- Course: MSc Environment and Development
- Year of graduation: 2012
- Nationality: Kenyan
What is it about the course that interested and motivated you to study it?
Prior to my MSc, I had been involved in community projects that addressed a number of environmental and sustainable livelihoods issues and challenges in both rural and urban communities in Kenya. My motivation to pursue an MSc in sustainability thus developed from a desire to advance knowledge and expertise to become more competent in my work with communities at grassroots as well as in delivery of organisational programmes. I was persuaded that a deeper understanding of environment-development nexus and climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation would develop my capacity to contribute more effectively in multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder responses to sustainable development and livelihood issues and challenges of the 21st century.
Why did you decide to study at The School of Earth and Environment?
The School of Earth and Environment was one of the few universities with an interdisciplinary MSc. course i.e. integrating ecological, social, economic and political dimensions of sustainability.
The school of Earth and Environment and the university in general provided me with an avenue to actively participate in different activities through which I gained insights on different social systems, cultures, economies and politics through interacting with students and lecturers from/with experience on different parts of the world.
What were the lectures and seminars like? And the teaching staff?
The seminars were thought provoking, passionate lecturers delivered powerful lectures and used assessment methodologies that are effective in helping one to understand ideas and concepts deeply and enduringly. In addition, being in the same class with inquisitive and passionate students also made learning mesmerising.
What are you doing now that you’ve completed your Masters?
Following graduation, I was offered a research assistant post in the Water, Land and Ecosystems Program at the Stockholm Environment Institute - Africa Centre. In this post I am involved in three research projects including the Economics of Land Degradation study in Western Kenya in which SEI is partnering with the University of Leeds. My responsibilities in these research projects include contributing in organisation of stakeholder workshops, data collection in the field as well as making contribution in publications that will disseminate research findings.
SEI Africa center in partnership with SEI York center were preparing to conduct a pilot air pollution study in Mukuru informal settlement in Nairobi to monitor indoor and outdoor pollution using mobile monitors and to understand the perception of the community regarding the effect of air pollution on their health. The study required a person with environmental qualification as well as understanding of social systems and dynamics in slums communities to support research and community engagement during the period of project implementation. I was recruited to assist in coordinating the project based on my strengths in these two aspects.
My advanced knowledge and skills, learnt through my MSc, have enabled me to effectively participate in developing and implementing research studies and knowledge articulation strategies that will inform policies and practices as well as application of tools and methodologies for water, land use, biodiversity and ecosystem services research and analysis.The expertise and leadership capacity that I enhanced through my MSc. have also enabled me to competently make contribution in multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder initiatives that contribute to advancement of sustainability.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about studying this course at The School of Earth and Environment?
The search for sustainability solutions can only become more resolute with skilled human resource to guide the process. A MSc. in sustainability at the School of Earth and Environment is one of the credible courses that will prepare one to take part in providing this much needed solutions. In addition, studying in a school with strong academic grounding coupled with avenues for professional and social interaction is quite beneficial in one’s career advancement and social capital thereafter.