I a rigorous and challenging course at The School

I
have always been intrigued by the question of sustainable development in the
developing nations like my home country Kenya. I have interrogated the causal
factors which may have caused underdevelopment or lack of it. It is this
mystery filled with these unanswered questions that have borne the desire and
enthusiasm to understand deeply what are the key issues and the development
problems faced by the developing nations. I am persuaded that an academic
discourse would contribute to the building blocks towards answering these
questions whose answers will have a ripple effect in my society. The MSc
Development Studies will build on my work experience and my undergraduate studies
to offer me a theoretical framework to help me find these answers.

 My Undergraduate studies in Environmental
Science at Egerton University provided a comprehensive exposure to Environment
and Development issues that are necessary for sustainable development. My
educational background and work experience have endowed me with knowledge and
skills to pursue such a rigorous and challenging course at The School of
Oriental and African Studies, University of London.  I bring along with me a fundamental experience
from the corporate and the NGO world, as well as the desire to learn and zest
for challenges.

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The
debates on linkages between environment and development have also intrigued and
stimulated my passion for Development. I have since become a close follower and
avid reader of the environment, governance and development issues and how they
are interlinked. I learnt that issues on global governance agenda are complex
and cannot be managed unilaterally by states and, therefore, both the
governments and Non-Governmental organisations need to collaborate.

My
volunteer stint with African Development Solutions (ADESO) gave me a unique
opportunity to apply my knowledge base into a real-life situation and added
tremendous value towards the attainment of my professional goals. At ADESO, I
worked with the community services’ department whose core mandate was to help
local communities diversify their livelihood options and strengthen their local
economies alongside giving them a voice at the local and international stage.
The approach of delivering projects employed by ADESO thrilled me because its
project design and implementation were community led and community-owned. This
meant that even the solutions thereof will be owned. For me, this was a strong
depiction of sustainability of projects and I gained a deep insight if this
model was translated into a development arena. My belief that development must
come from within, not outside sources is something that I would like to
practice in future and also influence at the policy level as well as community
level. This experience further illuminated my understanding of the links
between Governance and Development especially on how non-state actors can
foster participatory approaches to development.

With
the desire to delve more into development, I collaborated with two of my
friends and came up with a youth group whose focus is sanitation, girl-child
education and environmental sustainability. Mentoring school going children
especially girls is inspiring and gives me fervour and enthusiasm to work with
local and minority groups. This led me to collaborate with community-based
organisations and other movements which have since given me insights to
understanding the relation between environment, social movements and development
agendas. I am excited in spearheading campaigns for that which I love most.

My
current role in oil and gas industry with Tullow oil Kenya BV has put me in a
position where I work with the local and indigenous community in sustainable
community projects. I have been working with marginalised groups like the
disabled, women and the poorest where we address specific issues to these
groups and stimulate actions to improve their economic and social status. I
have acquired the skills and the drive to work in the development sector
through the company’s programmes on human rights, access to education, clean
water and capacity building for the business community to enable them to gain
knowledge that is essential for running their own business enterprises. The communities
are involved in decision-making for the choice of projects. This experience, as
well as the evolving understanding of the field of sustainable development, has
confirmed my interest in development more so the role development actors have
to play.

Further,
I have done research on Land ownership and rights and the contribution of land
and natural resources to livelihoods in Turkana. This was required by the
company (Tullow oil Kenya BV) to feed into the Land Access and Resettlement
framework. One of the key findings is that land and natural resources
contribute to the livelihoods of the people. This together with the Land
baseline studies I am currently undertaking have enhanced my knowledge of
research skills and intellectual capacity and prepared me for future research.
In the course of my MSc in Development studies, I am considering undertaking
detailed research on social movements, state institution and development as
part of my thesis or dissertation.

With
a strong commitment to social, cultural and economic development, I would like
to join your interdisciplinary programme which addresses development themes in
depth and in a wider perspective. The skills and knowledge obtained from this
programme will help me tackle constraints on development. At SOAS, I will meet
brilliant minds from across the world and share thoughts on the main issues of
development studies as well as explore cultural diversity. I am confident that
attending this reputable institution will enable me to harness my wide-ranging experience
and thrive in the promotion of good governance.

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Hi!
I'm Marcella!

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