20 Questions with Dr Betty

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Tea with Dr Betty Okot

Organisation: Makerere University, Uganda

GPI role: Early-career researcher


We sit down with Dr Betty to talk about parenting, where she comes from, what she does for fun, and her love for mashed pigeon peas.


1. What is your role at GPI and what do you enjoy the most about your job?

I am a postdoctoral researcher. My role at GPI is as an early-career researcher.

What I enjoy most about my job is that it allows me to learn every day, to interact with people in their own spaces, and to create a better understanding that is not judgemental or based on assumptions.

2. Where are you currently based? 

I am based at Makerere University in Uganda.

3. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the northern part of Uganda.

4. What are your qualifications and where did you study?

I obtained my first degree at Makerere University - a BA in education, majoring in English language and literature. I obtained my PhD at the University of Keele in the UK, majoring in sociology, land, and culture in a post-conflict context.

5. If you would describe yourself as an animal, what would you describe yourself as?

I would describe myself as an elephant. Elephants move gracefully and peacefully, they are intelligent, have a good memory, and are family-oriented.

6. Do you have any siblings? If yes, how many? 

I come from a big family! I have eight siblings.

7. What do you think is the coolest thing about parenting?

The coolest thing about parenthood is the ability to nurture others through the duty of care that has been provided to us as parents by God, and being in a position to set a good example for our children.

8. How do you like your tea?

I like my tea with hot milk, spiced with cinnamon or lemon grass and with sugar or honey. I have a sweet tooth so it has to be sweet.

9. Do you have any unusual/hidden talents?

Some of the talents I have include acting and poetry. I love poetry. I used to write poems but never published any. My kids also force me to dance sometimes.

10. If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I would love to go to Egypt, down the Nile River and explore the beauty and rich history that nature has to offer.

11. What food do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy mashed pigeon peas, pasted with peanut butter and I eat it with shea butter. That’s one of my favourite meals to cook when I have time to be in the kitchen.

12. Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I’m a night owl.

13. Do you have any pets at home? 

I have no pets due to allergies but one of my kids loves rabbits.

14. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

It would be the power to teleport for the convenience of easy transportation.

15. Are there any books, movies, or TV shows you're currently obsessed with?

I’m currently reading two books, one by Richard Dowden titled Africa, and another one by Mariama Bâ titled So long a letter.

16. What do you do for fun when you’re not working? 

I spend time with my kids and I also love cooking.

17. Who do you look up to?

The list is quite long, but at the top of my list are my parents, followed by Nelson Mandela and African writers who address the issues around pre- and post-independence.

18. What motivates you to keep going when you feel demotivated? 

My children inspire me. I am also inspired by the desire to see change in disadvantaged communities and the desire to do better and inspire change and make the world a better place – especially for children.

19. What’s your favourite season of the year?

I love the Christmas season! It’s a perfect season to spend with family and to reconnect with yourself and the people that are close to you. 

20. What do you love the most about your country?

Uganda is beautiful. I love the diverse history, culture, and overall friendly people.