27-year old Phiona Katusiime studies veterinary medicine at Makerere University in Uganda.
What made you choose a career in the animal health sector?
I have a passion for working with animals, so I decided to go for veterinary medicine to be an outstanding female doctor. I want to help farmers to succeed by advising them for example about nutrition and breeding, to mention but a few.
Did you experience any barriers in becoming successful in this field because you are a woman?
Yes, before I joined university friends told me, ”Phiona working with animals requires energy so are you really strong?“ or „The duration of the course is too long and by the time you graduate you will be too old, so that no man will marry you.“ I considered their opinions, but inside me I really felt I should go for animals. So I followed my heart and enrolled in veterinary medicine. Actually now I am so happy about my profession and don’t regret being a vet.
Who are your role models in the sector?
DR BALUKA SYLIVIA (president Uganda veterinary Association), when I see her on TV presenting about animals I feel I should be the next.
DR NALULE SARAH (lecturer at Makerere University), she taught me how to understand the different pasture species, at first it seemed so hard but when you love something you can actually do it so I even fell in love with the scientific names.
Based on your own experience, what would you advise woman who want to pursue a career in animal health and welfare?
I would encourage women to join the sector, all they need is to develop love and interest for animals. In class they should concentrate, dare to ask when they don’t understand, consult the library, internet and by doing so they will succeed. People think working with animals required physical strength, but actually it doesn’t. It requires the technical skills. Moreover, vet is well payed job and you will never sleep hungry with all these animals we have in Uganda. Actually you can even start earning while in school by doing field work in holidays.
How to you see the future of woman in the animal health sector?
I see it as a successful one. Going into animal sector makes a woman get employed easily, we will no longer see women moving on streets any more. Many opportunities exist for example you can become a researcher, or open up your own businesses.