Staff Profile: Astridah Katalyeba

Astridah Katalyeba is SEGA’s new Deputy Director. This profile highlights her past work and achievements, her history with SEGA, and her new role at the school.

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Astridah Chisanga Katalyeba was born and raised in Zambia. She was the first born of 13 children! Her father was a primary school teacher. Astridah attended University of Zambia and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1979. After graduation, she moved to Tanzania, where she has lived ever since. She became a Tanzanian citizen and worked as a student counselor and as a teacher, teaching Geography and Mathematics. She had six children, all of whom are now graduated from University and working. Before joining SEGA she was the Headmistress of Askofu Adrian Mkoba Secondary School. Her school was selected by the Ministry of Education and Culture to pilot a project called GSES (Girls’ Secondary Education Support Project), which was very successful.

In 2008, SEGA’s founder Polly Dolan put out an advertisement for an educational coordinator. Astridah responded to the advert and got the job! As SEGA’s first coordinator, Astridah streamlined all support functions for the vulnerable girls in SEGA’s first day-program for non-formal education students. Astridah left SEGA in 2010, the year her husband passed away, but she remained on the Board of Directors as she worked as Assistant Dean of Students at Mzumbe University. After Astridah retired from Mzumbe University in 2015, Polly asked Astridah to return to SEGA to be an advisor to the Headmistress and Director for six months. In January 2016, Astridah officially applied for the post of Deputy Director and got the job.

Astridah told us about her passion for SEGA and explained a little about her new role. “In 2008, it was only a handful of students,” she says. “It was challenging to put the dream into reality. As a Board Member, it was more of an advisory role, so it wasn’t as hectic. Now, in my Deputy Director role, I am responsible for so much more! I know how SEGA started and I know where we are going. I feel challenged to see it through, and I feel humbled and honored that the Nurturing Minds and SEGA boards have entrusted me with this challenge.” Astridah believes that SEGA is a unique and special school because of its focus on holistic education. “Other schools don’t bother to know where you come from, what challenges you have,” she said. “At SEGA, we carry the burdens of the girls to see them through and to make a difference in life, bringing them from one level to the next. Confidence-building, life skills, emotional support – other schools don’t have these different departments. The Education for Life and Entrepreneurship programs at SEGA are really one-of-a-kind, especially in Tanzania. This is why we are truly a change-maker school.” She explained, “People and organizations in Tanzania have put a lot of money into gender sensitization and female empowerment, but often those are just words. At SEGA, we put those words into practice.” We are lucky to have Astridah’s talent and compassion at SEGA!