Masedi Tshukudu: Tackling the greatest issue of our time

Theme: Global challenges
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Masedi Tshukudu
2014 Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholar from Botswana
MSc Economics, University of Rwanda

In a world that’s plagued by climate change and global warming, Masedi Tshukudu has dedicated her entire adult life to tackling what has arguably become the greatest issue of our time.

Working with the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA) as an environmental economist, Masedi plays a critical role in shaping Botswana’s environmental and agricultural policy. Through undertaking research, analysing existing strategy, and advising on new policies, her work has the potential to impact the lives of the entire nation. While it can be a challenging profession, Masedi says that her education – more specifically her MSc in Economics – prepared her for such an important job. This, she says, is thanks to the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship scheme.

With the support of a Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship, Masedi was able to undertake her Master’s at the University of Rwanda from 2014 to 2016. It was during her scholarship that she specialised in environmental economics, and began to develop her expertise in renewable energy – this knowhow has followed her into her career, and has defined much of the work she does.

The opportunity to study in another Commonwealth country was both an intriguing and exciting prospect for the budding economist. Over the two-year period she spent in Rwanda, Masedi developed not only her academic prospects but also lifelong friendships, mentorships, and a far greater understanding of a wholly different culture to her own, something she says has proved to be an enriching process.

According to Masedi, following her scholarship, there was no doubt in her mind that she would pursue a career in development and policy analysis, where she knew that she could make a real difference to the world and to her country. Thanks to her Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship, she was able to push herself to her full potential, which earned her a place on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Young Professionals Programme, something she looks back on as one of her proudest moments.

It was thanks to her scholarship that Masedi was able to overcome a barrier that exists for far too many young people in developing countries: access to higher education. She says that without programmes like the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship, many can and will miss out on the chance to further their studies. The impact of this could be disastrous, due to the impending crises caused by climate change and the need for people with the skills and knowledge to tackle them.

Nothing comes easy, everything has its challenges. But you must not be deterred. As the saying goes, 'as one door closes, another will open'. My Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship really advanced my career, and I’m excited about the path I have taken.

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Theme: Global challenges