Neema Mboya summed up her orientation toward the future by stating, “If you have a dream don’t just sit there. Gather courage believing that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” She realized her dream under iAGRI as one of its student fellows and completed an M.S. degree in Dairy Science and Technology at the University of Zimbabwe. Her program was administered by RUFORUM.
She took leave of her employment with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries as a Livestock Officer at Nkasi District. It was in her words, a dream job, but that she remained dreaming about post graduate degree training as a stepping stone to something better. The AGRI scholarship through RUFORUM came at the right time for her. She explained that “I used this platform to make my ultimate dream come true. I wanted to establish myself academically in order to apply for more responsible positions and to broaden my dairy technology knowledge base.”
Her thesis research was on the compositional and microbiological quality of milk produced by small scale farmers in Hai District, Kilimanjaro region. Neema explained that most of the milk in Tanzania is produced by pastoralists, such as the Maasai, and small peri-urban and urban farmers. Ninety-five percent of milk sales are not monitored or regulated. Thus, associated food-borne zoonotic risks associated with these sales are of great public concern as is the need to protect consumers from them. The microbial quality of milk produced by small scale farmers in Tanzania has not been well determined. Neema’s study established that about 80% of the milk samples tested passed milk quality tests as per East African Standards and that bacterial counts were consistent with those associated with good quality milk.
Neema expressed special gratitude to iAGRI for having shaped her career path by offering other capacity building programs during her studies. “I improved my performance at work by acquiring leadership skills through the webinar leadership courses offered by iAGRI. And, in addition to leadership and scientific data management training, I acquired practical knowledge about how to assess milk quality, including the collection of related data, as well as its analysis and interpretation.
Currently back at her previous job as a Livestock Office in Nkasi District, she indicates that her studies unlocked new opportunities in the animal industry and that she looks forward to engaging in further collaborative research as part of a new Global Animal Scientist (G