• Alumni spotlight: Ramesh Zutshi reflects on his ‘Forestry, Gender and Development’ programme back in 1992

    24 March 2021
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    Introduction by CIDT’s Des Mahony:

    “Back in early 1992 I was, at 34, the youngest lecturer at the ‘Agricultural Education & Training Unit’ (AETU) and as the one with a forestry background, responsible to coordinate a 12 week bespoke British Council commissioned course called ‘Forestry: Gender and Development’ (FGD) for very senior Indian Forest Officers. The course was tasked to update these mid-career professionals on tools and approaches to increase social inclusion, gender equity, indigenous peoples community level rights and participation in rural development.

    The AETU was within the School of Education and three times a year ran a very popular 12 week course called the ‘Overseas Technical Teachers/Trainers Award’ (OTTA) targeting staff from throughout low income countries technical agricultural/horticulture and forestry training centres (Africa, Asia, South America, the Pacific, the Caribbean etc.) to enhance and improve their curricula and educational delivery to improve food production, farming practices and natural resource management.

    The FGD was the very first course AETU ran for the Indian forest service. It later became known as the ‘Forestry People and Participation’ course and ran annually throughout the 1990s, by the end of which the AETU had been renamed to the Centre for International Development & Training (CIDT).

    Within that first mixed gender course group was a lively quick witted gentleman called Zutshi who had worked as a forest officer in Bihar state and within the Indian forest service that is a very tough state to work in for a variety of reasons. So he had plenty of very grounded experience to refer to in our sessions and discussions.

    Zutshi had never before had the opportunity to visit Europe and he relished the whole experience of being here. For me it was a genuine pleasure to have spent time with Zutshi and later, when I had the opportunity to visit Dehra Dun, be entertained in his home in India. I still smile remembering his jokes and numerous recollections: he is an excellent story teller with fantastic factual recall interested in everything from philosophy to botany to ecology to politics etc. etc.

    Here is his recollection of his time with us at ‘Wolverhampton Polytechnic’ of almost 30 years ago! 


    Recollections of my time at Walsall, Wolverhampton Polytechnic, Spring 1992

    by Ramesh Kumar Zutshi, Retired Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Head of the Forest Force of Jharkhand State, India.

    Photo 1992, Walsall Campus in front of ‘AETU’ building: 9 senior Indian forestry service program participants and staff involved in its delivery. Ramesh Kumar Zutshi is front 4th from right.

    Photo: 1992, Walsall Campus in front of ‘AETU’ building: 9 senior Indian forestry service program participants and staff involved in its delivery. Ramesh Kumar Zutshi is front 4th from right.

    My time at ‘AETU’, Walsall campus in the spring of 1992

    Thirty years ago in 1991 soon after my posting as a Professor with teaching and lecturing duties at the Indian Forest Service’s Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy the British Government offered me a bursary to go to the UK for one year under their ‘Trainers Training Programme’. I declined and said I couldn’t leave my family for a year and so was put on a 3-month course on ‘Forestry, Gender and Development’. Most of our Indian government systems were British and I had read English literature: Robinson Crusoe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Somerset Maugham, Thomas Hardy, Dickens and dozens of others. From these I was sort of familiar with the aloofness of the British, discipline, pubs and fish & chips! I hoped to see how the British had managed to rule over 64 countries and the course on Gender was secondary, as I saw it!

    In March 1992, we nine Indian Forest Service Officers flew to the UK and landed in Walsall. The course program sounded novel, and I reckoned it had something to do with equality and opportunities for women. It was run by the ‘Agricultural Education & Training Unit’ (AETU) on Walsall Campus, Wolverhampton Polytechnic in the West Midlands, and our course tutor was a young staff member called Des Mahony. In the first week we attended the Oxford Forestry Conference on ‘Wise Management of Tropical Forests’ and learned a lot about management of Tropical Forests. Participants were from all over the world and there was opportunity to talk to everyone during mealtimes. Then we returned to Walsall and had lectures on what Gender Issues were really about, what were our expectations, forestry and development and also exercises in communication and leadership.

