‘How my pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion shaped my ca­reer’

Hadiza Sal­isu In­gawa is from Katsina State. She has six chil­dren - five boys and one girl and hap­pily mar­ried to Dr. Sal­isu In­gawa, who was a direc­tor in the Fed­eral Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture be­fore he re­tired. Her mother is Ha­jiya Sa’adatu Kuki while her l

Sunday Trust - - TAMBARI - In­ter­view by HAFSAH ABUBAKAR MATAZU

IE­d­u­ca­tional back­ground started pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion at Garama Pri­mary School, Katsina, but be­cause my un­cle moved to sev­eral places due to the na­ture of his job, I changed schools a lot. I also at­tended Muduru Pri­mary School, which is about 30km from Katsina. I wrote com­mon en­trance and got ad­mis­sion into Govern­ment Se­condary School, Soba, Zaria. I spent only a lit­tle time there be­fore I got mar­ried and moved to the US with my hus­band. I con­tin­ued my se­condary ed­u­ca­tion there be­cause I had so much pas­sion for ed­u­ca­tion. I made sure I con­tin­ued with my stud­ies. Ed­u­ca­tion is very crit­i­cal in my fam­ily.

Af­ter that, I went to Lar­son Com­mu­nity Col­lege, also in the US and did an as­so­ciate de­gree in Food and Nu­tri­tion. When I came back from the US with two chil­dren, I sought ad­mis­sion into the Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity (ABU), where my hus­band was lec­tur­ing, and did my de­gree in Home Eco­nom­ics. Af­ter that, I went for my Na­tional Youth Ser­vice Corps (NYSC) pro­gramme at Women Teach­ers’ Col­lege, Katsina af­ter re­de­ploy­ing from Sokoto. Af­ter my NYSC, I started work­ing in the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Devel­op­ment Author­ity (FCDA) in 1990. In 1993, I went for my post­grad­u­ate de­gree at ABU in Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion. I went back in 2001 and did an­other post­grad­u­ate diploma in Guid­ance and Coun­sel­ing. As at now, I’m the head of Gen­der Unit of the Agency for Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, FCT Ed­u­ca­tion Board. Ca­reer I have al­ways had pas­sion for girlchild ed­u­ca­tion. So I did sev­eral cour­ses in gen­der main­stream­ing and is­sues. But since I started work­ing at the FCDA in 1990 as a teacher, I grad­u­ally moved to post­grad­u­ate lev­els 9, 10, 11 and kept go­ing. I was posted to sev­eral schools. I also worked in the women ed­u­ca­tion unit of the FCDA, where I spent about 7 years and moved to the De­part­ment of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy where I am now. I moved from one de­part­ment or unit to an­other, but fi­nally, I’m now the head of Gen­der Unit. I have been work­ing in the FCDA all my life. But I was also work­ing at the ABU, where I was deal­ing with women in the adult ed­u­ca­tion unit, which is where I fully de­vel­oped my pas­sion for gen­der is­sues. Chal­lenges Hon­estly speak­ing, I think the chal­lenges I have faced were mainly confined to me be­ing a mar­ried women, mother and wife. It wasn’t easy be­cause I started very early. Com­bin­ing ed­u­ca­tion with other ac­tiv­i­ties was quite the task. But thank God that my hus­band was very un­der­stand­ing. He gave me all the sup­port I needed. But tak­ing care of the chil­dren and the house wasn’t very easy, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing our cul­ture. Grow­ing up

