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Story and Perspective

Five Questions with Joseph Komwihangiro


A Passionate Advocate for Women & Adolescents

Pathfinder is pleased to introduce our new Country Director for Tanzania, Joseph Komwihangiro.  A medical doctor with more than 15 years of experience leading and managing donor-funded health programs in Tanzania, Joseph combines his technical experience with his passion for helping women and young people. Welcome, Joseph!

What excites you most about joining Pathfinder? And why are you passionate about sexual and reproductive health?

I have known of Pathfinder for many years—and I now realize that I did not know enough about how amazing this organization is! Since I joined, every day is better than the last, and I am learning something new every single day. The diversity of programs, the people, and the culture are all exciting. I am also privileged to arrive when Pathfinder is launching big changes, which adds to the excitement. Over time in my career, I have learnt that women and, especially, adolescents matter. In countries like where I come from, women and youth are underprivileged and vulnerable and mostly unaware of the opportunities or the services available to them. Pathfinders work to challenge this, and I am passionate to be part of this movement.

What is one thing you have learned in your career that you think will help you most as you take on this new role?

I have learned that in any successful organization everyone has an important role to play. ‘Team work’ works! I look forward to being part of Pathfinder where we all contribute our strengths and bring together our positive energy to drive forward our mission.

What do you think will be your greatest challenge?

Some of our projects are closing in a few months, so I am focused on finding ways to continue our important work and to find additional ways to utilize our talented staff. Pathfinder has helped thousands of women in Tanzania, and there is still much work to be done.

You’ve worked in nutrition and sanitation and other areas outside of reproductive health—are there lessons you have learned from these experiences that you apply to this work? 

I have learned that problems faced by poor women and their communities in general are complex and intertwined and it is important to take an integrated approach.  Therefore, partnerships are important because no single organization can solve all these problems alone.

Pathfinder has a lot of strong partnerships in Tanzania.  Why do you think partnerships are so important to advancing global health goals? 

To address the complex problems faced by the communities we seek to serve, Pathfinder must work with different partners and collaborators—communities, the government, donors, the private sector, and other non-governmental organizations. Multi-sectoral partnerships are important because they bring together different expertise, experiences, resources, and passion in solving the problems. Pathfinder’s mission cannot be realized if other partners do not also realize their goals. This signifies the need for us to work with others and others to work with us to advance shared global health objectives. For example, here in Tanzania, Pathfinder is working with The Nature Conservancy on innovative Climate Resilience programs that are bringing critical sexual and reproductive health information and services as well as sustainable fishery and farming practices  to very remote communities.

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