What did you study at NMBU?
Master of Science in International Development Studies at Noragric (Bachelors of Arts in International Affairs and Human Rights at the University of Geneva).
What are you doing now?
I work for the UN in Malawi. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world with half of the population living below the poverty line and a quarter living in extreme poverty. I am a Social Protection Officer with UNICEF in Malawi, providing technical assistance to the government in developing government programmes to protect the most vulnerable Malawian people from the life-threatening impacts of ultra-poverty. My daily work entails evidence creation, programme design and negotiations with development partners and government bodies.
How did your studies prepare you for your current position?
My master thesis on school feeding programmes involved 5 months of field research in rural Tanzania, which equipped me with the necessary field research experience and thematic pre-knowledge on social protection to qualify for my current job.
What did you enjoy most and find most useful from your study programme at NMBU?
The expertise and real-life experience of the teachers, and the multi-cultural and diversely-educated population of my fellow students. My fellow students and teachers came from various professional, educational, cultural and political backgrounds, and aligned with different schools of thought which led to countless heated debates, but also ensured that no idea remained unchallenged. I studied at three other universities and the freedom of speech and debate that I met at Noragric was unique.
How do you think your study at NMBU will influence your career opportunities?
The opportunity to do take field courses (in India, Tanzania, Madagascar, etc.) and conduct field research (actual research) and the network of fellow students and teachers created at NMBU did not serve me a job on a silver platter, but provided me with necessary pieces of the larger puzzle for following a career path in international development.
Any advice for new students regarding study at Noragric/NMBU?
Absolutely. All the resources you need are right there in front of you – use them. Your professors, teachers and fellow students are an endless sources of knowledge and experience. At Noragric, teachers both work and teach in the field, which means they might just be engaged in a research project in your home country or in the country where you want to work.
Linn Jaeckle, Social Protection Officer, UNICEF Malawi