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Globe-trotting students Master sustainable agriculture

Globe-trotting students Master sustainable agriculture

The Marshal Papworth Fund has helped seven new students cross continents to begin their Masters Degrees at a number of leading UK universities. The students, who will be studying courses on food security, development, climate change, agriculture and land management, have spoken out about why they have chosen their subjects, how it will affect their lives and their expectations of the year ahead.

Barbra Kavuta is attending Reading University, studying an MSc in Climate Change and Development, she said: “I chose the course to help my country, Malawi, overcome the effects of climate change, droughts, floods and famine.”

Malawi is highly vulnerable to the combined effects of climate change and rapid population growth including food shortages and environmental degradation, and like many other African countries it depends on agriculture for economic survival. Agriculture contributes 30 percent of Malawi’s gross national product, and supports livelihoods for over 80 percent of the population. Barbara added: “The Marshal Papworth programme will help me develop the skills to benefit my local community and influence policy makers, working together to help the country become more self-sufficient.”

Godfrey Kamanda, from Uganda, will attend Writtle College to study MSc Horticulture (Crop production). Godfrey’s previous role as a Biodiversity and Agriculture Service Provider meant that he worked with local communities and farmers on their agricultural practices, and has seen first-hand how climate and crop infestation can lead to hunger and malnutrition; currently about 2.3 million young children in Uganda are chronically malnourished.

He said: “The Marshal Papworth Fund has enabled me to travel to England and continue my studies so that I can return to my country with skills and strategies which will help improve farming techniques to reduce hunger in extremely poor communities.”

Set up to provide scholarships the Fund educates agricultural and horticultural students from developing countries who, on completion of their studies, take back the knowledge and skills learnt for the benefit of local communities and ultimately their countrymen.

The students understand that the knowledge they receive through the Masters Programme will help to improve the livelihoods and make a real difference to the wider community. They are embracing the different teaching styles that they are experiencing and are learning that layers are the best way forward in combating the damp English weather; they are also eagerly awaiting a first sprinkle of snow.

James Parrish, Chairman of the Fund, commented “It is always great to hear from students what they hope to achieve through their studies so that the fund can support them in the best way possible. Hearing the students speak about how the courses will affect their country and community reinforces the fantastic work that we as a Fund aim to achieve.”

The Marshal Papworth Fund is wholly managed by the East of England Agricultural Society and has already helped improve the lives of over one hundred students from developing countries through its Masters Programme of one year MSc and MA courses. In order to continue this work and give more students the opportunity to benefit from the scheme, the Fund relies on donations. To find out more and to make a donation contact Sandra Lauridsen on 01733 363514 or email slauridsen@eastofengland.org.uk for more information.

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