Name: Anna Guiney
Course taken: MA Development Studies (completed 2008)
Current work title / position: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programme Officer, UNICEF Nepal
“I really enjoyed studying in Kimmage because the approach to learning was different to other ways I have studied before. In many ways, studying in Kimmage is about empowering the learner to think and act based on their own experiences, and apply this learning to the way we think and act in the world we live in. It was a unique opportunity to learn with other students from other countries and I think this really enriched the way I learned. A lot of the learning and debates we had would carry right through our tea-breaks!
The lecturers in Kimmage have a unique way of blending what they know and getting the student to also think critically. This is a way of teaching I am also trying to develop into the ways I give trainings and awareness sessions today.
By challenging the way we think about development, Kimmage has given me a lot more confidence in how I approach problems in my work. And this is what Kimmage tought me- a critical eye presents the challenges but challenges can also present opportunities if we open our minds to seeing them. In my day to day work in Nepal, I still meet people who have worked in development for many many years and there are some who show they are reflecting on the work they do to learn and grow.
Others have not learned to accept mistakes, learn from them and use it as an opportunity to improve the situation which can frustrate them and others around them. I like to think that Kimmage has given me an awareness of the world and work in development in a way I felt prepared to look for work in the field. Practically, I find writing proposals, action plans and budgets much easier as Kimmage gave me the knowledge to be able to do so. And I also find that applying a gender sensitive approach in my work is a lot easier as I had an opportunity to address gender and development while completing my MA at Kimmage. However, the best part of what I have gained from Kimmage and I find useful in every part of my work is an ability to reflect on what we are trying to achieve. And this, I feel, is an approach I could not have learned in any other lecture based programme. Kimmage has the unique ability to facilitate your learning in a participatory manner so that you leave with an awareness – not a dictation of what is right and what is wrong”.