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Barnabas Mwansa (2009)

Barnabas Mwansa

Barnabas Mwansa

I am very proud of my BA in Development Studies and pleased that I had the opportunity to earn the degree at Kimmage Development Studies Centre. I chose the BA in Development Studies programme at Kimmage for its international perspective. It is great with all the students from across the world participating in the programme.
If I could describe my experience in Dublin in a single sentence, it would be: Kimmage Development Studies Centre – a wonderful and magical place where happiness never ends! In fact, whenever I have a chance to visit Dublin, I will always visit Kimmage; it is not only a place of study but a place where development ideas burgeon. In one sentence ‘Development’ starts at Kimmage and never ends there, the Development course offered at Kimmage is excellent; the lecturers use methods that are dynamic, empowering and entertaining. Studying at Kimmage was an enjoyable, exhilarating and challenging experience. Whilst stretched to think and learn in the company of others, the knowledge and quality of the academic staff was very impressive; we even got the opportunity to debate openly “as peers” with faculty, which was extremely rewarding and allowed theoretical insights to be related to practice. The true experience with Kimmage is that it is people-centered, participative, holistic learning space.
When I came to Kimmage, I had many years of work experience on the ground in the development field. However, my time at Kimmage bridged the gap between field experience and theories as it provided an opportunity to grasp theory and practices and how it informed policies and other experiences of the broader development world, this in turn influenced my approach to development work. I took home the concept that development is about people and more so facilitating a process where people themselves determine their destiny. I came to believe that poverty is structural created by institutional frameworks and the mindset of both the poor and the rich.
With this in mind and the analytical skills developed in Kimmage, I joined the Catholic Relief Service in Zambia as Technical Advisor: Organizational Capacity providing backstopping and technical support on Organizational Capacity building to Six International Organizations i.e. World Vision Zambia, Care International Zambia, Expanded Churches Response Trust, Africare, The Salvation Army and Catholic Relief services and their sub grantees for STEPS OVC project in four provinces – (Luapula, Copperbelt, N/Western and Northern) including relevant government line ministries. I brought appreciative inquiry to life during my work, skills I long acquired from Kimmage.

Within 8 months of working with recommendation from Kimmage, I got a prestigious scholarship for Master of Science in Development Practice offered jointly by Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. Kimmage did not only open doors for my career progression, it became my pillar on which I could draw my writing and analyistic skill during my time on the Masters programme earning me a distinction at graduation. Kimmage foundation was a plus for my Masters Degree.

I am currently a Policy Advisor at Save the Children International/Zambia office, seconded to the Government of Republic of Zambia in the Ministry of Gender and Child Development on the USAID support project titled: – ‘Zambia OVC System strengthening Project’ with the overall responsibility of providing technical advisor on policy and regulatory environment for OVCs and Youth in Zambia. Particularly, enhancing the effectiveness of government systems in order to responds to welfare of OVC for increased access to basic services and Youth economic opportunities and Jobs.
I cannot underestimate the influence that Kimmage has had on my personal and professional life. I am grateful to Kimmage education system for shaping who I am and for the totally different life path I’m on because of my experiences. I would highly recommend Kimmage Development Studies Programmes. Kimmage has definitely equipped me further in undertaking assignments for the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations, such as the World Bank. It has provided a solid base to look at different factors in international development when implementing poverty alleviation programmes or in developing policies to address complex issues associated with developing countries and other emerging economies.
Therefore, as we join to celebrating 40 years of existence of this beautiful centre, I wish to say well done Kimmage and keep it up in changing lives. One thing is for sure, Kimmage is not only training people but also adding value to the development world and achieving social justice.

 

 

 

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