Interacting with strong-willed Eng. Nesline Ogwe

Interacting with strong-willed Eng. Nesline Ogwe

Eng. Nesline Ogwe is the Scheme Manager at Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme situated in Nyatike, Migori County. The Scheme was at 100 acres when she joined and it has grown to 3,610 acres under her leadership. She heard her first gunshot at her line of duty. She is neither satisfied with just being good nor great but being unstoppable.

How has it been growing up?

It has been interesting. I was born back in July 14, 1980 in a big loving family in Southern part of Nyanza, Homa Bay County. I grew up a focused bright girl. Schooled at Lake Primary School with the likes of Felix Odiwour commonly known as Jalang’o. I went to Loreto High School – Limuru, scored A- qualifying me to undertake a civil engineering course from the University of Nairobi. In the engineering class, out of 60 students only 10 were female but it felt good, I excelled.

Then I got into the job market, married, did my masters from the University of Dar es Salaam. I am now a wife, a mother and a Scheme Manager. It has been a fulfilling, worthwhile journey. Fun fact, Homabay was originally known as Chich Onuno (Onuno’s market) until 1925 when the colonialists renamed it because it was overlooking the then Huma Hills in Karachuonyo.
Visitors from overseas pronounced Huma as ‘Homa‘and the residents adopted the name Homa Bay.

How did you join the Authority?

National Irrigation Authority then referred as National Irrigation Board reached out to the University of Nairobi and JKUAT department of Civil engineering for referrals and that’s how I got a call, did an interview and ended up working for the Authority.

How has it been working for the Authority?

Interestingly, I began as a maintenance engineer; in charge of vehicles, generator, electrical items e. t. c. (more than 13 years on, she remembers the vehicle registration numbers…. KAT 229…she laughs). Then I got a scholarship, went for my masters degree in Tanzania on a study leave and joined back as an engineer then later as a Scheme Manager in 2016.

Your life as a Scheme Manager.

It took me 5 months to accept this position. Three(3) days after reporting, floods came knocking to the area. I could not imagine surviving in Lower Kuja being situated in a harsh, dry area with no much amenities.

I finally accepted my new normal, re-adjusted, sought advice from other leaders and got into making an impactful difference to the community.

Tell me of some successes you pride in?

I take pride in my academic excellence. Scoring A’s to attaining a distinction in my master’s degree. I have never re-done any failed subject or done a supplementary exam. I also take pride of the growth achieved at Lower Kuja Irrigation Scheme under my leadership.

When I joined the project, it was at 100 acres and now we have expanded to 3,610 acres under production. The Scheme ventured into rice farming for the first time in my tenure and the farmers have embraced it whole heartedly.

Do you have fears?

Yes. I fear failure. I fear darkness. I am also acrophobic.

How would you describe a good working environment?

I would describe a good working environment as a space in which employees have peace of mind. A space where the staff involvement with their work itself, co-workers and management is well coordinated and there is room for personal development.

A good work environment makes employees feel excited and motivated to go to work and creates room for innovations hence high productivity.

Tell me about the scariest thing you have encountered in line of duty.

Sighing… “I came close to death. Actually, it was my first time to hear a gunshot. It was also my first time to differentiate between a pistol and an AK47. We had gone to Samburu to inspect some irrigation projects when bandits attacked us and took with them laptops, cash, phones and other valuables.” This scared me.

Any regrets in life?

I wish I did my PHD immediately after my masters degree when I was younger. (She
assures me she will still go for it)

One lesson life has taught you?

When faced with a challenge or setback, do not wait for someone else to take it up. Deal with it
yourself. The solution lies with you.

Set up stairs to your success; from the foundation to the top.

How has Covid-19 affected your life?

Contrary, I got the opportunity to spend 6 weeks with my husband and family continuously for
the first time in 13 years of marriage but on the other side, Corona has affected market/inputs
accessibility for the farmers as well as lose of income.

What do you do for fun?

I cook, bake, read and teach kindergarten children. She is currently reading ‘Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable’, by Tim Grover.

What keeps you moving?

I hate poverty. I hate seeing people suffering and this thought takes me out of bed knowing
that my sweat will contribute significantly to the Country’s food basket.
I am also not satisfied with being good. I wake up every morning aspiring to do be great, but
most importantly to be unstoppable.”