MEMBER OF THE MONTH
NO START IS TOO SMALL!
Every student hopes to be employed immediately after graduating from University. This was not in any way different from my case. When I graduated from University in 2015, I did not immediately get a job. After realising that there was no certainty in being employed right after graduating from University, I vowed to take up any opportunity that would come my way. Thus when I was privileged to take part in the Rural Agricultural Livelihood Survey (RALS 2015) as an enumerator, I jumped at the chance. The Rural Agricultural Livelihood Survey (RALS) is a panel survey conducted after every three years by Indaba Agriculture Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) to get a comprehensive picture of the Zambia’s small and medium-scale farming sector. This survey is conducted in the rural parts of Zambia. I specifically worked in Chibombo and Mumbwa Districts. From this experience I gained analytical and probing skills. I also learnt that data collection was not just about filling out a questionnaire but that it contributes largely to the success of a research. It was from this experience that I learnt to commit myself to whatever I do regardless of whether it was considered by society as a job “worthy” of a graduate or not. My encouragement to the recent graduates is that “you need to be open minded to any opportunities available, you need all the experience from other opportunities to enable you to get your dream job”.
My name is Beatrice Nyimbili an Advisor for Demo sites and smallholder efficient agricultural water use with the Accelerate Water and Agricultural Resources Efficiency (AWARE) at the German Development Cooperation (GIZ). GIZ is the development agency of the German Government working with the government of Zambia to implement different developmental projects.
I am a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Aquaculture and Fisheries from the Copperbelt University and a Master’s Degree in Transformative Community Development from Mulungushi University. Other than being a numerator, I worked as a research assistant and independent consultant in research for different organisations from 2015 before I finally I joined GIZ in 2019. As an advisor I support the steering of our consultants in the field and monitor the implementation of 32 demonstration sites in Mumbwa, Mazabuka, Monze, Pemba and Choma showcasing water harvesting technologies and efficient water use practices. These demonstration sites work as training venues for smallholder farmers to learn how to use water more efficiently while remaining productive and improve their income and livelihood. I also maintain partnerships with different stakeholders at implementation level.
I have interest in community development, climate change adaptation and resilience among smallholder farmers. This is one of the reasons that I got interested to join the Zambian Women in Agricultural Research and Development (ZaWARD). Plus, I had met ZaWARD Chairperson Dr Rhoda Mofya- Mukuka during my days as an enumerator. She inspired me then and has remained my inspiration to date. I have not been a ZaWARD member for a long time but as a young professional in the field of agriculture, I feel very privileged to be part of a pool of seasoned women who are making waves and being the change we want to see in the sector. The importance of professional networking, mentorship and skills development that organizations such as ZaWARD offer cannot be over-emphasized. I know from personal experience that young women professionals face a lot of challenges, which may seem daunting at times. Being able to simply share experiences and learn from other women in the agricultural sector makes one realise that challenges can be overcome, and that the successful women we see today also started out small. They did not despise their small beginnings but used whatever opportunities presented themselves to improve their professional skills and advanced in their chosen professions. I am looking forward to what lies ahead and how I can use the opportunities provided by ZaWARD as a network to climb the corporate ladder in the field of agriculture and research.