Amanuel Haile Weldu
MSc in Sustainable Development, TUD
I came to Ireland to pursue an MSc in Sustainable Development, I worked as an extension worker in the Ministry of Agriculture in Eritrea promoting sustainable agriculture among community farmers. In my capacity I organized training workshops for extension workers, agricultural association leaders, and farming communities which focused on raising the public awareness on environmental management to tackle the mismanagement and depletion of the country’s natural resources.
Eritrea is a developing country where 80 per cent of the total population’s livelihood depends directly on subsistence farming. I have always had the motivation and aspiration to study agriculture and to specialize in sustainable development to work and to help Eritrean farmers. I chose the MSc in Sustainable Development at TU Dublin because it is closely linked to multidisciplinary fields providing an empirical understanding of economic, social and environmental issues.
So far, I have learned far more than I expected. The programme has helped me to understand world development policy and to further understand how sustainable development contributes to my country’s needs. I have gained extensive skills and in-depth knowledge of sustainable development perspectives and this has broadened my horizons and has opened my mind to creative and innovative ways of expanding sustainable living. These theories will not only encourage sustainable development, but also help to resolve the sustainability challenges faced by Eritrea.
Since I came to Ireland I have never felt lonely. The Irish people are welcoming, warm, and helpful. I will miss the weather and my hat and gloves! I am impressed by the country’s ecological management, the rolling grasslands, and infrastructure. Ireland keeps its cities very clean and has an excellent waste management system.
I will return to my home country after completing my studies and implement what I have learned and experienced in Ireland to contribute to Eritrea's development. The MSc in Sustainable Development has allowed me to develop my creative thinking skills through my tutors, group work, and assignments. I believe that I will be an important asset to my department with the extensive skills I have acquired. I hope that I and the rest of my staff will build a working environment for developing and fostering networks within governmental institutions and NGOs.
The research for my thesis will focus on the role of usufruct land management and new agro-ecological practices to mitigate soil erosion and enhance food security in Zoba Meakel, sub zone Serjeqka, in Eritrea. Serejeka is one of the 16 Central Region (Local Government) sub-zonal administrations in Eritrea, with 28 villages of approximately 55,000 inhabitants and 11,000 households. It is a large agro-ecological zone that was previously unbalanced, but has maintained productivity and output more or less over the past two years. The Government of Eritrea Introduced land tenure by allocating long-term use (usufruct) to farming lands as a pilot project to recover land productivity, while at the same time improving agriculture and fostering environmental protection. I will conduct both qualitative and quantitative research on community agro-ecological practices and land management system aimed at scaling up the project to the remaining villages.
For over fifty years, Eritrea was at war. I hope that the next era will be the Eritrean age of economic prosperity and development freedom from instability, and that all Eritreans will be able to achieve sustainable growth at some rate of working conditions.
I am very grateful to the Irish government for fully supporting my studies through the Fellowship Training Programme, without this help I could never have achieved this dream. Thanks to this chance I will have many opportunities to develop my skills at governmental and non-governmental level. It is my dream to one day do a PhD.