Developing Conformity project student researcher and MUN Sociology PhD Student, Judyannet Muchiri, had the good fortune to spend much of the past summer participating in a series of specialized field schools and programs for doctoral students (in the Netherlands, Tanzania, and Canada), as well as a Youth Forum in her home country of Kenya. I asked Judy to summarize her experiences, and am happy to share her report here:
“CASID Doctoral School 2018: Organized by the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID), this doctoral school brings PhD students together to gain methodological and practical insights from professors and practitioners. In a group of twenty students, we spent three days discussing the specifics of doing doctoral research right from formulating research questions to writing and publishing. This was a good exercise that enabled us to look at our research critically and think about possible improvements in our methods. We finished with a session on bridging academia and practice which I found quite useful. I am certain that the insights from the CASID School will inform my research in better ways as will the networks that I formed with peers.
Youth Participation in Policy: This program at the University of Groningen brought together people working in, and passionate about, youth participation in policy. It was a great opportunity to hear from policy makers and advocates of youth participation from the Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland and London. I got a chance to share my advocacy work with African youth and also my experience researching with and for youth. At the end of the program I was inspired with new insights on youth participation and gained new methodological insights that will shape my ongoing and future research work with youth. It was also a good opportunity to exchange notes with peers working on youth participation.
Women’s Participation in Community Development: Through the ACE Intensive Program in Development Studies , I experienced firsthand women’s participation in community development in Kituntu village, Tanzania. This program is put together by two universities and GEPAT a local NGO doing great work in women empowerment and environmental conservation in Tanzania. With a group of students from Europe, Asia and Tanzania we focused on a variety of development issues in Kituntu. Specifically, I was in a small group exploring women’s participation in local governance in Kituntu. Contrary to our assumptions, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that women are actively engaged. It was a great opportunity to put into practice the principles of ethical research that I have been trained on here at Memorial.
Youth Mentorship in Kenya: Besides participating in the above programs, I was honored to be invited as a panelist by the Youth Mentorship Foundation during a youth mentorship forum. Youth Mentorship Foundation (YMF) does important work mentoring youth in Nairobi. This particular forum was organized by the Class of 2018 as part of their project management training and the mentees did a great job. Together with other panelists, we held an open discussion with the mentees on leadership, ethics, community participation, civic duties and goals and dreams. It was an honour to be part of a group of young Kenyans with such positive energy and commitment to community.
I am very grateful to the University of Groningen (Netherlands), Mzumbe University (Tanzania), GEPAT (Tanzania), Youth Mentorship Foundation (Kenya) and MUN my home university for a great opportunity to learn from peers, practitioners and most importantly from the community.”