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Dr. Ruth Uwamahoro

2023 Scholarship Recipient:

Internship, Lwiro Primates Rehabilitation Center (February 2023-)

Ruth was born in Kigali, Rwanda in 1988, the first daughter in a family of 13 children. She was raised in Kigali; when the family moved to pursue farming in Rwanda’s Eastern Province in 2007, Ruth remained in Kigali and lived with an aunt.  Ruth started veterinary college at the University of Rwanda in Kigali in 2010.  In addition to her studies, she began a small poultry farm in her third year and had 360 laying hens. The income paid off the loan and helped cover her education expenses.  In 2014 she graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Uwamahoro initially worked as a veterinarian in a large poultry farm, learning lots about avian clinical and preventative medicine and management in general.  A college professor recommended that she apply for graduate training in wildlife medicine and management in Uganda. Ruth successfully completed her studies for the Masters in Wildlife Health and Management at Makerere University in Kampala between 2016 and 2018.  During her degree program, she was able to participate in the translocation of 110 Kobs (a type of antelope) from Murchison Falls National Park to Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda.

She returned to her native Rwanda in 2018, was a part-time consultant on pig and poultry farms, and completed the research for her degree in Kigali.  Her research looked at the occurrence of the bacteria Leptospira in rodents captured in communities surrounding Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.  Dr. Uwamahoro spent some time accompanying the Gorilla Doctors in their fieldwork—they had sponsored her masters programme, however there was never any guarantee of employment as a Gorilla Doctor.

For the following three years, Ruth worked in a small animal clinic in Kigali.  She had wished to continue her wildlife career, however without much practical experience in wildlife medicine, applying for jobs was a challenge.  To improve her chances, Dr. Uwamahoro applied to the Lwiro internship programme.  Having been a veterinarian for 8 years, Ruth was unsure of her chances at being selected.  She stated “When I first received the email confirming that I was selected, I was excited and shared the good news with my siblings, close friends, and lecturers from the College, their warm wishes motivated me.  I was really grateful for the opportunity.”

Although she does not rule out teaching as part of her career, she is mostly interested in practicing, hoping “to work with primates in the field in my country and to inspire fellow youth into sustainable development for future generations.”

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