A Lasting Impact

Thanks to the generosity of University donors, the Empowering Change Scholarship helps international students overcome financial barriers and reach their full potential through their studies.

This scholarship supports students applying for some of the University’s most specialist and impactful postgraduate programmes – available through The Graduate Institute of International Development, Agriculture and Economics (GIIDAE) – that tackle the biggest issues facing our planet. Graduates from these courses often go onto effect real change and have a long-lasting impact on the world around them. CONNECTED meets three of the recipients of this scholarship to find out what it means to them.

Adebisi Faith Akande

Prior to joining the University of Reading to study MSc Agriculture and Development, Adebisi worked as an Agricultural Officer at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria. Adebisi chose Reading due to its global academic reputation and thriving community and culture.

She said: “Reading possesses a vast community that enables me to learn and thrive, both academically and individually.

“The course offered me a perfect range of modules that suited my personal and professional goals and aspirations, alongside the high-quality research and expertise of the teaching faculty, and a great network of industry experts.

“I believe a degree of this magnitude will better prepare me to proffer relevant solutions in the sector.”

Adebisi tells us what the scholarship means to her:

“The Empowering Change Scholarship provided me with the financial help I needed to undertake my academic journey on this prestigious course.

“The tuition fee reduction and the living allowance relieved the stress on my finances; I would have greatly struggled to attend otherwise.”

In her career, Adebisi offers strategic planning for sustainable agribusiness and provides market-led interventions among farming communities in Nigeria. She also runs a local initiative that promotes equity of opportunity for women in agriculture, through tailored development training and facilitating access to the market.

Adebisi aspires to be at the forefront of formulating agricultural policy that actively engages in the implementation of developmental projects. She hopes to provide policy advice and technical services that will spur competitiveness and transformational growth in the sector, at both a national and regional level.

Lana Jeries Almualim

Lana came to Reading to study MSc Applied International Development, hoping to gain a solid foundation in development that would enable her to focus on analysing the benefits and practicalities of bringing together multiple participants, to work collectively towards sustainable solutions for the future.

She said: “I would like to build a career in consultancy in the development field, and to work with local and international organisations to develop their capacity and design their interventions in a participatory way, based on research and local knowledge.”

Lana previously worked as a Programme Operations Associate for the Rights and Accountability Unit at Open Society Foundations (OSF) in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) office. The OSF is a philanthropic organisation that invests in civil society organisations and human rights institutions.

Lana explains what she hopes to achieve with her degree from Reading: “This qualification will open up new adventures and connect me with specialists, both at the University and with other professional networks in the development field. It will allow me to broaden my knowledge about developmental interventions, and equip me to support civil society and grassroots organisations in the MENA region to choose the right interventions and tools to make a positive change.

“The financial support that I received though the scholarship made it possible for me to enrol on this programme. Being awarded the scholarship also assured me that I have what is needed to make a difference in the world.

“Thank you for all the support that the University and its donors have given to international students – especially during these difficult circumstances of the pandemic.

“Reading has proven that it has what is needed to be a safe space, and a place for innovation and creativity.”

Lorato Kereng

Before enrolling at the University of Reading on MSc Development Finance, Lorato worked as a Project Accountant at the First National Bank of Botswana, reporting directly to the Chief Finance Officer.

Lorato chose to study social sciences and development so that in the long term she can work in the field as a Policy Advisor, and hopes to use her degree to pursue opportunities in Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) that are development focussed.

She said: “I love the idea of being of service to people. This degree will provide me with the technical know-how and opportunity to reach more people.

“This scholarship changed my life and enabled my first experience outside of Africa. I now get to carry the prestigious name of the University of Reading with me everywhere I go.

“Without this funding, I could never have raised the money to study in the UK as an international student. This scholarship sets me apart from my competitors, and pays homage to the work I have been doing in my individual capacity towards changing the lives of others through my service to them.”

Empowering change

The world needs innovators and problem-solvers who turn challenges into opportunities. Our community of supporters enable the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow, by investing in the students of today.

Find out more about the Empowering Change Scholarship.