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Staff Spotlight: Olive Bagwiza

Olive is a learner. She’s the type of person that wants to understand, to dig deep, and rarely does she take an answer at face value. This, paired with her natural curiosity and passion for people, are just a few of the many reasons why she is a perfect fit for our Monitoring and Evaluation team here at Bridges to Prosperity.

Women on bridge

Olive lives in Kigali, Rwanda and is Bridges to Prosperity’s Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator. Her passion for people and evaluating impact began early on. After high school in Uganda, Olive enrolled at Makerere University in 2013, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Population Studies. In 2015, she had an academic internship with the Kiboga District, where she was assigned to support the social assistance grant for empowerment by working with vulnerable people. This experience sparked more interest in working with communities for Olive. Today, Olive is attending post-graduate school for Monitoring and Evaluation where she is deepening her education to better assess the communities in which we work and the impact our footbridges can make for isolated residents.

Her job often includes hopping on a bus out of Kigali to a site that has either been identified for a bridge build, is under construction, or has recently been completed. She works to get to know the community, speaks with residents to understand their lifestyle both socially and economically, and identifies the barriers that the community faces in accessing vital resources and opportunities. She also speaks to communities post-bridge to understand how their lives change following construction, and serves as a vital liaison to external partners conducting rigorous research at Bridges to Prosperity footbridge sites in Rwanda

No matter the task at hand, Olive is constantly digging for more information to help Bridges to Prosperity become more data-driven when assessing our programs.

I love my job because I get a chance to associate with these communities, to learn what they’ve been going through and what the bridges have solved in their communities. When I get to a community that tells me the children are dropping out of school because they cannot attend regularly and are falling behind due to not being able to access school, it is so exciting to have an answer to those problems. When we build the bridge and the kids are able to go to school regularly, it shows that we do make an impact and it gives me the strength to do this again and again.