    Midway through the programme we had a wonderful opportunity to meet and interview rural people in northern Portugal. This two-week study tour brought gender issues and rural development lectures alive for me. We stayed at the Hostel of Escola Superiora Agricola, at Refois de Lima and began visiting these 2-3 hectare small holding farms in the surrounding countryside. The terrain in this northern part of Portugal was undulating and hilly. The interesting thing was, each farm-lady offering us their own house wines, while questions were asked, information sought. This was probably the only place in Europe where we could see old farming family women riding on top of haystacks in a Bullock Cart. Besides farm visits, we looked at some plantations with Eucalyptus and other Exotic species, visited the Vino Verde Factory. Northern Portugal was chosen for this rural study fieldtrip because participants on our course and other courses were from Developing Countries. In most of Northern Europe, the conditions were not such that could help us understand rural processes, occupations, livelihood issues, role of men or women in rural communities. Concerning gender roles men in this part of Portugal had to work as migrant labourers in northern Europe and leave female relatives to manage these homesteads. In fact, gender roles, in this situation were altered because of the absence of men. So, in this trip we saw with our own eyes and came to understand how people in rural areas of a country like Portugal managed their land holdings, homesteads, incomes and processes involved.  This gave us food for thought to reflect and compare with our own rural communities in India.

    After the Portugal tour we returned to Walsall to make presentations regarding the visit. These presentations were attended by the faculty, two or three of whom evaluated our presentation and lecturing skills. They were noting down things like Repetitions, Gestures, Emphasis, Rambling, Involuntary Movements of Body Parts, and all other things necessary to make a lecture effective and understandable to the audience. These presentations were video-taped and given to us individually to look at them at our leisure along with a report of the evaluators. Fantastic, I thought, because, here you could reflect on the report about your presentation and see it for yourself. In my view, this was what helped establish me as a lecturer at the Indian Forestry Academy where I was teaching; and helped with problems during my lecture sessions with Indian Forest Service probationary trainees.

    During the course we also had outings to the Black Country Museum, plantations and logging sites and a visit to London including Kew Herbarium. We had a trip to Scotland, Edinburgh mainly, where we attended a conference relating to domestication of secondary species and some ecology. We also met with the Forestry Commission personnel in their HQ Building. During my time I learned a lot about local customs and prejudices during such outings.

    Impact of the course on my work after my return

    By the time I came to the UK I had put in 19 years with the Indian forestry service, 15 of these in Bihar State in various Forest Divisions. I had been promoted to the Rank of Conservator of Forests in 1986, a supervisory position. I was posted mostly in areas, where large tribal populations lived so there was plenty of time and occasion to see how, men and women played their roles in the running of their households and affairs of the community they lived in. I had noticed all over my district postings that many tribal males quite often were inebriated from drinking rice beer by mid-morning while females had by then returned from the fringe forests with a head load of fuel wood with girl children trudging along with some edible forest fruits. Females would then provide breakfast of rice flour bread cooked over a terracotta girdle or a few Chapattis to the males and children, whilst males were generally loafing around. In logging season (October to June) they would find employment in forest coupes (delineated areas for felling) and log, billet, stack timber or firewood produced. In our households too, back in Kashmir, males of any family would be employed in remote areas and there being no motorised transport, they would be home once in 6-9 months. During this time, women did shopping for the household, normally the domain of males, alongside their duties of cooking, washing, winnowing and all other housework. Female children’s toys were generally kitchen related! Boys would get Cricket bats, wooden balls to play and bicycles too. So, from the beginning, there was this ‘gender conditioning’ taking place, all the time, in urban educated households too. The Walsall Course opened our eyes a bit more about this. I, personally, could recall practises, processes, traditions etc. in a different light. I must admit though, it was so in my household too.

