Name: Mairead Heffron
Course taken: MA Development Studies (completed Nov 2008)
Current work title / position: Disaster Risk Reduction Project Officer, UNDP Mozambique
“What I especially enjoyed about being student in Kimmage DSC was the informal approach to learning, and the time given to share experiences with classmates. This was especially useful as many of the classmates, especially those from abroad were already engaged in development work.
The frequent use of participatory approaches instead of a traditional lecture style was something different, which I feel does not happen elsewhere. Being a small institution, there was a friendly atmosphere between classmates and between students and staff.
The Masters Degree enabled me to get my first professional experience in a development context with the Irish Aid UN Volunteer Internship programme. At present I am working as a Disaster Risk Reduction Project Officer with the UNDP in Mozambique The most relevant subjects for my present work which is a project management and coordination role, were the modules on project planning, as the emphasis was on building practical skills and knowledge in how development projects are planned, and monitored. The Political Economy of Development and the Sociology of Development modules, were also helpful in that they gave a good background to current development debates, and helped me broaden my understanding and indeed prepare me for my present work.
I also thought the Leadership and Adult Education and the Human Development modules were extremely valuable in terms of building skills for use in any work environment, and for focusing on the personal development of the individual. All in all, I felt that Kimmage DSC was a nurturing, and at the same time challenging environment, which provided me with the skills necessary for a career in development and for life in general”