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#IWD2024: Ifakara ladies reflect on inspiring inclusion

March 6, 2024 15:56
#IWD2024:  Ifakara ladies reflect on inspiring inclusion
Ifakara ladies posing for the camera during 2023 International Women's Day commemorations. Photo Credit: Ifakara Communications

In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2024, the women of Ifakara Health Institute shared their perspectives on what it truly means to inspire inclusion, aligning with this year’s theme.

International Women's Day (IWD) stands as a global celebration of women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It serves as a poignant reminder of the strides made towards gender equality and underscores the ongoing efforts required to achieve it.

“When women aren't present, we must ask: 'If not, why not?' When women are discriminated against, we must call out poor practices. When the treatment of women is not equitable, we must take action. And we must do this each time, every time.”       


Six women from the three IHI branches—Ifakara, Bagamoyo, and Dar es Salaam—are stepping forward to share their insights on the significance of inspiring inclusion within their respective fields.

Commencing this dialogue is Janice Maige, a Data Scientist based in Dar es Salaam. She advocates for inclusive practices in public health research, emphasizing the vital role of incorporating women's experiences to address diseases that disproportionately affect them.

Janice stresses the importance of inclusive data in shaping interventions that genuinely address the public health challenges faced by women. Moreover, she strongly believes in the power of capacity building for women, stating, “When you educate a woman, you educate a whole community.”

Inclusion promotes a positive work environment

From the Ifakara branch, Rukiyah Mohammad, a dedicated Project Administrator who passionately advocates for the inclusion of women in the workplace. Rukiyah emphasizes the transformative impact this has in fostering diverse perspectives, collaboration, and cultivating a positive organizational culture. 

For her, International Women's Day serves as a critical moment to not only celebrate the achievements of women but also to reflect on the progress made and recommit to building a more inclusive and equitable world for all. 

Inclusion, more than just a buzzword

"Embracing inclusion is more than a buzzword—it's the heartbeat of a thriving, diverse workplace," emphasizes Naomi Urio, a dedicated Research Scientist based in Ifakara. 

In her role, she has seen how fostering an inclusive environment sparks creativity, fuels collaboration, and ensures that every voice, regardless of gender, is not merely heard but genuinely valued. For Naomi, the significance of Inclusion and Women's Day goes beyond mere observance—they serve as the driving force behind her vision for a world where every individual can flourish. 

Inclusion is blending ideas regardless of gender

Inclusion involves merging ideas without considering gender distinctions. Jacqualine Mgaya, a passionate Research Scientist based at Ifakara, emphasizes the significance of inclusion, particularly in the field of science.

As a female scientist, she believes in valuing and blending ideas from all individuals. According to her, " Inspiring inclusion means creating a space where everyone’s idea(s) matters regardless of gender.”

Jacqualine believes that Women’s Day signifies a moment to celebrate the incredible contributions made by women globally and to advocate for increased inclusion everywhere in all aspects of life.

Empowering women to lead

Adelina Charles, the Ifakara’s Bagamoyo Branch Manager, takes a moment to reflect on the profound significance of International Women's Day. Being a woman in a managerial role, Adelina is passionate about encouraging her fellow women to step into leadership positions, becoming influential figures who inspire resilience and excellence across all fields.

She emphasizes the importance of breaking barriers and accelerating opportunities for women from all walks of life, recognizing that true empowerment comes when every woman is given the chance to shine.

Inspiring others through action

Floriana Kimaro, an administrative officer at Ifakara Health Institute, dedicates herself to fostering a positive environment where everyone can thrive and give their best. Drawing inspiration from resilient women who paved the way, Floriana sees it as her responsibility to inspire and guide younger women looking to her for support.

For Floriana, inspiring inclusion is not just a concept but a lived experience—leading by example and actively encouraging fellow women to excel through her actions. 

Recognizing the vital role women play in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces, Floriana believes that collective actions and support can contribute to a better professional environment for everyone involved.

Women in the innovation space

In the ever-changing world of innovation, Rachel Magodi, Community Engagement Officer at the Ifakara Innovation Hub (IIH), a program at the Ifakara Health Institute, believes in giving women equal chances to be active contributors to technological transformations. 

She strongly advocates for women to play a hands-on role in innovation and tech, not just observing from the sidelines.

Empowering women’s voices in science

“Being a female senior research scientist, I conduct my scientific duties and play a leadership role in the projects that I'm working on,” says Dr. Deborah Sumari, a Senior Research Scientist at the Bagamoyo branch.

She also emphasizes the power of inclusion for women, underlining that when women are included in decision-making and given the opportunity to voice their opinions, they can make significant contributions to innovations in scientific advancement across various disciplines.

As we celebrate International Women's Day in 2024, let the powerful messages from these remarkable women inspire us to reach for a more inclusive future. Together, let's persist in amplifying the voices of women, paving the way for a world where every woman is truly empowered. 

Happy International Women's Day 2024!