As a Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld Scholar for Masters of Public Policy (2015-16), I had the unique opportunity to work on themes of conflict prevention during my summer project at The World Bank. I learnt through my work that natural resources including water resource remains one of the leading dimensions in todays conflict. Sometimes the intensity of the conflicts is so low in terms of violent deaths that our peace building efforts exclude them. This exclusion leads to circumstances where conditions of positive peace remain low and consequently , these disputes culminate in a sense of deprivation leading to violent eruption of conflicts. Even during the time, when the conflicts remain dormant, they still lead to stalled development and worse living conditions for conflict affected people. Read more “Technology for Peace and Development-GIS based water dispute resolution management system”
Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld scholar Michelle Valentine (Hong Kong, MSc Water Science Policy & Management) was involved in a pro bono project organised through the Oxford Microfinance Initiative. The project involved advising one of the largest Mongolian banks and a Mongolian government department in a joint micro-finance initiative. The team of ten, which Michelle led, had two tasks: to provide recommendations for a digital platform, including a membership registry, that would further the goals of the organisation; and to help the bank devise microfinance packages that are both suited to its corporate mission and are attractive to farmers. These packages were to be aimed specifically at the members signed up under the digital platform and thus the two tasks were interwoven. The project presents a unique opportunity to enable the partnership of the two organisations to help realize Mongolia’s agricultural potential.
Manisha Nair (India, DPhil Public Health, 2010-13, Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld Scholar) carried out a project in cooperation with the Indian Department of Health on ‘Educating mothers on adequate infant feeding practices in Rajasthan’.
During August and September 2011, Manisha facilitated the district child nutrition project of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to evaluate mothers’ knowledge of adequate child feeding practices. She did this by organising village-level group discussion meetings with mothers of children along with the village nurse, the community health worker and the community ICDS workers. Manisha helped to train 46 workers in 10 villages in the Indian state of Rajasthan to use growth charts for monitoring child nutrition.
Isaac Mpyana (Kenya, MSc in African Studies, 2014-15, Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld), carried out his pro bono project during his fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His research focused upon Katanga, the region from which Isaac’s own family originated, and he was therefore keenly aware of the area’s problems. One of these problems is the heavy reliance on mining, especially in terms of employment. Young people are by and large unaware of job opportunities in other sectors, such as agriculture.
In partnership with the Provincial Government of Katanga and the United Nations World Food Programme, Isaac worked on the Triennial Provincial Action Plan for Education. The plan, which aims to educate children about the opportunities open to them, was presented to various stakeholders in the education sector.
The provincial government’s commitment to the plan ensures that Isaac’s work is bound to make a difference to the millions of children in the country. The chief of staff to the cabinet of the provincial government wrote to the WHT praising Isaac’s contribution to the team and expressing his gratitude for the work he carried out.
Mastewal Taddese Terefe’s (Ethiopia, Master of Public Policy, 2015-16, Louis Dreyfus-Weidenfeld and Hoffmann) pro bono work was based around an initiative she founded in 2013 to improve the quality of education in Ethiopia. This year, she and a colleague launched the Third Qine Practical Education Challenge, inviting high students across Addis Ababa to explore the local impact of global climate change from a disciplinary perspective. The programme will culminate in an academic symposium in August during which finalists will present and defend their work in front of their peers, teachers and other stakeholders. In August, she will also host the 4th annual Qine Forum on quality education – a continuation of the tradition started in 2013. This year, the forum will focus on teachers; giving due praise to their invaluable role in society while also engaging in a critical dialogue on the future of the profession in Ethiopia.
Kubo Mačák (Slovakia, DPhil Law 2013, Weidenfeld – Roland Berger) established an annual summer school for talented high school students from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.The Letná akadémia Discover (Summer Academy Discover, www.discover.sk) has been running since 2009 and it took its current shape of a week-long academy in 2011.
The summer school is organized by graduate students and recent alumni from top universities abroad, including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, and Yale. It seeks to expose high-achieving Czech and Slovak students to an atmosphere reminiscent of Oxbridge colleges, to broaden their knowledge of subjects they might study at university, and to foster the creation of a network of active and ambitious young people. The summer school has been regularly featured in Czech and Slovak national media and it has grown to more than 200 participants per year, with a teaching staff of over 40 lecturers—all of them volunteers.
After Kubo took up his post at the University of Exeter in 2013, a fellow Weidenfeld scholar Matěj Bajgar (Czech Republic, DPhil Economics 2014, Weidenfeld – Hoffmann) assumed his role on the organizing committee of the summer academy. Kubo remains involved as a lecturer and both scholars expect to reunite at the 2015 edition of the summer school, to be held in August in Podskalie, Slovakia.