Scholarships Info sat down with Judy NGUNGI, a Kenyan scholar for an enlightening interview on how she was granted a fully-funded Master’s Scholarship to Study at the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences – PAUWES
Thank you so much for taking the time with us today. Briefly introduce yourself and the scholarship (s) you have won in the past.
Hey, my name is Judy Ngungi an environmental and energy expert currently working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and proudly Kenyan.
I was awarded a scholarship by African Union in 2018, to undertake a master’s degree in Energy Policy at the Pan African University Institute of Water and Energy Science, including climate change in Tlemcen, Algeria
What motivated you to apply for this/these scholarship (s)?
Coming from an environmental background, the field is vast and there was a need to specialize in one of the key sectors.
The scholarship provided a good opportunity for me to specialize and become an expert in the energy sector through the robust course offered by PAUWES. Undertaking these studies also gave me a clear understanding of how effective government policies, especially in the global south, are vital in tackling climate change impacts.
Now that you are done with your studies (scholarship), are you planning to pursue further studies in the near future? If YES, kindly explain why
Yes, I am planning to further my studies and pursue a Doctorate through a scholarship when the opportunity arises.
Are you recording successes in relation to your scholarship studies? In other words, how have your scholarship-related studies helped you in the world of work?
In an ever-changing world, a think it is important for one to always be informed of the emerging and recurring problems in the environmental world to be able to offer sustainable solutions.
For me, the scholarship to pursue an energy course has become a stepping stone to my identity as an environmentalist as I can direct all my efforts toward finding lasting solutions to energy security in Kenya, Africa, and the world as a whole.
Now working with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) as an environmental affairs assistant I can help guide parties in achieving the Kigali amendment, especially in the energy efficiency targets, and to see to the success of the Montreal protocol.
Judging from your previous experience, what is the secret for one to win a scholarship?
One should identify what course they want to pursue before embarking on the journey of scholarship.
It is also important for one to be sure what kind of scholarship they want to apply for: a fully funded scholarship that will cover almost all the main expenses from travel costs, tuition fees, living allowance, insurance, or a partial scholarship.
The necessary documents and requirements such as certified academic certificates, motivation letter, resume, and medical record should be prepared in advance starting to avoid last minute rush to present the necessary documents.
If the scholarship is being offered in a different country than the resident country it is important to familiarize yourself with the culture, and norms of the community/ country that you will be part of during the period of studies.
The applicant should also clearly read and understand the terms and conditions of the scholarship before accepting the offer.
Do you think African Governments are doing enough to expand the academic opportunities to African students, especially the disadvantaged?
I think more needs to be done. The current efforts by governments aren’t enough especially with most of the African population being youths.
I also believe it’s important for those who are awarded these scholarships to be absorbed back into the economy depending on their different expertise to help them transfer the knowledge acquired back home.
Are there any exemplary scholarship programs being done across the African continent which you think should spread to other countries?
The African union scholarship with an emphasis on cultural, historical, and language studies of Africa to the world
Mastercard foundation scholarship
On the global stage, do you think African students and professionals are afforded the same opportunities as those from other continents? Do you think Africans are doing enough to take advantage of the availed global opportunities?
No, I think there is still a gap when it comes to spreading the opportunities equally across the continent.
Additionally, issues like discrimination are commonly dampening the efforts of those who want to apply for scholarships in African countries. For example, the UK visa scheme allowed postgraduate students to apply for job opportunities in the UK but no African University was on the list: story here
Africans are applying for scholarships but I believe a lack of sensitization and awareness of the different scholarships open for application is still a great barrier
What do you think is the best route to ensure that all students and professionals who are awarded opportunities abroad return to their home countries upon completion of their studies and internships rather than utilizing their skills in foreign lands?
The lack of lucrative opportunities is what is forcing most students and professionals to pursue greener pastures abroad instead of transferring the knowledge back to their countries