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LSE application, for Dev Studies, personal statement


Fidelis 1 / 11  
Nov 18, 2009   #1
Personal statement

As the plane touched down my anxiety was quickly turned to disappointment. Apart from the neglected airstrip, malnourished and impoverished looking children amazed by the plane the rest was just plain grasslands. I could finally relate to the statistics that South Sudan is the most underdeveloped part of the world, recording the worst social indicators. I had travelled to remote parts of Kenya and had imagined that was the worst there was of poverty but I got a rude shock. My disappointment quickly turned to anguish as it occurred to me that Sudan was among the richest countries in Africa because of oil. The two decades of war had left the country seriously underdeveloped. I had never seen such hopelessness in people's faces and untold suffering. They had been forced to rely entirely on aid since they could not even access basic services.

This being only one experience, history repeated itself when I travelled to rural villages in Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Uganda to document the impact of our loan revolving projects on women's empowerment. The similarities of these countries with Kenya dawned on me. This intrigued me, how Africa as a continent is vast and different, yet united by one common theme - poverty, inequality and injustice. Intrinsically, the three aspects are the main causes of underdevelopment in Africa coupled with poor leadership. This was the first time I felt the urge to contribute in developing Africa and decided to pursue development studies as a career.

As an African woman, I dream of a continent with self reliant people, recognizing that it is possible to unyoke the continent from the chains of underdevelopment. Besides, my parents influenced my understanding that it was possible to overcome poverty through determination and hardwork. I find development in particular in developing countries to be exquisitely challenging, stimulating, and generally gratifying. The aspiration to be part of development think tanks in Africa is assuming an enormous responsibility and this helps to keep me focused and committed to the course. The versatility and challenges of development work has renewed my goal of attending graduate school, to deepen my understandings on theories and concepts and the application of the same. I also plan to improve my research skills as I have realized that they are pertinent in my field.

Professionally, I have worked for international relief and development organizations for over the last ten years. The progressive positions enabled me to develop leadership and management skills. As well as coordination and representation skills. I also become more responsible in my decisions and judgments. In addition, these experiences have helped me to better realize how much I enjoy learning and challenging myself. I also enjoy researching new information and sharing with development organizations.

Moreover, my interest in development studies increased over my ten years as a humanitarian aid worker and due in part, to my reading widely on the subject. I subscribed to development magazines and reports from DFID, UNDP and OXFAM. I have also followed global events such as the G8/20 Summit and others. To enhance my awareness of the complexities of developmental issues and the fact that development should be considered from a less generalized view. I have also attended conferences and workshops, where I have interacted with professionals in this line. The interaction has been fruitful as they have shared their perspectives giving me deep insights on the area.

In addition, my undergraduate studies in BA Communication and Community Development further enhanced my perspective and sent my aspirations in the direction of Developmental Studies. Undertaking part time studies while working full time was not only challenging, but offered me the opportunity to gain knowledge and utilize the skills practically, giving me an edge over my colleagues. The experience instilled in me a sense of discipline, focus, responsibility and determination, characteristics that still define my personality todate

Apart from working and schooling, I have diverse personal interests, for example on gender issues and have organized and participated in major charity events to promote the course. One event was to raise funds to provide sanitary pads for girls in rural parts of Kenya and another to increase awareness on the impact of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The second event was the most rewarding as it was picked by women parliamentarians who lobbied for an Anti-FGM policy. This was a great achievement for me, knowing the physical and psychological impact the practice has on women and girls. I also enjoy theatre and music festivals as they allow me to use my talents and potentials as well as travelling to discover new places and people. I also like reading autobiographies for inspiration by great personalities who have made history in this world like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Junior. I have engaged in these extra curricular activities throughout my life.

Therefore, undertaking a Masters in Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science will provide me with valuable skills to achieve the dream of contributing to a developed Africa. The LSE development programme is also in line with my career objective; to contribute to social development by enhancing the capabilities of people, especially the marginalized groups. To achieve this goal, education is one of the greatest empowerment tool. As it exposes us to new ways of thinking, facilitate sharing of ideas and offers new insights both through theories and models and through documented evidences.

I have good intellectual abilities, I am focused and ambitious with an excellent personality; Besides am a person of integrity who is compassionate and humane as it can be demonstrated by my volunteer services. I thrive in learning and interacting with people from diverse cultures and sharing experiences. LSE provides a good environment that will give me this opportunity while gaining an international exposure that is vital in sharing of ideas. I believe that I will bring significant contribution to the university and to LSE students from my work and personal experiences.

