Victor Chambayika Mhango
I came to study at the University of Leeds in 2009 following my award of a British Chevening scholarship. I’ve recently graduated with a MA in Development Studies. I also hold a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Malawi.
I am a qualified and experienced development professional with five years work experience. I have worked with various organisations including recently at the United Nations World Food Programme, as Senior Programme Assistant for Food Security & Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping.
My motivation to study
I was searching for a course that would equip me with the intellectual capacity to analyse development issues and make a meaningful contribution towards development at national and global level.
The MA in Development Studies (now Global Development) has a multidisciplinary approach and offered me what I required. I learnt about University of Leeds from my friends who had previously studied there. After a thorough research on the reputation of the University and the city including others in the UK, I settled for Leeds and I was never disappointed with my choice.
I had a very pleasant experience during my time at the university. I enjoyed all the lectures I participated in. The Libraries are well equipped with important resources which made my studies easier.
I should say I enjoyed the interaction with students from different parts of the world. The environment was so friendly and I was pleased with the relationships I had with members of staff, especially within the school. I enjoyed my stay in the city of Leeds because of the friendliness of the city. Leeds has everything that one could look for.
The guide throughout my studies and during dissertation writing was exceptional. The relationship that I enjoyed with members of staff played a major role in helping me work my way through my studies. University of Leeds staff members are exceptionally warm hearted, always willing to help.
Leeds is a city I would recommend to any international student planning to study in the UK. The standard of life is great, the people are always friendly and you will meet and make friends with people from all walks of life. I enjoyed my time worshiping at Bridge Street Pentecostal Church which has membership from over 200 countries across the World.
The course has changed my perceptions and understanding of global development issues. It is well structured and delivered. The modules that I went through were intellectually challenging and practical. The interaction among staff and students during the many seminars organised helped me acquire important skills and knowledge for my career in development work.
Soon after completing my studies I moved back to my home country, Malawi. Within a month of returning, I successfully interviewed and got a job as Programme Development Manager with Heifer International Malawi. I am responsible for developing new projects, creating partnerships with potential donors and other non-governmental organisations and I also lead monitoring, evaluation and reporting activities in the organisation. Heifer International is a US based non-governmental organisation that works with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the environment.
I lead in development of new projects, monitoring, evaluations and reporting. My interests include: food security and famine analysis, agriculture development, project planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting, resource mobilization and partnership development, climate change adaptation and mitigation and political economy of development.
The knowledge and skills I gained through lectures, seminars and interaction with other students and staff members really prepared me for my career. The experience has been instrumental in shaping my perceptions in solving development challenges I confront each day and helping me find my way through the daily activities of current job.
The MA Development Studies is a course I would recommend to anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of global development issues. After completion of the course I can guarantee that your understanding and perceptions about development issues in general will never be the same. The University of Leeds has excellent facilities to help with your studies. The teaching methods are exceptional, staff members are friendly and helpful and the city is conducive for learning.