rwanda being a conference hub, increased our votes in the bid. We were voted anonymously against India and we won because people put so much trust in Rwanda. RPSA that I was leading at the time, having been the best pharmaceutical association in Africa and being the best contact person also contributed to the number of votes. As the African Regional Projects Officer of IPSF, how ready are you to impact the region? On a daily basis I work on public health projects, professional development and pharmacy education. We intend to host trainers’ development camp for selected students who will train to be regional trainers. These are regarded as crosscutting ambassadors who will train others on crosscutting issues about leadership in projects and finance, on the regional level. Public health is about promoting projects that are customised to countries for example, we customised a project on Ebola eradication in Sierra Leone and it was successful. We customise projects’ problems in countries but also projects such as bleaching (‘Beauty beyond colours’) cross cutting in Africa and equip students with interpersonal skills. Most of our work is online but we follow up to ensure that projects are implemented in a given country. Last words I would encourage all students to think outside the classroom and impact the society. We need to put to use what we are taught in the classroom.