    It followed that, on arrival back to India to Dehradun and my academic job, I persisted with the Director of our Academy to recruit a female faculty member to support female students on our courses. Since there were always a dozen or more female probationers, it received favour from the Central Government and a female officer was hired on deputation from a State. So the female probationers had someone whom they could go to with problems specific to them. Later, when transferred as Dean and Principal of the State Forest College on the same campus, I likewise insisted on recruiting a woman to the college faculty. I would speak on ‘Gender Issues Related to Forestry Development’ on a regular basis to State service officers coming on short in-service training courses and in our Service Groups. Somehow, issues related to gender vis-a-vis these topics crept into my presentations on topics of Silviculture and issues related to conflict between mining and forestry too!

    The best thing that happened due to the efforts of Walsall Faculty was that, I was now a more confident lecturer with some presence! I received top ratings from groups of probationers of the Indian Forest Service, the State Forest Service Trainees and from the one week courses of my own service people. It would gladden my heart when a participant, a rank or two higher than mine, came up to me, patted my back and complimented me on the content of my lecture, or fielding questions or keeping my lecture or discussion restricted to the time allowed to me.

    This sums up Walsall for me. Trainer was trained, after all!

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  • Alumni spotlight: Marcel Botelho leads COVID-19 responses in Brazil

    27 July 2020
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    Marcel Botelho on COVID19 panel

    Professor Marcel do Nascimento BotelhoThis month we catch up with Professor Marcel do Nascimento Botelho, who undertook a PhD with CIDT back in 2003. This was made possible through a DFID-funded partnership between CIDT, University of Wolverhampton and the Federal Rural University of Amazonia (Portuguese: Universidade Federal Rural da Amazônia, UFRA) a Brazilian public University located in Belem, Pará state, Brazil.

    In 2017, after an election process, Marcel became Rector of UFRA. Since then, he has put into practice all the knowledge acquired from the Pro-UFRA project and his PhD course at CIDT-University of Wolverhampton, to establish UFRA as a key player in the sustainable development of the Amazon Region.

    Leadership of higher education responses to combat COVID-19 in Pará state

    Under Marcel’s leadership, UFRA has implemented important COVID-19 research initiatives and is now leading a research group conducting a series of analyses on COVID-19 to support state government in its decision-taking process. UFRA’s contribution has helped to reduce the number of deaths in Para state by 45%, and positively impacted upon the wider Brazilian economy. Through a single two-week period UFRA interventions reduced state death rates in Para’s population of 8 million by 14%. The research team are using Artificial Neural Nets to predict new cases, deaths and hospital infrastructure, using data in different ways for each region to help optimise use of resources.

    In a recent letter to the UK Secretary of State concerning the success of COVID-19 initiatives, Marcel commented,

    “Back in 2001 your Department generously supported a project run with the University of Wolverhampton and Harper Adams University College to support the strengthening of the Federal Rural University of the Amazon (UFRA) in Belem-Para-Brazil, of which I am the current Rector. As a consequence of that support our institution has become a key player in the development of the Amazon region.  

    “As I write, we are providing vital scientific advice to the local and state governments about the Corona Virus (Covid19) outbreak in our region. Our ability to do this is in no small part due to the support which we received from DFID, and I would wish to acknowledge this contribution and express my thanks for it once again.”

    When did you attend CIDT and what you were studying?

    I was a University Lecturer at UFRA when I was selected to attended CIDT for the MPhil/DPhil programme.

    I started my course at CIDT in 2003 and returned to Brazil to conduct my field research at Universidade Federal Rural da Amazonia (UFRA). Essentially I studied several aspects of institutional and professional development applied to institutional strengthening, comparable to the ‘Rural Extension’ field of research.

    I completed modules in: Development in practice; Effective Communication; Project Management; Research Methods; Advanced Research Skills; Social Perspsctives in Development Practice; and Research Methods and Project Design.

    The following photos show Marcel during his time at CIDT

    How did you find your time studying with us?

