She is one of the most iconic women in IPSF African Regional Office. She broke many barriers while in the federation. She’s one of the brains that brought back IPSF World Congress to Africa after more than 20 years. She is a leader. She is Mitchelle Masuko. Our Regional Media and Publications Officer, Kennedy Odokonyero had a chat with her on gender, career and IPSF experience. Here is the excerpt.
Have you retired from IPSF officially or do you still hold any position?
[I am] not retired. I am an alumni and ZPSA (Zimbabwe Pharmaceutical Students Association) advisor.
For how long have been involved/active in the federation?
Wow! You’re a grandmother! 😜😜
😂😂😆 There are some who date further back than me.
Your IPSF CV must be pages long. What were some of the positions that you held?
ZPSA Vice President 2012, IPSF contact person 2013, AfPS (African Pharmaceutical Symposium) Reception Committee Chairperson 2014 and 62nd IPSF World Congress Chairperson 2015-2016.
Looking back, what is your most memorable moment in your journey in IPSF?
I would say the 62nd World Congress. This was a really stressful, but amazing time for me. Many important lessons learnt both professionally and on a personal level.
Still thinking of the next question. 😀 I want to ask you something on gender. Trying to figure out how to put it. Got something! Do you have interest in gender issues and women empowerment?
I do have an interest in women empowerment. Being the first born in a family of 3 girls, l grew up being taught how to be independent and work towards achieving my goals. Education and empowerment are the most important things you can give a woman and success is guaranteed. I believe in woman empowerment as this will ultimately lead to success of a community and a nation as a whole. As for gender issues, I am all for gender equality, making people realize that men and women were created in the same light and therefore are equal and can achieve the same goals if given equal opportunities. I also believe that gender equality is not about which is the fairer or the most important gender but it is about sharing responsibilities equally, supporting each other- men and women treating each other with respect and building nations together.
Wow! That’s really inspiring. I will make sure my little sister reads it.
Do you think organizations such as IPSF are giving women the space to occupy top leadership positions?
Oh yes! Looking back from the time l have been involved with IPSF, women have held various top positions from President, Regional Chairpersons, Coordinators and others. In IPSF, it’s not about gender, it’s about electing a person with capabilities.
What advice would you give to a girl who wants to walk a path similar to yours in IPSF?
Making a difference is not rocket science. All you need to do is be involved, be available and be committed to being a part of the progress.
What are you currently doing? I mean as a pharmacist.
At the moment, l am working as a community pharmacist and l am a Masters in Health Service Management candidate.
10 or 5 years from now, where do you see yourself?
In 5 years, l see myself involved in capacity building in resource limited settings and overtime be a driving force of global health change
Any last words?
To all the ladies in IPSF, as we celebrate women’s month remember this, beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself, find out who you are and do it on purpose. In all you do strive to go beyond expectations.
Thank you very much Mitchelle for sharing your story.
Most welcome. This was fun lol.