In 2009, I embarked on the ComDev program at Malmö University, after chancing upon it on the Swedish University Admissions portal.
It was a huge leap of faith for me, as I had absolutely no prior knowledge about ComDev as a discipline, and especially what it offered as a career trajectory. But, it has proved to be a real-life changing and career-defining experience in more ways than one. My cohort was composed of some really amazing and talented individuals from different parts of the world who were – and still are – doing very relevant work in the international development field with notable organizations. Their knowledge and experience helped shape my subsequent entry into communication, media and development work.
Prior to this, I had had a stint in banking (with an undergraduate degree in Banking and Finance) in my native country of Ghana. The off-campus structure of ComDev enabled me to concurrently obtain real-life development experience through internships and travel in Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana over the period. The degree most certainly impacted my landing my first postgraduate communications-related gig as a Communications Officer on the USAID-funded ICFG program in the Western Region of Ghana. Since then, the sky really has been the limit and I have worked as a science communicator, strategic communications specialist/consultant, copy editor and researcher with the likes of TJNA, Scriptoria UK, Kindling Strategy, Open Knowledge Foundation and Mekong Institute, and have had very rewarding experiences with these organizations at their bases in Kenya, UK, and Thailand respectively.
My ComDev Degree Project also inspired a deep interest in research, and in 2012 I gained a scholarship to undertake a PhD study into online newsmaking in the contexts of UK and South Africa, at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston and which I successfully defended in March 2015. I was also able to do some research on open access and open data when I was awarded the prestigious Google Policy Fellowship in 2013.
Today, as a Program Director with Internews Network, and the Head of Communications of Contra Nocendi International, I get to fully utilize both the MA and PhD educations from Malmö University and UCLan towards supporting media development and advocacy in parts of Asia and Africa respectively. It is a good place to be professionally, and I’m very happy I took this chance back in 2009.
My special thanks go to the faculty team at ComDev and K3 for their noteworthy devotion and to the support of all ComDev students, which made it a real positive learning experience for me!
Alumna Sally Deffor spoke to our student assistant Yahneake Sterling.