    During my studies in CIDT I was exposed to an environment of International Development focused on building professional capacity for change. Thus, all classes, discussions with my professors and classmates and of course, the findings from my PhD research, helped me to understand the need to address change as a process that must be based on internal motivation rather than external factors and that the time for it to occur depends on the level of success in creating this internal motivation.

    How has your career developed?

    Following my studies, I returned to Belém, the capital of the state of Pará in Brazil in order to resume my work as a university lecturer at UFRA. In 2007 I was invited to be the International Advisor of UFRA when I supported two international agreements with the United States and France.

    In 2009 I was elected Director of the Socio-environmental and Hydro Resources Institute (at UFRA) for a four year mandate. During those years I implemented a participatory management strategy to develop the actions and projects within the Institute. As a main result of this management strategy it was possible to triple our research and extension budget with high impact upon the academic community and civil society. Some of our professors earned local, regional and even international prizes for their work during this time. The use of action research, which I had introduced as part of my PhD studies as a tool for professional development, allowed our professors to enhance their classes with clear benefit to our students.

    Following this I was appointed Teaching Pro-Rector from 2013 to 2017, with a focus on implementation of a course assessment and development program, and an academic control system. The first, was a huge success so that our undergraduate courses were, for the first time, ranked level B according to the national exams. The second, brought an accurate control to academic activities, but more importantly, brought the tools for online interactions amongst professors and students.

    During this time, I was elected President of Teaching Pro-Rectors of all the Federal Universities of the Amazon region and Vice President of the National Group of Teaching Pro-Rectors. These two groups were focus on developing strategies to strengthen undergraduate course policies.

    Accolades

    After becoming Rector of the Federal Rural University of Amazon via an election process, some achievements in Marcel’s tenure so far are:

    • The second best university in the region according to Ministry of Education
    • The best university in the use of public funding in the Amazon
    • 80% of the undergrad courses classified at B or A rank
    • The best Agronomy degree course in the Amazon
    • Permanent member of most boards of Agrobusiness in Para

    Individually, and as a result of the performance of UFRA, he received recognition including:

    • Agronomist of the year in 2017
    • Personality of Agribusiness in 2018
    • Commendation Order of Merit Cabanagem 2017
    • Commendation Honor to Merit of Education 2018
    • Commendation Merit of Civil Defence 2019

    The following photos show Marcel in his role as lecturer and Rector, as well as receiving an agronomy award:

    Publications

    You can view some of Marcel’s publications using the links below:

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  • Alumni Spotlight: We speak with former Chevening fellowship student Khin Khin Mra

    19 June 2020
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    Khin Khin Mra

    Khin Khin MraIn this Alumni Spotlight we talk to Khin Khin Mra, who studied with us back in 2010, when she was a programme officer for ActionAid Myanmar. As a consultant on gender and governance, Khin Khin now works on national strategies to promote gender equality and social inclusion.

    What did you study with CIDT?

    I was awarded the Chevening Fellowship for studies in ‘Government Relations with NGOs and Civil Society’ at the University of Wolverhampton in the UK. The Chevening Fellowship Course took place from 11 January to 1 April 2010.

    How did this course make an impact on you?

    I got a chance to learn about social exculsion and how community engagement strategies worked in practice in the deprived neighbourhoods in the UK. This is the place where I really learnt to see things critically and understand how different perspectives work on social inclusion. These have become critical aspects of my work on inclusion in governance in Myanmar.

    “I can’t believe that the relationship I built with CIDT ten years ago is still going well which makes me professionally resourceful and personally fulfilled connected to people I can rely on.”

    Where are you now in your career?

    I am currently working as a consulant on gender and governance. I worked as a National Consultant to the Department of Social Welfare, at the Ministry of Social Welfare Relief and Resettlement in Myanmar for 17 months, influencing Gender Strategy implementation and acting as a critical bridge between government, donors and civil society. I have worked with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education to ensure gender equality within reforms for pre-service teacher education and with DFID’s Centre for Good Governance programme.

