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Catherine Sakala

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Education:

  • BSc in Entomology and Parasitology, 2008, University of Zambia

Current Employment:

Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock as Tsetse Control Biologist. In this capacity, she works to prevent Trypanosomosis using environmentally friendly methods. This involves planning and supervision of Tsetse control programs in general as well as livestock disease control programs and livestock development. The mission of the ministry is to increase livestock production and productivity through elimination of diseases, and thereby to contribute to food security and income generation. "I have had an opportunity to work with rural farmers since 2009 and have worked in 3 districts. My work with farmers ranges from trainings about livestock production disease control to demonstrations," says Catherine. She is currently conducting a small study with a colleague on Tsetse flies using geometric morphometrics to discriminate populations in an area where control was done but has been re-invaded. She says that her current job is very satisfying because she is using her scientific knowledge to help people directly through the services offered by her department.

Work History:

Catherine headed a team of villagers to construct a barrier of baited screens to draw the tsetse flies away from the area.

Home:

Catherine lives in Petauke District, which has a population of about 21,000. It is in the Eastern province of Zambia about 250 miles from Lusaka, the country's capital. About 60,000 cattle live in the district. The main sources of income are maize, ground nuts (peanuts), cotton, and livestock farming. Petauke is located in the Muchinga escarpment and most farming is done on a plateau. The Tsetse infestation and the most fertile land are located in the valley. Most of the land is protected because of being part of game parks, reserves, or forests.

Greatest Satisfaction:

According to Catherine, "Succeeding at something that really challenged makes me happy. I am a competitive person with myself. My parents and siblings worked hard and sacrificed a lot to get me to this point and I feel it is my duty to also contribute to someone being self-sustaining."

Future Challenges:

Catherine says, "The government is trying to stop corruption, which has really challenged many developmental programs in Zambia. Like most African countries, it has many political and social challenges, but I think the important thing is the political will that is being shown to build better lives for the Zambian people. There is an escalation of poverty levels and the marginalized are not able to access social amenities like education, good water ad health care etc." On a personal level, she plans to begin a master's degree soon and has been notified that she has qualified for an Australian Development Scholarship.

Interests:

Catherine loves sports, and says she was a tom boy growing up, learning all sorts of sports from her brothers. She particularly loves volleyball and played for the varsity team throughout college.

Catherine's Family:

The youngest of seven children, Catherine has two sisters and four brothers. One sister is a clinic officer and the other is a teacher. Two of her brothers are accountants and two are in sales. She has four nieces and five nephews.

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