Global Development Institute Blog

There is always a buzz around the start of academic term as thousands descend on campus from around the country – and also around the world. Inductions are held, friends are made as students get united by being lost on campus, students are accosted by information and freebies and everyone is smiling, looking at maps or giving directions.

In a small room traditionally reserved for the ‘Keeper’ in the historic Whitworth building there was a truly special atmosphere as the Global Development Institute welcomed the inaugural recipients of their new masters scholarships the GDI Merit awards; six students chosen from more than 2,700 who applied in a short 5 week period to undertake their first post-graduate studies outside of Africa.

All applicants for the GDI Merit awards must have three year’s work experience and it was clear from talking to the recipients that their previous studies and extensive experience gave them a clear perspective on what they wanted from their master’s degree and beyond.

Esther Iminzah Ndagala talking to Professor Diana Mitlin.

Esther Iminzah Ndagala talking to Professor Diana Mitlin.

Esther Iminzah Ndagala, Kenya. (International Development: Politics, Governance and Development Policy)

Esther was working in the public service as an assistant county commissioner under the Kenyan Ministry of Interior and Coordination focusing on coordinating peace and development. When she began working with refugees her interest in development, peace and security issues peaked. “I realised that it is really not conflict that is the issue, but there are issues in governance and politics that need to be resolved,” she said.  She is hoping that her experience at GDI will give her the negotiating skills and understandings of power structures to improve situations where security and peace is not present.

William Hanson , Tanzania. (ICTs for Development)

William had worked his way through a number of roles in IT before becoming a system architect. He said that Tanzania needed more skills in ICT and this master’s programme was a “once in a lifetime opportunity for me to gain skills” and help more people in Tanzania develop an understanding of ICT . His aim is to work with multilaterals such as the UN and African Development Bank advising on policies and systems to help them achieve project goals.

Justin Tusoe, Ghana. (Development Economics and Policy)

Justin had been working in Ghana’s Ministry of Finance and Economy, working specifically on planning and macroeconomic issues. His future aim is work on macroeconomic issues in the Bank of Ghana, the country’s central bank which aims to provide stability to Ghana’s financial system.

Sylvia Nyarko, Ghana. (Management and Implementation of Development Projects)

Sylvia comes from a planning background with 3.5 years of planning and project management experience including in Ghana’s Town and Country Planning Department and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s Planning Department. She realised that as Ghana was setting ambitious policies, such as the ‘one district, one dam policy’, she needed to theorise her project management experience in a development setting to be able to help policies be implemented effectively.

Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng presents the GDI with a handmade logo made of recycled glass beads sourced from all over Ghana.

Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng presents the GDI with a handmade logo made of recycled glass beads sourced from all over Ghana.

Kwame Asamoah Kwarteng, Ghana. (International Development: Globalisation, Trade and Industry)

Kwame undertook practical studies in marketing and progressed quickly into roles in the telecoms industry. He then brought his energy to the country’s cocoa industry, noticing the disparity between the wealth of the overseas chocolate market and the price being paid to cocoa farmers in Ghana. Interacting with farmers, he found that many were unable to draw a living wage and were turning to illegal gold mining instead, so he has chosen to study globalisation and trade with a view to improving the cocoa value chain.

Mercy Kibathi, Kenya . (International Development: Public Policy and Management)

Mercy had studied biomedical sciences and was working in the private sector but felt that she “did not really belong.” She has undertaken to study public policy at GDI, specialising in policy reform in the healthcare sector so she can make the most of her existing knowledge and experience.

We wish all our scholarship students the best of luck on their journey with GDI.

Find out more about the funding opportunities for our master’s courses.