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Keneuoe Maliehe
(Lesotho)

MSc in Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing, MU

I would recommend the Fellowship as there are technological and scientific innovations here that we normally would not have seen back in our home countries. The Fellowship also fosters a sense of pride and boosts one’s confidence in their contribution to society.

I registered the Lesotho-based CAD Mapping (Pty) Ltd. in 2018 in partnership with a South African entity of the same name. As a business owner and director of a small aerial surveying company in an emerging market, my primary role was educating the market and prospective clients about our service offering. Being in a technological industry where advances are made every day, I was constantly looking abreast of what was happening in the market to keep our offerings relevant. I spent the past year reading journals, going to international conferences and engaging with prospective technological partners in Amsterdam, South Africa, Spain, Australia and the USA. In my day to day, I solicited business by making presentations to different organisations, scouted for tenders and put together the necessary documentation to bid for proposals. 

I wish to improve the quality of life of the people on the African continent. Aerial and satellite imagery provide us with the basis for mapping, as well as the foundations for all infrastructural development in an area. Therefore, I see geospatial information technology as an enabler of economic development, which can provide African governments and institutions with better decision-making tools, allowing them to know more about their continent and the people. At present, the use of GIS in Lesotho has been marginal. I hope to start a national spatial data catalogue that can be accessed by all Basotho and organisations, providing quality geospatial data, which is so crucial for successful implementation of almost every economic development project. 

I believe that the MSc will expand my professional competencies in GIS analysis and in deriving useful information from remotely sensed images. The first semester of the course has focused more on introductory concepts and fundamentals of GIS and RS. I have had the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the subjects I have already explored in my undergraduate studies in Africa and during a Geomatics semester abroad programme in Germany. I am looking forward to the second semester, especially to a course in Marine Remote Sensing, as this is something I have not had the pleasure of learning about before. We must complete a thesis portfolio consisting of three research projects. So far, I have been identifying some research questions that I am interested in, which will also benefit my country and my organisation. I hope to implement the research I do here into a commercial product; either an application or an algorithm that will solve problems faced by our prospective clients and my country. 

I knew that moving abroad would not be easy for me. Leaving my country and my company was an immense sacrifice. I could only hope that it would pay off when I got back. I miss my support system and my home life, but I understand why I came here, so I try hard not to think of it. I miss my work, even with the difficulties we faced in our industry, together everything was worthwhile. I believe my organisation’s credibility will increase as a result of one of its directors having attained an international Master’s qualification. I believe that, upon leaving Ireland, me, my organisation and the geography department at MU can find ways to collaborate on research and on projects in the future.  

I would recommend the Fellowship as there are technological and scientific innovations here that we normally would not have seen back in our home countries. The Fellowship also fosters a sense of pride and boosts one’s confidence in their contribution to society. The experience of being removed from our bubbles enriches our minds tremendously and offers us opportunities for personal growth and independence.