SOAS University of London

Eyob Ghilazghy, Eritrea

The learning experience was exciting and interesting yet with some challenges also.

MSc in Sustainable Development

My concerns over environmental destruction, the inequitable and unsustainable use of the natural resources and associated social injustices led me to my studies of Sustainable Development. I found this subject area interesting due its integrative and interdisciplinary approach to addressing the problems facing humanity and the environment, both today and in the future. I believe that if conducive mechanisms and conditions are created and translated it into practice, then the problem of sustainability can be addressed.

I come from Eritrea where there are no universities that offer post-graduate education and pursuing further studies abroad was not an option. Therefore, distance learning was the only way to continue my studies. I completed 80% of my studies in 2 years whilst in Eritrea but then I moved to South Sudan working for an NGO, and was able to complete my MSc by writing my dissertation whilst working.

The learning experience was exciting and interesting yet with some challenges also. I liked very much the way the courses have been designed with various forms of media particularly the electronic ones on CD. I found the tutor-marked assignments very important and useful as they provided a means of assessing the level of understanding and preparation prior to the examinations. I also liked the nature of the exam which focuses on the level of understanding of concepts and the subject rather than on memorising information.

From my studies I now find that I approach my research and reporting on human rights and humanitarian situations through the principles of sustainable development; looking at the inter-linkages of the economic, social and environmental dimensions and the consequence of an action relating to one aspect on the other. For example, I reported the effect forced resettlement in Eritrea has on the society, economy and environment.

I have also been able to apply the knowledge I gained from my studies in my employment where I have designed a food security and livelihoods programme incorporating the principles of sustainable development.