How a scholarship can change the world

Carol Murekezi was able to attend the University of Reading in 2004 because she was fortunate enough to be given the Wallace and Muriel Hirst award. We interviewed Carol to find out how this award enabled her to go on and make a difference in the sustainability of agriculture. 

WP_20150822_001What is your favourite memory as a student at Reading?
There are a lot of special memories I have from my time as a student at Reading – here are a few of the things that had a great impact on me.
1. The sessions in class we used to have on ‘strategic thinking’. These sessions in particular forced me constantly to think outside the box and eventually helped me to become a more conscientious person.
2.  We went on a number of outings with Muriel Hirst and she took me to a potted plant sale at the university and bought me a lemon (smelling) plant.  It was so lovely because it used to give my room such a lovely scent.  I also loved the homemade marmalade she used to bring me whenever she visited me.  I truly enjoyed the visits.
3. I was also very blessed to be part of the multinational group at the university.  The students at the course came from over 20 countries worldwide.  It was very interesting to get to know them.
4.  I am a Christian and I got to know a number of people from our local church group with whom we shared a great deal including going on outings together.
What did it mean to you to receive financial support while studying?
I would have never been able to do my masters degree if I did not receive the funding I did.

What are you doing now?
At the moment I am a Consultant on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards in Rwanda.  I am working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources under a World Bank program with emphasis on the use and management of Agro-chemicals in the farming community.

What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I have been able to contribute to policy development in a number of areas in the agricultural sector.  I have been able to contribute to the development of regulations in the seed, plant health and agro-chemical sectors.  I have also been responsible for capacity building in Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards.  I have feel very honoured to have been a part of a process to effect real change in the way things are done in the agricultural sector and, more specifically, to be a part of creating an enabling environment for the private sector to get more involved thus giving the farmer better opportunities to move forward.

What are your plans/aims for the future?
I would like to play a bigger role in agricultural development in another developing country and explore more effective/relevant methods in building capacity in the agricultural sector towards the benefit of the farming community, specifically the small holder farmers.

What would you like to say to the University of Reading’s donors who support students during their studies?
I would like to say that by supporting students during their studies, the donors do the world a great service because by doing this, they give someone who would not have otherwise had the opportunity, to make a better life for themselves and the community they live in.

Prosperity and resilience is one of our IMAGINE themes. Find out more about our agricultural and sustainability projects at www.reading.ac.uk/imagine.

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