March 14, 2024

5 Questions with Sabine Umuraza

Our monthly check-in with staff from around the world. Learn more about the people who work at CHAI.

Sabine Umuraza

Title: Senior Associate, COVID-19 Therapeutics
Location: Kigali, Rwanda
Start date: September 2015

Please tell us a bit about your background and first experiences working at CHAI.

In 2015, I was browsing the net and found a job advert for a CHAI Nutrition Program data collection position in Rwanda. The role aimed to assess the perception of fortified blended food packaging. I was still an undergraduate studying statistics at the time. I had never heard of CHAI prior to that, but I wanted to establish a career path as early as possible. So, I did a background check on CHAI to have a better sense of the organization and how it operated.

The advertised role was a perfect fit. It was everything I had been looking for, as it matched my academic qualifications as a statistician. This is how I joined CHAI in 2015.

A year later, I moved to the hepatitis program. We had a slow start, but the health sector work and our achievements at the time inspired me. In 2017, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in public health, hoping to make a bigger impact in global health. I didn’t want to stop working entirely, and I was grateful I had the flexibility and support to pursue my master’s degree in the evenings while continuing to work.

1. What’s the best thing about your job?

There are a few things I like about my job. I like our mission to save lives. I also like that I get to work with brilliant colleagues from various backgrounds and with different expertise, which has inspired me to grow in many ways.

2. In your experience, what skills are the most crucial to succeeding at CHAI?

In my experience working at CHAI, political sensitivity and advocacy skills are crucial. CHAI works with governments and various stakeholders in partnership to drive country-wide health solutions. So, it is important to know what to say and how to say it to ensure that, ultimately, we achieve the change that communities need.

3. What are three words that describe you?

Considerate, resilient, reliable

4. What is your favorite quote of all time and why?

Don’t stop because you’re tired. Stop because you’re done! This quote reminds me to keep striving toward my goals despite any challenges or obstacles that may arise along the way.

5. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring three things with you, what would they be and why?

Knife: Can help prepare me food and start a fire.
A fire starter: This can help to start fires for warmth, cooking, and signaling for rescue.
Water: To hydrate the body.

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