5 Questions with Nicole Kawaza
Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.
Please tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to CHAI.
I’ve always had a strong passion for efficiency and pursued undergrad and master’s degrees in economics to equip myself to think strategically and make decisions that optimize efficient outcomes within the economy. I joined CHAI Zimbabwe in 2019 as a program officer for the HIV Testing Services Team and worked my way up to senior analyst within the Tuberculosis (TB) team, eventually yielding the program manager role in 2021. Previously, I was a revenue compliance and audit specialist with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), specializing in customs clearance. My background has prepared me to help strengthen the public health system, given my experience in providing evidence-based decisions at ZIMRA.
1. What skills are crucial to succeed at CHAI?
Passion for the cause: Our TB team owes its success to a shared desire to make a difference within TB care in Zimbabwe. As an organization, I believe CHAI has made global strides across various diseases due to the passion of its teams to see progress within their program areas.
Excellent communication skills: One should always be able to articulate their mission effectively—whether they’re speaking to a donor or their next-door neighbor. That’s the principle I hold on to, which has proven to get the job done time and time again.
Self-motivation and resourcefulness: Taking initiative has helped drive and support CHAI’s success.
2. What is the best thing about your job?
Having an opportunity to make a positive impact in the world all while continuing to build my professional skills.
Having various responsibilities, including handling operational and programmatic budgets, developing concept notes for new public health initiatives, and speaking to community organizations — all on the same day — keeps me motivated.
3. When do you feel the most inspired by your work?
When I see tangible evidence of the difference we’re making in various disease areas and our community. Our work directly helps to make people’s lives better.
4. What is your favorite quote and why?
“Life is trying things to see if they work”~ Ray Bradbury
It proves that a life well lived is achieved through taking initiative. It keeps me driven to make a change wherever I go.
5. Your favorite word in the English language:
Nostalgia: Remembrance of things in your past, something we can’t relive or recreate yet we cherish so much.