MSc Project Planning and Management (2003)
How would you introduce yourself?
My name is Robin Todd and I am the Country Director of Concern Universal Malawi. We are one of the largest NGOs in Malawi and work with local government and communities to improve service delivery, reduce vulnerability to climate change and food insecurity and promote pro-poor growth. We reach over half a million rural Malawians each year with our interventions and have annual programme expenditure of around £7 million. I am also the Board Chairman of CUMO Microfinance Limited which, with 60,000 clients, is Malawi’s largest rural microfinance organisation.
How did you come to study at the BCID?
I came to BCID in 2002 to study an MSc in Project Planning and Management. I had just completed two and a half years as a English Teacher in Ghana with VSO and the Ghana Education Service. This experience of living in working and a rural area was a useful introduction to international development and I decided that I wanted to build a career in this field. I wanted to study a course that would give me a set of specific practical skills which I could apply in my chosen career. That is why I chose BCID as its study areas seemed very applicable to the type of practically oriented development work that I wanted to do.
How was the Bradford experience for you?
Excellent. I learned a great deal in my time at Bradford through my lecturers, wider reading at the library and through my fellow classmates. I was privileged to study alongside a number of highly experienced and very talented government and NGO workers from countries as diverse as Vanuatu, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia and Peru. As well as gaining a great deal of knowledge and an internationally recognised qualification I also made friends for life.
Has the degree helped you in what you are doing now? How?
It has helped me immensely. My current role requires me to have excellent project management, financial management and human resources skills as well as having a good grounding in the principles and practices of rural community development. These are all skills which were significantly developed through my time studying at BCID. The professional network developed at BCID has also been of great benefit. Our key partners in Malawi are local and national government and when I arrived in Malawi in 2010 I was very pleased to find two of my former BCID classmates in important positions in these critical institutions. Hastings Botha works as a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Sphiwe Mauwa is District Commissioner in Dedza which is home to Concern Universal’s largest range of programme activities.
Received: 3 December 2012