Name: Kevin McParland
Course taken: MA in Development Studies (completed 2008)
Current work title / position: Programme Officer, Link Community Development Ireland
“In Kimmage DSC, the facilitation styles and participatory approaches of the course tutors relies greatly upon tapping into the experience and skills of the participants in the programme. For me, such an approach to learning was crucial to achieving a holistic knowledge and critical understanding of complex and challenging development issues. This was further enhanced by the programme tutors at KDSC being cognitive of the needs of participants as unique learners. Discussion and debate, reflective practice and active learning methodologies were just some of the key elements used to create an engaging and innovative learning environment.
Outside of the classroom, the atmosphere created by the aesthetically beautiful surrounds of Kimmage Manor, as well as the close-knit community of staff, students and regular visitors, undoubtedly established an environment conducive to a luminous personal and academic experience.
After completing an MA in Development Studies, I started working with Link Community Development (LCD). LCD works to improve access to quality education in sub-Saharan Africa. Our School Improvement Programmes currently reach over 2,600 schools in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda. LCD Ireland also promotes and supports Development Education in Irish schools through its Link Schools Programme and Global Teachers Programme.
My work as a Development Education practitioner with Link Community Development often requires the ability to draw upon the experiences and knowledge of participants as a starting point for working with groups. Such approaches were to the forefront of my learning experience at KDSC. By making best use of the skills and knowledge I developed, and my overall academic experience at KDSC, I was equipped to instigate projects and initiatives that hopefully will impact positively in the Development Education domain. This is possible by drawing upon the learning about every aspect of programme management that was delivered by KDSC, from project planning, leadership and group facilitation to monitoring and evaluation.
As a general aim, I see a key purpose of my work being to instil in our Development Education programme participants the opportunities, confidence and skills to undertake action orientated projects at a local level with a global focus. The KDSC approach of exploring and examining development issues at both local and global levels has been crucial to helping achieve this outcome in my own practice.