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Eva Borges Pereira

MSc in Co-operative, Agri-food and Sustainable Development, University College Cork

Eva is from a small island called Timor-Leste and has been working in the area of climate change and agriculture for some years. She is now studying the MSc in Co-operative, Agri-food and Sustainable Development in UCC. 

The Ireland Fellowship is a fantastic chance that will advance your study. It provides an opportunity to network with professionals and make lifelong friends. It is a chance to travel to another part of the world, learn new things, and have an experience that will change your life. 

My name is Eva Borges Pereira, I am from Timor-Leste an island located between Indonesia and Australia. I am currently studying a masters in Co-operative, Agri-food and Sustainable Development in University College Cork. 

I formerly held the position of Climate Change Program Officer with Mercy Corps in Timor-Leste. My previous work concentrated on increasing Timor-Leste's access to climate change programming by helping government actors and other institutions apply for and receive international climate funding. This was done because there hasn't been a lot of money invested in programmes for climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

My role and duties included collaborating closely with relevant government ministries, INGO, and NGO counterparts to improve their knowledge of climate change and mitigation programming, donors, and the process of submitting proposals for international funding for upcoming climate change programmes in Timor-Leste. 

I participated in key informant interviews, coordinated with stakeholders, planned and organised meetings, and aided the consultant with the program's activity of assessing stakeholder capacity.  

In my prior employment as a consultant assistant for an assessment of an agriculture project in Timor-Leste, I began to learn about the value of agriculture, the role it plays in human nutrition, and how farmers produce and distribute food. I learned from the project evaluation that farmers lacked the means to sell their produce since there were no links connecting them to the market and no better procedures to encourage saving for the future. In addition, a socio-economic impact assessment project I was working on at UNDP taught me how the COVID-19 scenario has impacted the community economically.  

These work experiences and my academic background in environmental science have given me an understanding of the importance of agriculture, food, environmental concerns like climate change and how a community could develop its economy through innovative practices and adapt to changes. Therefore, studying MSc in Co-operatives, Agri-Food and Sustainable Development, will extend my knowledge and skills in agriculture and food and livelihood and incorporate to sustainable development and how I the knowledge I gain can contribute to improve local economy in the future.  

The fellowship has been quite beneficial to me in many ways. Since my first semester, I have learned more in terms of education, made wonderful friends, and have learned more about agri-food and sustainable business. I am aiming to establish more professional connections through various chances while I am in Ireland. It was also a fantastic fortune to have the chance to travel to different European nations over the semester break. 

I gained knowledge of the sustainable food system and how agriculture and food can contribute to sustainable development through this training. I also gained knowledge of cooperatives and their advantages. Creating a co-operative will help a group of individuals develop their economy. Which, in my opinion, would make a significant contribution to the local economy in Timor-Leste if put into practise. I also study project management, which has been beneficial. It teaches me about excellent project management, among other things, and teaches me how to collaborate with people from different backgrounds and cultures.  

It can be difficult to comprehend Irish accents at first, but the more I interact with Irish people, the more I am getting a grasp. I try to socialise with university-related individuals. In addition, even though it often rains, especially in Cork, making you sometimes want to remain home, I try to travel to areas to learn about Irish history and take in the beauty of the country's landscape. The Irish countryside is beautiful and charming, especially in Cork. 

In comparison to my home country, in Ireland life is very different. When I first arrived in Ireland, I had to get used to the temperature and the culture. For instance, Ireland is cold, and it always rains, whereas Timor-Leste, a tropical nation, is usually hot and humid. Therefore, whenever I go outside, I always carry a raincoat or extra clothing. I've met wonderful people from my programme, and Irish folks are nice. Throughout the semester's course, we help and inform one another. Everyone is approachable and easy to talk to. 

I hope to learn more during my fellowship, especially about sustainable business (in the food industry), obtain more relevant work experience in a highly professional organisation or company through an internship in Ireland, and establish more connections with Irish professionals. 

My favourite part of the fellowship so far is the opportunity to study at a top-notch institution of higher learning, expand my knowledge of my field of interest, and meet many great new people. 

The Ireland Fellows Programme is a fantastic chance for people from Timor-Leste to expand their education, expertise and connection. The opportunity allows us to access to high quality education which will help build a better career in the future. I've already gained a lot of knowledge from my studies and have met like-minded people. In addition, you will establish wonderful long-term relationships and friendships. 

I would advise any candidates to be confident and to have a clear idea of their goals for the coming year. One year goes by extremely quickly, especially if you're busy with assignments, so ask questions and plan your year ahead. Pay attention to your studies, but also remember to have fun. The Ireland Fellowship is a fantastic chance that will advance your study. It provides an opportunity to network with professionals and make lifelong friends. It is a chance to travel to another part of the world, learn new things, and have an experience that will change your life.