“The use of modern technology and worldwide holistic education motivated me to apply to IE, as I am passionate about digitalization and its impact on our social, health and business environments.”
Peace Kuteesa, Uganda
Co-founder of Zimba Women
- Program studied
Boosting female entrepreneurship, innovation and resilience worldwide
Peace Kuteesa’s greatest inspiration is Winnie Byanyima, Uganda’s first female aeronautical engineer. Winnie worked hard to excel in a male-dominated field, which propelled her to become the head of Oxfam and later UNAIDS. Not only was she able to balance her workload and personal responsibilities as a mother, but she remained approachable despite her success. Peace recalls meeting Winnie two years ago, where the iconic Ugandan offered words of encouragement that she cherishes to this day.
Throughout her career, Peace has been committed to fostering gender equality for rural women and youth. As Co-founder of Zimba Women, she and her team provide the tools, technology platforms, business training and mentorship that female-led SMEs need to manage and scale up their businesses, both in Africa and internationally. She leads her team in their leadership and economic empowerment activities, which encourage rural youth and women to pursue their ambitions.
In addition to Zimba Women, Peace holds a number of leadership positions in other organizations. She is a board member of the Bluenumber Foundation, a US-based organization whose mission is to change how people and organizations own, manage and benefit from their digital identity and data. As a gender and digitalization expert, she also provides internal on-demand technical advice and support as Gender and Digital Transformation Specialist at UNDP in New York. In this role, she strives to help teams understand and overcome the digital divide that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, Peace worked with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in Entebbe, Uganda. She acted as the technical point of contact for the UN and USAFRICOM relationship, representing the UN Signals Academy at the USAFRICOM Women’s Communication Symposium in Stuttgart and Washington D.C. During this exciting event, she facilitated a discussion on the collaboration between the two organizations. What’s more, Peace was a project manager for the first UN Women’s Outreach Program targeting military women from around the world, where she organized IT and tactical communications equipment and logistics with the UN Military Signals Academy. While working with USAID in Uganda, she led several IT projects for the team and oversaw encryption, maintenance and inventory for all of the IT equipment.
“When the pandemic hit, I realized that my true motivation was to work with women in business and apply my experience and qualifications to help them through this crisis, ensuring that they remain competitive in both local and international markets. We launched the Zimba Women COVID-19 recovery program last year, training 200 women.”
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Peace realized that her true professional motivation was to work with women in business. Using both her experience and qualifications, she wants to help women get through this crisis and ensure that they remain competitive in both local and international markets. Last year, she and her colleagues launched the Zimba Women COVID-19 recovery program which trained 200 women.
Peace chose to pursue a master’s at IE University for its exceptional student body, blended curriculum and worldwide reputation for holistic education. The way the university incorporates modern technology into its courses also motivated her to apply, as she is passionate about digitalization and its impact on social, health and business environments. Peace’s student experience has been extremely rich thus far. She has gained valuable insight and new perspectives from her international classmates. On a personal level, she has also been able to expand her network thanks to daily interactions with fellow students.
Peace has really enjoyed the high-impact writing and presentation module by Jakov Bojović. At the time, the module was exactly what Peace needed—she was planning to leave her job and focus more on work related to women and digital transformation. It was also the beginning of the pandemic and a significant portion of communication shifted online. The course taught her to communicate more effectively, improve her technical writing and make impactful presentations online.
The master’s program was extremely useful in helping Peace build resilience during the pandemic. Throughout the program, almost all of the modules discussed the pandemic’s impact on local businesses, health, global trade and politics. This worldwide perspective helped inform the Zimba Women COVID-19 program and Peace’s work with the UN. With the insight she gained, she has proposed even better approaches to digital transformation and further guaranteed that the people they support recover not only economically, but from a governance and green economy perspective, too.
Looking forward, Peace hopes to use the knowledge she has acquired to further develop her strategy at Zimba Women to help women export their products internationally.