    I have also worked to ensure local governance policies and systems in conflict affected areas are more inclusive of women and other excluded social groups. At the same time, I contributed to evaluation projects in Myanmar for international donors such as UNFPA, UNTF, USAID and the European Union.

    Years of experience with different agencies have enabled me to leverage the important interplay between international and national commitments, and research and practice as it relates to women’s rights, gender equality, local governance and development issues. This provides me with an excellent background to understand the links between the needs of communities and the legislative and policy frameworks. As one example, I contributed to work on the development and implementation of the government’s ‘National Strategic Plan on the Advancement of Women’.

    You can read the following articles by Khin Khin online:

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  • CIDT signs an important MOU with the Somali Ecological Society

    31 July 2017
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    Somali Ecological Society

    The Chairman of the Somali Ecological Society, Mohamoud Ibrahim and the Head of CIDT, Professor Philip Dearden signed an important Memorandum of Understanding on 27th July 2017.

    During a visit to CIDT by seven members of the Somali Ecological Society, the two organisations agreed to work together for the rebuilding of Somalia especially in relation to Capacity Strengthening in Natural Resource Management and Climate Compatible Development.

    The Somali Ecological Society (SES) is a non-profit environmental NGO set up in the 1980s to promote the conservation of flora and fauna in Somalia and the sustainable utilisation of Somalia’s natural resources.

    The SES members reside in Somalia as well as in the Diaspora; – many are PhD and Masters holder in the natural sciences, with strong links with the Somali Government (both South and North).

    The Somali Government is seeking assistance from the SES to help rebuild national capacity of the natural resources sector after 30 years of civil war. In turn the SES have asked CIDT to partner in this task because of long-standing historic links. In the 1980s a number of CIDT staff were actively engaged in capacity strengthening of the natural resources sector in Somalia through training and education. A number of SES members are alumni of the University of Wolverhampton having studied at CIDT in the 1980s.

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  • CIDT Alumnus from Nepal publishes important new book.

    26 July 2017
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    Sunil Kumar Pariyar

    "Hariyo Banbhitra Dalitko Sanggharsa” - A Dalit’s Struggle inside the Green ForestSunil Kumar Pariyar from Nepal who was a participant of the CIDT improving forest governance course in 2012 has just published a book about A Dalit’s Struggle Inside Green Forest.

    “Hariyo Banbhitra Dalitko Sanggharsa” – A Dalit’s Struggle inside the Green Forest

    Sunil Kumar PariyarSunil Kumar Pariyar is the Chairperson of the Dalit Alliance for Natural Resources (DANAR) – Nepal and worked with the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme (LFP) funded by UK Aid and supported by CIDT.

    Sunil attended the 2011/2 Nepal – Improving Forestry Governance course which was split between Telford in the UK and Pokhara and Kathmandu in Nepal.

    CIDT are currently helping Sunil search for funding to translate his book into English. If you would like to support this please contact us at CIDT@wlv.ac.uk.

    Images

    Below: Nepal – Improving Forestry Governance Group photograph at Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) University of Wolverhampton, Telford Campus, UK

    Improving Forestry Governance course

    Below: Sunil and other course participants on a home visit.

    Below: Facilitation Skills Practice in Pokhara with invited Forest Governance stakeholders

    Below: Illegal Logging Meeting in Kathmandu attended by 96 Forestry Governance key stakeholders 14th March 2012

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  • Vice Chancellor of the University of Wolverhampton hosts Alumni evening to celebrate 30 years of work in Cameroon

    29 June 2016
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    Cameroon Alumni event

    On 22nd June 2016 Professor Geoff Layer hosted an Alumni Evening at the Mont Fébé hotel in Yaoundé for Cameroonian Alumni.

    To start the evening Philip Dearden, Head of the Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) gave a short presentation on CIDT’s 30 years of work in Cameroon. View his presentation here.

