Ugandan David Nyakahuma was an APO from 1997 to 2002 sponsored by the Government of the Netherlands. He is now the Avian Influenza Programme Manager for the Uganda Health Marketing Group.
“Before coming to FAO, I had a Bachelors degree in Veterinary Medicine from Makerere University in Uganda and a MSc in Veterinary Epidemiology from Edinburgh University in Scotland. After graduating, I spent two years working in the animal health sector - predominantly with cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and poultry. I was later transferred to the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture headquarters where I took charge of the epidemiology and diagnostics unit.
I applied for the APO Programme seeking career development, more professional challenges and international experience. The Government of the Netherlands funded me for four years – two years in the Regional Office for Africa in Accra, Ghana and two years at FAO headquarters in Rome. After those four years, the Netherlands and FAO co-funded another two year extension of my contract. That was a big personal highlight for me.
During my six years at FAO, I was the Technical Operating Officer for 19 Technical Cooperation Programmes (TCPs) worth about $9 million in total and I made 22 missions to project sites. My first mission, to Cape Verde, was a great learning experience as I investigated a suspected outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) with my supervisor and then drafted a TCP to assist in the control of the epidemic.
I took on increasing responsibility throughout my assignment, particularly in the area of project formulation and management. Over the years, my contribution became more and more appreciated. I was delighted whenever the disease control measures we implemented were successful and the diseases were brought under control.
My supervisors and I held regular discussions laying down strategies, planning activities and monitoring outcomes. My close working relationship with them gave me the morale, confidence and courage to work hard and progress. I also consulted with colleagues and senior staff members in other departments and organizations to assist me make better decisions.
The whole APO experience was life changing and I learnt a lot that I will take throughout my career. Since finishing, I have worked as an Animal Health Consultant (in Zimbabwe and Uganda) and as the National Coordinator of the Uganda National Dairy Farmers Association. My current position is with the Uganda Health Marketing Group - a not for profit company that works on HIV/AIDS prevention and control, reproductive health, child survival, Avian Influenza and malaria prevention and control."