Lewis Cameron – In April 2013, funded through a SID Share bursary, I completed a 3 week work placement with an international development organization, International Development Enterprises (IDE) in Nepal. The aim of the placement was to enhance professional skills in development work. The bursary gave me an invaluable opportunity to broaden my PhD learning experience in a context complimentary to my career aims, allowing me to self select the most suitable organisations to work for. Being officially supported by the university through this bursary acted as an extremely useful lever to secure a placement in the development sector, making the process much easier than is normally the case.
I chose an organisation that is active in a range of relevant sectors – policy, practice, community empowerment, capacity building, market development, socio-technical systems for sustainable development – and that would give me the opportunity to really utilise and develop my workplace skills. With the organisation I was afforded full responsibility, support and freedom, which, whilst daunting, was pivotal in me fully maximising the experience. I was tasked with defining and conducting a research report on an area of my choice within IDE’s projects. I developed the research design collaboratively – a comparative analysis of three different multiple use water systems – and the study involved one week of field work with communities in rural Nepal. Key attributes the placement enhanced included networking, interview and analytical skills, collaborative working, and project planning and management within a very limited timeframe. I also gained valuable first-hand experience of various practical issues of working in the development sector and in developing countries. I am immensely grateful for the SID Share bursary to enable this placement and an invaluable learning experience and I would highly recommend students at any level to broaden their skills and experience through such placements.
Lewis Cameron, PhD student: Enabling Access to Energy for Sustainable Development.