Rach was my very first friend at Makerere University in Uganda. We got our share of getting lost from one building to another together. Here is our interview about her scientific journey:
Thank you for doing this with me Rach;
It is my pleasure.
What is the full version of your name?
Racheal Natukunda Byamugisha
Who is Racheal Natukunda Byamugisha?
I was born and raised in Lyantonde, a district in the Western part of Uganda. I went to Ronald Ruta Primary School and graduate with such good grades that I was later accepted into Maryhill High School for my O’level. In 2006 I joined Makerere College School, commonly known as MACOS, for my A’level. I had such a wonderful time in MACOS and it was the beginning of some of the strongest relationships I have up to date. Upon graduation, I was accepted into Makerere University to pursue a degree in Science (Economics and Statistics) under the sponsorship of the Government of Uganda.
I naturally have a crazy desire for challenges and opportunities to learn more. Alongside my undergraduate degree, I got chances to do different jobs here and there:
- In 2009, I worked as a research officer for the Uganda Bureau of Statistics Baseline survey on child labour. This was in Rakai District, and my main responsibilities were to collect data, schedule and conduct focus group discussions.
- In 2010, I worked as a retail banking officer at Equity Bank Uganda – Oasis Mall Branch. My main role was to facilitate both local and international bank transactions.
- As a research officer for Interface Consulting in conjunction with SNV in 2011, I tackled a baseline survey on Child Absenteeism in primary schools. This was in Kyankwanzi district and my main responsibilities were to schedule and participate in focus group discussions with school head teachers, district officials and the managing director – Interface Consulting. I also collected, analysed and interpreted class attendance data from respective schools to make performance reports.
- I was also a research officer at HOPAN Consult (in conjunction with International Alert), where I did a national survey on Youth identity in Luweero District. I mainly collected and analysed data.
- Upon graduation, my first contract was still as a research officer with the Ministry of Works and Transport. I participated in a survey to measure traffic delay-time on major city inbound/outbound routes using GPS devices from Kampala to Bujuuko, and Kampala to Arua.
In September 2013, I joined National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) as a trainee in Commercial Operations. After six months of training, I was fully absorbed into the company as a Commercial Assistant in the Customer Contact Center. That job placement taught me a lot in dealing with customers and the art of conflict resolution by learning how to turn a disgruntled customer into a happy one in one phone call. In April 2016, I was promoted to the position of Economist where I got to use economics and statistics skills that I had attained at Undergraduate level. I have really enjoyed working as an economist and I work hard at it. This is why recently I was promoted to my current role.
What do you do currently?
I am a Senior Economist at NWSC. My main responsibility is to carry out economic and financial analysis of new and existing capital projects as well as regular project reporting. I also monitor and evaluate the company’s performance through compilation of monthly performance statistics and preparation of quarterly performance reports. It’s also my job to prepare regular corporation updates and briefs in relation to key national strategic policy tools such as NRM manifesto, National Development Plan, Vision 2040 which are presented to various parliamentary committees. I am also in charge of periodic indexation of the water tariff after analysis of the prevailing market conditions to ensure that the water tariff is full cost recovery. I enjoy extra activities such as speech writing, preparation of information papers, and corporation briefs.
As a way of advancing my knowledge about economics, I am currently enrolled for a Master of Arts In Economic Policy and Management at Makerere University Business School.
What have you found inspiring and challenging along this journey?
You know that cliché about how everyone runs their own race… super cliché but always inspires me. Every time I’m close to giving up or every time I get tempted to compare myself with my contemporaries, I remember that and instead focus on continuous self-improvement.
The main challenge in my journey has been that I have not found many mentors. I have encountered one or two but none available for continuous mentorship. I have however got a strong network of some inspiring people that I regularly seek counsel from. We need one another, you know!
What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I love networking, board games such as chess, cinema, reading, travelling and quality time with loved ones.
Any achievements & awards?
I received a scholarship from the Government of Uganda to pursue my undergraduate degree at Makerere University.
I am an active member of the Young Water Professionals, a group of young Corporates committed to ensuring climate change and environmental sustainability.
I am multi-lingual with fluency in four languages – English, French (medium fluency), Luganda and Runyakitara.
“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” ― Jim Rohn
Word of encouragement.
Know your truth and Live it Boldly.
Thank you Rach for taking your time to speak to me.