    Below: Professor Geoff Layer, Philip Dearden and Ghislain Defo discussing the evening

    Below: Philip Dearden greeting Steve Evans and his wife Elaine Evans from the British High Commission.

    Below: Vice Chancellor Professor Geoff Layer welcoming alumni and guests

    Below: Famous Cameroonian footballer Roger Milla (who is a roving ambassador for the University of Wolverhampton) also gave a short speech and talked about his foundation which is supported by the University of Wolverhampton.

    Event featured on Cameroonian TV

    This event was featured on Cameroonian TV’s Canal 2 on Tuesday 28 June 2016. You can watch it below. The broadcast is in French, but still gives a flavour of the event.

    Photos from the evening

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  • Alumni Spotlight: Cecile Ndjebet is a leader in community forestry and inclusion

    18 June 2016
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    Cecile Ndjebet

    We caught up with Cecile Ndjebet at our Forest Governance Forum in Cameroon in March 2016.

    Cecile studied with us many years ago in 1994 on a course centred around Community Forestry for local development. Since then she has accomplished many things around community forestry and the integration of gender and women’s rights in this area.

    View more Alumni profiles.

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  • CIDT alumni return home to make an impact in Forest Governance

    3 September 2015
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    IFG 2015 Awards Ceremony
    IFG closing presentation

    Download the IFG 2015 closing presentation by Hugh Speechly.

    CIDT bid farewell to the 46 participants of the 2015 Improving Forest Governance, who returned to their 22 countries of origin to put new learning into practice. Mr Hugh Speechly closed the IFG course on behalf of the European Forestry Institute (EFI), one of the key course sponsors, along with DFID. Hugh emphasised six broad dimensions of governance, including voice and accountability, rule of law, control of corruption and regulatory quality. Echoing a recent Chatham House report, he noted that Governance reforms in many producer countries have slowed and getting back on track will require a step change in political commitment and willingness to tackle more difficult governance issues. Applying governance trends to participants’ own countries, he challenged the participants on what they could do to make a difference upon their return.

    In the final weeks of the course, participants chose from optional modules on Forests and Climate Change, Training of Trainers, Project Proposal Writing and Gender in Forest Governance. These modules were designed deepen knowledge, but also to equip participants to share learning upon return. Working with a personal tutor, each participant developed a personal action plan, detailing concrete practical steps to contribute to improving forest governance upon return home.

    CIDT wishes all alumni well and look forward to connecting again in six months, when we follow up on participant action plans and impact.

    Images from the closing day of IFG 2015

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  • CIDT celebrate honour for LFP Manager Vijay Shrestha

    7 October 2014
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    Vijay with Vice Chancellor Geoff Layer

    Vijay Shrestha was presented with the University’s Alumnus of the Year: Contribution to Society Award as part of the University’s Business Achievement Awards 2013 at the Molineux Stadium in June.  The award is presented to a graduate who has made a significant contribution to or transformed the lives of others.

    Vijay was selected for the award for the significant contributions he has made to the development of his home country, Nepal – often cited as one of the poorest countries in the world.  After graduating from the University of Wolverhampton, he worked with the University of Wolverhampton’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) as Programme Manager for the Department for International Development (DFID) funded Livelihoods and Forestry Programme (LFP) in Nepal.

    CIDT staff and colleagues of Vijay Shrestha on the Livelihoods Forestry Programme in Nepal celebrated the presentation of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science during a graduation ceremony on Thursday, 11 September 2014.

    Left to Right - Pete Branney, Ella Haruna, Rachel Roland, Philip Dearden, Vijay Shrestha, Gaia Allison, Gary Butler, Julian Gayfer and Gavin Jordan  

    Left to Right – Pete Branney, Ella Haruna, Rachel Roland, Philip Dearden, Vijay Shrestha, Gaia Allison, Gary Butler, Julian Gayfer and Gavin Jordan

     

    Professor Philip Dearden’s Encomium

    Vice-Chancellor, I have the great honour to present Vijay Shrestha  on whom the Board of Governors and the Academic Board wish to confer an Honorary Degree of Social Sciences.

