Mary is a very good friend of mine; we go way back! I am excited to be featuring her story today. Here is our interview;
Hello Mary, I am excited to have you here today
Thank you for hosting me
Kindly give us your full Name
My name is Mbuliro Mary
What do you do currently?
I currently work with a private non-profit organization called Makerere University Joint AIDS program (MJAP) as a Monitoring and Evaluation officer. We offer free HIV prevention and care services to both adults and children, TB services, Non communicable diseases management and other diseases of public health concerns as well as adolescent friendly services. In my capacity I oversee data management and support implementation of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) activities that include planning, budgeting, performance reviews, data audits, capacity building for M&E, and mentorship among others. I am also engaged in different research projects as a statistician /data analyst, a role that I find very intriguing
On the other side I do wine processing, clothes branding, farming and also take mentorship sessions with Girls for Girls (G4G) to enhance my leadership and communication skills.
I also parent two sons who are aged 6 and 4 years, I am a wife and will soon be celebrating my 6th wedding anniversary this December 2020.
Wow! Congratulations upon making 6 years in marriage. Prayers for many more ahead.
Please take us through your journey of life
My life has been so unpredictable and full of exploration! Growing up, I was that child that’s so full of life and mostly open minded. I thank God I grew up with very strict parents who were disciplinarians but also instilled great values, most especially being God fearing and having Integrity. This shaped most of my life decisions and saved me from making grave mistakes. I must say I did not really have a constant dream of what I wanted to be once grown up. I hoped to become a medical doctor and follow in my Mother’s footsteps. However, during my O’ level, I realised that Biology was not a very interesting subject to me. I instead went for Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Economics at A’ level. I am a very proud product of the prestigious Trinity College Nabbingo – that was another taming ground for me. Combining my hard-work, determination, and discipline, I won a scholarship from the Government of Uganda to pursue a BSc. in Statistics and Economics at Makerere University – the best and oldest university in Uganda.
During my undergraduate degree, I enjoyed and excelled at most of my Economics courses with minimum effort. It seemed clear to me that being an Economist was finally my true calling. I also was an entrepreneur while at university. I owned a small cottage jewelry project but would also run errands for my mother’s friends at a small fee. These ventures on top of my allowance at university enabled me to live a lifestyle I could afford and fund. I successfully finished my degree program and got employment about 6 months after my graduation. Surprisingly, most of the roles I held were majorly Statistics and Monitoring &Evaluation (M&E) related. This is a field I have learnt to appreciate and also discovered I am very good at, despite the fact that I never thought I would be here. I now have 8 years of experience in this field with a Master’s degree in Management Studies in M&E from Uganda Management Institute (UMI).
As the saying goes, “learning never ends”, I have recently picked interest in Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and plan to specialize in that soon. I have worked under the supervision of various mentors whom I cannot thank enough for grooming me in this field. Life as they say is not a straight road, I have learnt to enjoy each moment as it comes and be present in all the stages of my life. I have fun but work as hard too. I have faced some troubles but most importantly I have learnt to face them with great courage and resilience.
You said you have faced some troubles along the way; please tell us about
The biggest challenge at the moment is having a job where I am required to report to work early and sometimes leave late depending on different circumstances at work. This cuts down on family time but I make good use of the weekends to catch up.
What inspires you to push further everyday?
Strong and courageous women in leadership and those serving in different capacities inspire me. My mother is one of such ladies; she is a practicing Medial doctor and public health specialist. She has been a strong pillar and role model for me and my 4 siblings. She has excellent managerial skills and has a very positive outlook on life.
My children are an inspiration too since I look forward to being a good role model to them. I am also greatly inspired by my husband who is not only very hardworking and smart, but has also encouraged and supported me to go for all my academic and career goals. He is a very good cheerleader of mine and challenges me to do better.
My employer also provides for a good work life balance as there are various kinds of leave to take in case I need them, for instance maternity, study and exam leave.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I enjoy family time with my husband and children, cooking and hanging out.
I also love spending time with my friends, these are mostly ladies that I met through school and university, we have such a good laugh but it is also a good forum to discuss what is going on in our lives, share challenges and mostly find solutions.
I enjoy social events like; work conferences, Rotary fellowships, toast masters international and other networking avenues. I love travelling and venturing nature and the wild. I am a over of books, I watch comedy or romance based series and theatre plays or productions. I also enjoy listening to live band music and dancing.
What are some of your greatest achievements and awards?
I have been privileged to have some of those. My achievements so far are;
- Pursuing an interesting, high-quality work job that has a positive impact for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Non communicable diseases and other diseases of public health concern, has purpose and gives me a lot of satisfaction.
- Being an author in publications for HIV/AIDS and Hypertension with support of MJAP.
- Being a mentor to various colleagues at work and other individuals that got them better opportunities but also enabled them make better life decisions.
- Gaining promotion from my previous roll as a data officer to my current position as a Monitoring and Evaluation officer due to the effort that I had put in, and still look forward to more.
- Maintaining a happy and healthy family life as well as a career
- Handling challenges, complexity and change in life.
- Demonstrating authenticity and integrity despite working in environments where it could be tempting to ignore these values.
- Pursued a Master’s degree in Management Studies in Monitoring &Evaluation
And for the awards;
- Best participant trainee in certificate of Good Clinical Practice (ICH-GCP) under Makerere University-School of public health and Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), November 2020.
- Certificate of oral presentation during the Uganda Society for Health Scientists 19 Annual Scientific Conference (August 2018)
What words of encouragement or quotes can you leave us with?
True success is reaching our potential without compromising our values. (Muhammed Ali)
One of the best and most difficult lessons you can learn in life is that no one owes you anything. You may not control all the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them. (Maya Angelou)
God is above all and He is in control.
Thank you Mary for the wonderful time. It was amazing catching up with you.