Meet Jennifer Auma: Lifeline’s Marketing Assistant-Environment

By: Nupur Savani

All of our work here at Lifeline is made possible by the incredible passion and drive of our team. We’re proud to introduce you to the talented individuals who power our work and mission.

“I hope for a pollution-free world in which women and children are not negatively harmed by their environment and circumstances. The work that I do at Lifeline creates cleaner and safer environments for women to cook and reside in.” ~Jennifer Auma

What brought you to Lifeline?

I have been working at Lifeline since 2010. I joined as an intern right after completing my diploma in Development and Social Studies, and a certificate in Education. At the same time, I took up some courses in entrepreneurship which got me into marketing. As an intern, I was doing trainings with community members on how to use energy saving tools, which is a big part of Lifeline’s marketing work, and that allowed me to transition into being a Marketing Assistant.

As the Marketing Assistant of the Environment team, what are the most important tasks of your role? What are the most challenging aspects of the role?

The most important tasks of my role are to maximize sales, conduct market updates, effectively market Lifeline’s products, and ensure that our customers are aware of other services we provide.

The most challenging part of my job is convincing the customers to purchase the product. Lifeline’s stoves are different from what Ugandans are used to, so it is difficult to convince them to change their way of cooking [over an open fire]. There is a lot of competition in the market because the stoves that are less energy-efficient are cheaper. So, part of my job is getting the message across that even though Lifeline’s stoves are slightly more expensive in the short-run, in the long-run they are more financially sustainable and energy efficient.

How do you overcome these challenges?

When I am in the field and I am struggling to convince people of the value of Lifeline’s stoves, I seek common ground with them. I try to look at the question from their perspective and meet them halfway in the conversation. I am also very good at maintaining my existing relationships with community members who I work to connect with other communities. I usually make a plan of the activities and goals of my fieldwork prior to going out in the field, which helps me foresee and strategize for the challenges I may encounter.

Given that a lot of your work is in the field, how do you recuperate from the challenges you face and all the time you spend away from home?

I spend the majority of my time in the field, so fieldwork has become a normal part of my job. I no longer feel tired or de-energized when I travel long distances and spend time away from home. The passion that I have for my job keeps me energized.

What aspects of your role push you to wake up in the morning?

I see myself as self-motivated – I love what I do – even the more challenging aspects of my job. However, my team and my customers push me to wake up in the morning. When I hear my customers say that they are happy because their lives have been transformed because of Lifeline stoves, I feel motivated to work harder.

What are the most important lessons about the field of sustainable development that you have learnt in your time at Lifeline?

I have learnt a lot about environmental protection and sustainability. I have learnt that its possible to sustain the environment through technologies such as the energy-saving stoves. I have learnt that sustainable development is a wholistic field: the stoves reduce risks of insecurity for girls and women, while also being inexpensive and environmentally sustainable.

What are some of your personal goals and what do you hope to achieve through your work at Lifeline?

I hope for a pollution-free world in which women and children are not negatively harmed by their environment and circumstances. The work that I do at Lifeline creates cleaner and safer environments for women to cook and reside in. When I meet community members, I know that my work is part of a greater movement towards equality.

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

The interactions with customers: when I hear and see how our work has bettered and changed people’s lives, I am inspired to do better for the community members because I know that the work I do matters.

Where do you find joy, both in and out of the office?

During my time working at Lifeline, I have found joy in learning about environmental protection and public awareness. I love interacting with customers and community members and seeing how Lifeline’s work has changed their lives positively. I also love traveling; I have been to every district in Uganda and I have been able to interact with so many different cultures and tribes across Uganda. I love working with people, and my time at Lifeline has given me so many opportunities for professional development and exposure in the NGO field.

What are you most proud of?

I have learnt and grown immensely during my time at Lifeline. I have become confident and independent in my work. I am proud of the relationships and connections that I have built with community members. All of the community members that we work with know me personally and that has taken a lot of hard work on my part.