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On the 16th of June 2023, I was invited to attend an event to celebrate the Silver Jubilee (25 years) of AMID (Advanced Modules in International Development) at the campus of the University of Nairobi (UoN). The Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi (UoN) has been collaborating with Radboud University, Netherlands, since 2021 to offer a programme called AMID Young Professional. At Radboud University this programme has been running for the past 25 years.

AMID helps organisations and professionals play their part in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by bridging academia, practice, and policy through the AMID Young Professional that aims to identify, connect, and educate change agents who can solve big world problems. Hannah Postma was posted at Oxford HR as a researcher through AMID and produced a thought-provoking paper on Understanding for Purpose Leadership Challenges- An Oxford HR Review.

We discussed issues around decolonizing aid, and the complexities around the Global North and the Global South dynamic. Such a heated but much needed discussion. Poignant questions asked on decolonizing aid were “Can there be a true shift in power as long as most money is coming from the Global North?”, “When is aid enough?” “Why are we still talking about the Global North and the Global South?” “Should the Global South give funders conditions to receiving aid?”

The conclusion on these two issues was: Are the ones with power questioning their power? Power is like a sharp knife. The one holding the knife has power. Asking the “powerless” to take power is asking them to risk cutting themselves in the process. Decolonization is evidently a touchy topic but it all boils down to how we treat people. How do we see people?

There are budget cuts and there will be budget cuts in the next 3-5 years in the development world, begging the question “how are we to achieve the SGDs by 2030 with the ongoing budget cuts?”. I think this is a useful question for our organization to ponder on. What do budget cuts mean for our business? Are we still blaming the Russia-Ukraine war for this? Kerubo Okioga, Porticus Regional Director lent her voice and said that the Global South must embrace systems change thinking. She asked, “why fund a classroom when the children are sick and hungry?”. Ensuring the whole system is taken care of is the way to go!

Judy Mwende
Judy Mwende
Researcher at Oxford HR

Judy is an educator with over seven years’ experience in research, teaching and training in academia and management consulting.

She has conducted research on various topics such as STEM Education Policies in Anglo-Phone Africa and reviewed National Higher Education policies in countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Eritrea, Libya, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

She possesses great communication and interpersonal skills acquired from working in different roles and strives for clarity and simplicity while navigating ambiguity and diverse perspectives.

Judy is a curious and enthusiastic learner who loves to dive into a topic to learn as much as she can and looks forward to collaborating with Oxford HR to achieve their aims.