Our Country Director in Mainland Tanzania, Gloria Kahamba, started her journey with D-tree seven years ago as a Project Coordinator. Since then, she has tirelessly been working to improve the health outcomes for people in Tanzania. In February, she stepped into her new role as Country Director.
When I think about digital solutions for health today compared to when I started, the field has grown so much and I see every day now how technologies improve health systems, right here and right now, says Gloria.
Gloria joined D-tree seven years ago as a Project Coordinator. At the time she hadn’t been much exposed to digital health but was curious about it as she was exploring what her specialty within public health should be. She had just completed a Master’s Degree in Public Health in the US and initially, her interest was both in public health and medicine but after reflection, she decided that public health was where she would make a bigger impact.
I realized I wanted to work at a population level rather than an individual level and once I had figured this out, I just had to decide what exactly I wanted to do in public health since it’s quite broad.
Gloria is a member of the Africa Careers Network (ACN), and in 2014, was put in touch with Ed Brakeman, who was also involved with ACN and the Healthcare sector on the continent. Ed had shared Gloria’s profile with Marc Mitchell, founder of D-tree, who was looking for talent to join the organization. She got connected with D-tree and met part of the team in the D-tree’s office in Dar es Salaam. After a few conversations, she was offered a job as Project Coordinator. She was excited.
I really liked the people and the culture at D-tree. Everyone was friendly and approachable, and I have only continued to appreciate the culture over the years. There is really a genuine commitment and dedication to our mission.
During her time as Project Coordinator, Gloria worked with colleagues using Mangologic (now called Logiak) platform to develop applications and dashboards. With Mangologic, you didn’t need coding skills – understanding the content and logic and paying attention to details were enough. The job was very hands-on and apart from developing apps, she also conducted fieldwork and built the capacity of Community Health Workers, health care providers, and partner staff, as well as attended conferences and events.
After some time, I started managing a project and gained some project management experience and was promoted to Senior Project Coordinator. Later on, I took on a job as Project Manager, and then Program Manager, overseeing several projects and the team and being more involved with office management, finances and operations. I also managed government and partner engagements.
She is currently transitioning from the Deputy Country Director role into her new one as Country Director. The job is varied and she will be working on D-tree’s strategic growth in Tanzania, partnerships and engagement and to some extent also continue to oversee programs, though that primarily sits with the Deputy Country Director.
Leadership and team motivation are of course really central to my role as Country Director and also, I highly value work integrity and discipline. I think these have gotten me to where I am today, says Gloria. But I give all the glory to God.
In 5 years, she wants D-tree in Tanzania to be the obvious digital health partner for health systems strengthening for the government.
I also want us to be able to better show our impact, and I want to see more research that really demonstrates our contributions in Tanzania.
When Gloria is not busy working, she enjoys cooking and is currently learning how to cook Italian dishes.
I’m still working on finding my signature dish, but I really like pasta-based dishes with meat sauce; and I love cheese!