My conviction is that development is only achievable if everybody is involved and contributes towards changing their situations no matter how little the contribution is. After completing my Masters, I would like to work in developing countries and offer my services. I am interested in working with development organizations whose missions are to achieve sustainable development in developing countries.
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Nov 18, 2009   #2
Hi, please can someone check my personal statement, am applying for graduate school. thanks
linmark 2 / 328 7  
Nov 19, 2009   #3
What a lot of achievements you have. And passion! Although I only really "heard" your voice in the next to last paragraph (starting with "As an African woman///") You clearly have the key qualification, so it's only a matter of presentation. I got a bit lost in the lead in paragraphs as you have so many accomplishments. Maybe focussing on the most compelling few would help the reader get to know you better?? Also, I got lost in the numbers i.e.

organize special two special tasks I COUNT ONE IN THIS SENTENCE, THEN TWO MORE IN INCOMPLETE PHRASES THAT FOLLOWED; documenting CARE International impact on women's empowerment in countries of East, Horn and Central Africa, (Ethiopia, Tanzania, Burundi Uganda, Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda). As well as youth opportunities for refugees in Dadaab refugee camps in North Eastern Kenya. As well as the Arria formula, an informal meeting with United Nations Security Council (UNSC). As a result of these experiences, I become more responsible in my decisions and judgments.

The aspiration to be a development think tank ONE PERSON DOES NOT MAKE A THINK TANK in Africa is assuming an enormous responsibility
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Nov 19, 2009   #4
Smith,

Thanks for your comments, really helpful. Let me address them. Cheers
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 20, 2009   #5
Hello! I think ten is better than 10

Need a comma:
...working as a humanitarian aid worker, but what set me apart from the rest was that I was not in the profession for only monetary gains.

I think you could express this fact in half the number of words you use.

I see that you mentioned that you are going to revise according to smith's advice, and as you do, I think you should find ways to use fewer words -- like a boxer with a good hit to miss ratio. Pack a strong punch!

I look forward to the next draft.

Instead of: "I believe that my academic qualifications and experience as a humanitarian aid worker in Africa has prepared me to pursue Development Studies," just write:

Humanitarian work has enhanced my perspective and sent my aspirations in the direction of Developmental Studies.

I am jealous of how cool your life is going to be doing this kind of work! I hope you are effective. You write very well.
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Nov 21, 2009   #6
Thanks so much Kevin. Your comments are very encouraging. I will factor them in my revised draft for sure. Look out for it.
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Nov 25, 2009   #7
Hello guys, help oh help... please can someone review my personal statement. Thanks
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Nov 26, 2009   #8
Check out some other people's essays and then ask them to look at yours. :-)
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Nov 26, 2009   #9
Hello, Please review my 2nd draft. Kevin and Smith your comments on the 1st draft were helpful. Would appreciate comments on the 2nd one.

Thanks
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Dec 1, 2009   #10
Hello there, kindly help review my statement. Feel free to make your comments. I would really appreciate your assistance as I need to submit pretty soon.

Thanks
linmark 2 / 328 7  
Dec 2, 2009   #11
Dear fidelis,
You should have a look at (and help comment) other similar essays to see how yours could be improved. Please re-consider if you have addressed what I raised in my previous post on your first draft (repeated below.) This version still lists so many experiences and achievements that the reader can lose interest. Help focus the reader, short list your experiences (not ALL, only the very important ones.) Remember that your work and educational background is detailed elsewhere in the application, so it's not necessarily to your advantage to recount everything in this essay. Better to present the person behind all the accomplishments to help the Admissions Comm get to know YOU PERSONALLY better. Besides what you have done, talk about your extracurricular activities, your role model, what is your personality, how do your friends describe you.

Although I only really "heard" your voice in the next to last paragraph (starting with "As an African woman///") You clearly have the key qualification, so it's only a matter of presentation. I got a bit lost in the lead in paragraphs as you have so many accomplishments. Maybe focussing on the most compelling few would help the reader get to know you better?
OP Fidelis 1 / 11  
Dec 16, 2009   #12
Hey, Smith thanks for comments. Please see whether I have addressed them. All. please see my revised version. I would appreciate comments, suggestions, critic etc. Thanks
altair88 1 / 2  
Dec 18, 2009   #13
Dear Fidelis,

Your essay is very good! For me, it is obvious, that the author is a good candidate for
the Development Studies program. You have an extensive work experience, necessary academic background and, most importantly, willingness to bring positive changes to African communities. I am not a native speakerbut I will try to make your essay even better:

a) I would recommend leaving space between the paragraphs.
b) "As the plane touched down (check for comma here) my anxiety was quickly turned to disappointment."
c) I had travelled to remote parts of Kenya and had imagined that was the worst there was of poverty but I got a rude shock. - This sentence looks somewhat unclear.

d) "characteristics that still define my personality todate" - to date.
e) Martin Luther King Junior - Junior
f) "education is one of the greatest empowerment tool (tools)."

Good Luck with Your goals,
Sincerely, Tair


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