“I am not sure I’m a powerful woman, at least not yet. But I guess since the work I am doing is saving the lives of mothers and babies and also empowering health workers to do their jobs better, even during the pandemic, I think I am on the right path.”
We Care Solar knows that Feza Kabasweka Greene is already a powerful woman. As the Senior Manager for our programs in Uganda, she has been instrumental in bringing life-saving power to hundreds of thousands of mothers and newborns in rural Uganda. In honor of International Women’s Day, we wanted to share Feza’s story.
The path that led Feza to We Care Solar was not straight, and she wore many hats along the way. “I loved traveling to other countries so there was a time I wanted to be a flight attendant to have the opportunity to globe trot. Then there was the phase of wanting to be a chemist because of my proficiency in Chemistry in high school. But when I received a scholarship to do Economics, I pursued a Bachelors in Economics in Cairo followed by a Masters in International Development in Edinburgh. I hadn’t imagined a career in Public Health, but I always wanted to wake up to a job that would bring about real change in other people’s lives.”
Feza was working for a research firm in Uganda when she learned about We Care Solar. She appreciated that the Solar Suitcase is an innovation well tailored to its beneficiaries that directly addresses real problems in Uganda. “Research firms gave me an opportunity to research and provide evidence and solutions to problems, but We Care Solar’s mission gave me a hands-on opportunity to be part of a cause that saves lives, not just every day but every minute/second around the world where the Solar Suitcase is installed.”
When Feza gave birth to her son in 2019, her position at We Care Solar became personal and closer to her heart. “I can only imagine going through the physical and emotional experience of childbirth in the dark. I appreciate the work we are doing now more than ever. I also appreciate the work and the contribution of the midwives more, and I love to give back by improving their work environment and ensuring they have reliable electricity.”
Balancing motherhood and a powerful career, Feza takes inspiration from the women who influenced her throughout her life. “I remember in high school, the Vice President of Uganda came to speak to us on Career Day. I was intrigued by the fact that she was not only the Vice President but also a doctor-Surgeon, an athlete and, most important, a very present mother. And my mother is one of the strongest and most family-oriented people I know. She sacrificed her time and most of all her career to see that all her six children were raised right and achieved all that they set their minds to. She taught us to believe in our dreams no matter how far-fetched.”
Feza recognizes the value of women leaders in their own organizations and in society at large. “Women’s leadership is important because the perspectives, skills and talents that women bring with them not only have a great impact in their respective fields, but also inspire and give hope to the girl child that is greatly marginalized mostly in Africa. I hope my work will always bring hope, inspire, empower and save the present and next generation of women.”
Feza joined We Care Solar in 2017 and immediately impressed us with her dedication to our mission. “Initially my drive and passion for being part of We Care Solar’s mission and work in Uganda was because the Solar Suitcase was bringing about significant impact and saving lives of mothers and babies.” Without delay, she began working to finalize a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health in Uganda. After a full year of work, the government signed the memorandum and Uganda became our second Light Every Birth Country. “I remember holding the fully executed copy in my hands and thinking to myself now this is something to be very proud of.” Light Every Birth Uganda formally launched in 2018 and to date we have equipped over 1,400 last mile Uganda health facilities with life-saving energy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Feza Kabasweka Greene, MSc, Senior Program Manager, Uganda, has a background in impact research and policy analysis. Prior to joining We Care Solar, she worked with Innovations for Poverty Action as a Research Associate on a project that evaluated the impact of the digital sub-wallets on women’s financial empowerment. She has also worked with International Growth Center, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), Grameen Foundation, DFID and Economic Policy Research Center. Feza holds an MSc in Africa and International Development from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Economics (summa cum laude) from American University in Cairo.