Be­ing the only girl in the fam­ily, I was over-pam­pered by my fa­ther and un­cle. Grow­ing up was re­ally fun for me. I didn’t have many chal­lenges. I was sup­ported by my fa­ther, my un­cle and my broth­ers to go all the way and achieve what­ever I wanted to achieve. The fam­ily sup­port sys­tem was amaz­ing. Fond child­hood mem­o­ries I was very smart when I was in school, so con­stantly see­ing my po­si­tion as the first was such a joy. Even if I wasn’t the first, I was al­ways amongst the first five. I was also a head girl. I was very slim. There was a girl who was fat­ter and we had a fight. We went be­hind the school and ev­ery­one gath­ered around for the fight. I thought I could fight her, but I was re­ally beaten up. I had to go home and ex­plain what hap­pened to my uni­form and the scratches. I can never for­get that. Life lessons If you want to achieve some­thing and have pas­sion for it, you have to be fo­cused and tell your­self that’s where you want to be. It’s not just say­ing you want to reach there. You have to work hard, be fo­cused and give ev­ery­thing you can to get it. You must be de­ter­mined and know what it takes and be will­ing to do it. If you be­lieve in your­self, put ev­ery­thing you can into it. Most re­ward­ing part of your ca­reer I re­ally have pas­sion for the girlchild. And I love see­ing when I achieve so much through sen­si­ti­sa­tion. I love see­ing the girls con­fide and trust me to re­veal what they go through. Whether it is sex­ual abuse or some­thing else, I find so­lu­tions and pro­vide help for them and see the im­pact in them and help them move for­ward with their lives. As­pi­ra­tions grow­ing up When I was grow­ing up I wanted to be a teacher be­cause I be­lieved in all those teach­ers I en­coun­tered to be bread­win­ners and sources of good. They seemed to know ev­ery­thing with­out a text­book. I also loved cook­ing and en­ter­tain­ing peo­ple. That’s why I read Home Eco­nom­ics. Joys of moth­er­hood It is not easy; it’s a lot. My last boys are twins and they were such a de­light when they were born. They are 21 now. It is won­der­ful. As a wo­man, there’s noth­ing more you can ask from God than hav­ing chil­dren and rais­ing them with the best char­ac­ter, dis­ci­pline and ed­u­ca­tion. How you met your hus­band My un­cle was mar­ried to his sis­ter and he used to come and see her. He no­ticed how ac­tive I was, so he told his cousin that he liked me, but that I was too black. He loved a lot in my char­ac­ter and that’s how it came to be. We were ba­si­cally fam­ily mem­bers al­ready. Most cher­ished at­tribute of his He was fash­ion­able and I loved how he paid at­ten­tion to him­self and what he wore. That’s what at­tracted me to him. I saw my­self in him. I also ad­mired his ed­u­ca­tional back­ground. Top five things on your wish list I want to see sex­ual abuse be­come a thing of the past. I also want to stop see­ing the al­ma­jiri is­sue. I al­ways ask my­self what I can do to stop this. I hate it so much. I want us to fully take re­spon­si­bil­ity for the chil­dren we give birth to. I want to see a cor­rup­tion­free civil ser­vice. I want to see a civil ser­vice work with­out self­ish in­ter­ests. I want us to have love for the work we are do­ing with­out brin­ing per­sonal in­ter­ests. I want to see the end of my life with a good legacy left be­hind so that when I go, peo­ple can look and say that Hadiza has im­pacted on so many peo­ple’s lives pos­i­tively. I also want to see my­self im­prove on my re­li­gion and be the best Mus­lim I can be. Favourite mu­sic I love tra­di­tional Hausa mu­sic and Su­rajo Mai Ashar­alle, Shata and the



re­cent one, Aminu Ala, as well as Boney M mu­sic from the 1980s.

First app you check in the morn­ing/bed­time

I don’t check my phone at night, but in the morn­ing I al­ways go through my What­sApp and check for the im­por­tant ones I need to re­spond to. Favourite fash­ion items I love long gowns.

Flats or heels?

Back in the day, I used to be a re­ally high heels per­son. I would walk so ma­jes­ti­cally in them. But now, I stick to flats for health rea­sons. What wouldn’t you be caught wear­ing?

Short clothes or any­thing im­mod­est. Favourite travel des­ti­na­tion I love the United States be­cause I grew up there. I love their sin­cer­ity in ev­ery­thing they do as well. I also love go­ing for Um­rah in Saudi Ara­bia for re­li­gious pur­poses. How do you re­lax?

I usu­ally just put on the Qur’an and lis­ten to it. It soothes me and calms me down. Favourite quote “Ka zama mai gaskiya.” Which means, be truth­ful. No mat­ter the sit­u­a­tion or cir­cum­stances, stick to the truth. Favourite food Tuwo with miyan taushe. Def­i­ni­tion of style It should be de­cent. Go with who you re­ally are, and it should give you the charisma to carry your­self. Be mod­est, but also fash­ion­able. Favourite fash­ion de­signer My­self. I de­sign my own clothes to the taste I want. Favourite per­fume, bag and shoes

1881 by El­iz­a­beth Ar­den. For bags and shoes, I like Nine West andAldo.

Mum’s ad­vice that stuck with you over the years

She would al­ways tell me, “Rabu da mu­tum, kama Al­lah.” Which trans­lates to, “leave peo­ple, but hold on to your God.’’ Hon­estly speak­ing, I think it has greatly worked for me. She would al­ways say that, “if God loves you, that’s all you need. I al­ways quote her. Favourite sport I used to play bas­ket­ball; I love it. I like pur­ple. For cars I like Toy­ota be­cause it’s func­tional, and I en­joy the spring or rainy sea­son. Beauty rou­tine Just the usual; noth­ing out of the or­di­nary. Role model Ha­jiya Baba Ari. She was our direc­tor. I love her ways. She’s hon­est, re­li­gious, hard­work­ing and car­ried ev­ery­one along. I think she has groomed me to be like that too.

Look­ing back, what would you tell a younger you?

I would tell her to take her fam­ily very seriously, be car­ing, lov­ing, ded­i­cated; and of course, be where you want to be and chase what­ever you are pas­sion­ate about. Don’t let any­thing dis­tract you from what you want to achieve.

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