Please tell us a bit about yourself, your background etc?
I was born in a district called Mchinji, in Malawi, third in a family of seven (I have four brothers and two sisters). I studied for a Bachelor of Education Humanities Degree, majoring in Linguistics, at Chancellor College, a constituent college under the University of Malawi, and graduated in 2010.
After teaching for three months, I joined the Malawi National Assembly, on an internship programme, in March 2010, and eventually got employed on a permanent basis in September 2011 as a Parliamentary Committee Clerk. I am still working in that position but currently on a study leave for the Master’s Degree in Global Development at the University of Leeds.
What made you want to apply to your course and to Leeds?
Firstly, I was looking for an institution in the UK with a reputation for being rich in cultural diversity. I wanted to interact with as many people from all over the globe, and thus I would not feel out of place. Whereas many schools in the UK were reported to accommodate people from all walks of life, many African students, and particularly those from Malawi, were reported to have studied at University of Leeds.
Secondly, I was applying for a Beit-Trust Scholarship and there was an option to apply for a shared scholarship with Leeds, called Beit-Leeds Scholarship. So, coupled with the above factor, I chose Leeds.
I chose MA Global Development because it tailored to my current job and I wanted to know more about development principles and global realities which affect development. The legislature have a very significant role to play in development policy formulation. As a member of staff, I need to be knowledgeable if am to be effective and efficient in providing guidance to the Parliamentary Committees.
What makes you passionate about your area of study?
The fact that I have been learning lots of principles which I have all along taken for granted. Particularly, I am so passionate about the North-South relations, and most especially how the economic geopolitics will now be shaped with the rise of China.
What do you think of your course so far – what aspects of the course have you enjoyed the most?
The Course has been so enlightening to me so far. I have enjoyed studying Global Inequalities and Democracy and Development the most. I am still looking forward to the final weeks of these two modules.
I am also looking forward to how my dissertation will turn out to be. I will be researching the factors which determine/affect the legislatures’ position in deciding which state interventions a government should adopt and to what end and for how long. It is my hope and belief that my thesis, titled Economic Empowerment or Welfare Dependency? An Evaluation of the Role of Parliament on State Interventions in Malawi, will somewhat assist in answering questions surrounding what determines state interventions, and what the perceived outcomes for such interventions are.
What would you say about the learning facilities in the School and at the University in general?
Coming from a learning-resource-deprived country, I was so impressed with the learning facilities at Leeds. The many libraries and cluster centers, the amazing lecture theatres and seminar rooms, a range of books and online reading resources, the warm support from the lecturers and academic tutors, it has all been an amazing academic experience for me. But as I have indicated, it could be because I am comparing it with my background. But that aside, Leeds is equipped with the necessary learning facilities.
What would you say about Leeds as a city?
Wonderful city. In fact it is a students’ city. It has been great for me to do my studies in Leeds. Full of life, social clubs, the Museum, the Cinema, a wide range of shops which sell almost everything from the world over, and above all, very safe. I cherish the fact that I can go for a late show at the Light Cinema, and walk home.
What do you like to do outside of studying?
I do some part-time work, or if I do not have a shift, I go to the Cinema, or visit the Museums (e.g. Royal Armories Museum), or go round shops.
What would you say to anyone thinking of applying to your course?
For those contemplating to come to Leeds, I would say “Stop vacillating, apply now and you will not regret it”. For those thinking about MA Global Development, I would say “If you would like to know more about the socio-political forces and the North-South relations which shape our global world and determine the development pathways which different nations take, then MA Global Development is your answer”. I want to believe that the course is so competitive in offering students an opportunity to be engaged in issues surrounding development, most especially focusing on global forces and factors.
What do you plan to do once you’ve finished your course?
My immediate plan is to return to Malawi, continue working with Malawi Parliament, and apply the skills and principles I have acquired and learned herein, to the daily activities and demands of my work.
But on top of that, having learned a lot about the global communities and institutions, I now seriously harbour the desire to work for an international organisation, say some Development NGO like Oxfam, UNICEF, or UNDP. That would offer me yet another opportunity to utilise my knowledge from a different perspective.