    Ever since I have known Vijay we have started our correspondence or conversation with the simple Nepalese greeting of Namaste.

    As I’m sure many of you are aware, Namaste is used as a respectful form of greeting, acknowledging and welcoming a stranger, a relative or a guest.

    Namaste is spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest

    I would like us all to put our hands together and say a big collective Nameste to Vijay.

    Thank you!

    Vijay Shrestha is a truly remarkable person who has made a huge and unparalleled contribution to the development of his country – one of the most beautiful but poorest countries in the world – Nepal.

    Vijay began his career as a Voluntary Teacher, working in three schools in his rural home town of Dhankuta in eastern Nepal

    He then became an Administrative Officer, followed by an Accountant and then Office Manager for the Koshi Hills Development Programme which was a UK Aid-funded rural integrated development project in Nepal.  He was responsible for all administrative functions within the Programme – involving 16 expatriate and Nepali Consultants and over 100 local support staff.

    In the words of an ex colleague “throughout this challenging work he was always very open and friendly and always had an infectious smile on this face!”

    Vijay then moved to Kathmandu and worked for the Nepal-UK Community Forestry Project, a project funded by UK’s Department for International Development and the Government of Nepal where he was responsible for the efficient operation of Project Co-ordination Office. From this project Vijay moved to become the Deputy Programme Coordinator of the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme (LFP), an even larger bilateral programme between DFID UK and the Government of Nepal.

    As if this was not enough of a challenge during this time Vijay enrolled on a master’s degree here in the University of Wolverhampton.

    Since graduating with a Masters degree Vijay has worked with the University’s Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) as Programme Manager for the Department for International Development funded Livelihoods Forestry Programme.

    As reported in the DFID Project Completion report in 2013 this 10 year development programme successfully generated employment for over 2.8 million people (of whom 85% were poor or excluded people) and helped lift over 1.3 million people out of poverty in Nepal.

    In order to achieve this Vijay worked tirelessly over the ten years of the programme leading and inspiring a team of over 130 programme staff – often through insecure times and very difficult political situations in Nepal.

    He has ensured that £26 million of UK Aid (tax payer’s) money from DFID has effectively and efficiently reached the very poorest in Nepal where it has made an enormous difference.

    In the words of the Head of the Department for International Development in Nepal “the internationally-recognised success of Nepal’s community forestry sector recognised globally, owes much to Vijay Shrestha”.

    Vijay has truly inspired and mentored many, ensuring that the next generation of community forestry leaders are ready to take up the challenges ahead.

    Over time the highly successful Livelihoods and Forestry Programme became a “DFID Flagship programme” and was visited by no less than six UK DFID Ministers from Claire Short (2003) through to Andrew Mitchell (2012).

    Working with CIDT staff at the end of the programme, Vijay helped collate and document all the experiences of the Livelihoods and Forestry programme and these have been published in “A Decade of the Livelihoods and Forestry Programme”.

    Last year Vijay was awarded the University of Wolverhampton Alumni of the Year Award in the category of “Making the Biggest Contribution to Society”.

    Vijay’s work for the poorest and excluded in Nepal is a wonderful tribute to the real values of the University of Wolverhampton.

    Finally, in some contexts, Namaste is used to thank the other person for their generous kindness. In this context let me please say Nameste to Vijay’s most supportive wife Salina and his son Vishesh whom I am very sorry cannot be with us here today. Namaste Salina, Namaste Vishesh and Namaste Vijay.

    Vice-Chancellor, I am very proud and deeply honoured to present Vijay Shrestha, in recognition of his significant contribution to international development, for the conferment of an Honorary Degree of Social Sciences of the University of Wolverhampton.

    Professor Philip N. Dearden, Head of Centre for International Development and Training, University of Wolverhampton.

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