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Master International Development Studies

Alice Mapenzi Kubo: 'The choise for this master's programme was driven by my origin'

Alumna testimonial

Alice Mapenzi Kubo graduated in International Development Studies in 2007.

Alice Kubo
Alice Kuba Photo by:

The choice of the Master's in International Development Studies was very much driven by my origin. I was born and raised in Kenya and the plight of the majority of the African people made me pursue a study that would contribute to efforts that bring social change to Africa.

I work as Programme Manager for Africa at Child Helpline International (CHI) since December 2006. CHI is the global network of child helplines/hotlines - organisations operating free-of-charge telephone and outreach services for children and young people. My portfolio includes African countries, especially Sub-Saharan Africa. The work of CHI and its partners is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, where Article 12 clearly stipulates that States should create venues where voices of children can be heard and also offer them protection and any care they may need.

Agent of change

My tasks at CHI are to maintain relationships with partner organisations and to offer technical support to partners to strengthen their services, or to implement new services. I speak easily at regional and international conferences, workshops with the aim of advocating on behalf of CHI partners, and the children and young people we serve. I work closely with Government Ministries, especially those mandated with child protection, and colleagues at UNICEF, Plan International, Save the Children, among others. This way, I link CHI partners with like-minded organisations and funding agencies.

After working for CHI for more than seven years now, I’m open to any new challenges, ranging from working for a research institute, the corporate sector or other organisations or agencies that focuses on development cooperation. My ambition remains being an ‘agent of change’, and if that change is driven by a bank or a research institute, I will embrace it and contribute to it.

A rigorous training

The MSc International Development Studies has remained instrumental to my work. My Master’s thesis focused on the rights of children to education. Other topics pursued during my study were poverty and development, political economic theories of international development, education and development in multicultural societies, human geography and planning of developing countries, refugees in North and South, religion and identity in a globalizing world, and environmental geography and planning, just to name a few. It would have been impossible to function at this level without the rigorous training received at the University of Amsterdam.

My advice to current and prospective master students is that International Development is a vocation. It is not an area where one earns much, but the little contribution that one is able to make towards social change, is more fulfilling than anything else. So if you hear the calling, ‘go for it!’