Since 2015, we have been delighted, with the kind support of Fiona Deane with money left to her by a family legacy, to have offered the Forward Bound scholarship to MSc Health Promotion applicants from low or lower-middle income countries. This award is intended to support health and other professionals who are employed or who volunteer in roles where they will be able to influence and shape health promotion practice and policy on their return. For more information about the Forward Bound scholarship, visit here – https://www.brighton.ac.uk/studying-here/fees-and-finance/postgraduate/international-students/scholarships/forward-bound-scholarships.aspx
Due to this generous donation, we have been able to offer tuition fees, accommodation, travel and a living subsistence each year to successful candidates. There have been six scholars so far and we are delighted that we have two new scholars joining us for September 2022.
Our fourth scholar, Marwa Ibrahim, graduated in 2020. We asked Marwa to tell us how she’s doing now.
Since returning, I have appreciated the knowledge and skills I gained from my Masters. As we live in one globe, I realised the importance of networking with other people from other countries, learning from others, supporting our professional development, collaborating, and trying together to make the world a better healthy space.
Also building capacity of others is another thing I gained and learned from my Masters experience. Virtually, I am currently working on a voluntary basis with the Coalition for Global Health Innovation (CGHI), as a member of the steering group, participating in setting goals and activities for the coalition, and social media officer, of which I am responsible to create content for the coalition social media channels, raising awareness, engaging audience about the current global health issues and international health days and building communities to engage with the coalition on different social media platforms.
For the Global health mentoring program, I am mentoring a group of students and young professionals in the “Women mentoring Women” program, providing them with a structured environment that helps to steer them in the right direction where they can make a change while pursuing their career in global health or public health. Additionally, I am helping them to gain essential skills, develop adequate competencies, and guide them in advancing their future goals, dreams, and ambitions. An opportunity, in which we exchange knowledge and promote international networking. https://www.coalitionghi.org/steering-group https://www.ghmentorships.org/mentors2021
After achieving my Masters, I found a great shift toward putting health education as top priority especially after the pandemic. Public health has increasingly become a matter of concern. I have moved to the Health Education department within my organisation. My organisation has given more attention to prevention and education. I am currently working in a family health unit as Senior Health Educator. I am responsible for developing the education plan, delivering health awareness talks inside and outside the unit. I also participate in national health campaigns such as COVID community vaccination campaign talking to the public and confronting misinformation and rumours. As part of the community partnership strategy and community engagement policy, I am working to build agreement with surrounding local organisations, delivering health educational sessions in local caring homes, nurseries, and high schools. I think more is needed to be done to include health promotion rather than only education; a missing part still exists. But bureaucracy and the pandemic do make things slower. After my year away, I see things differently. As we live in one connected world, many things in the culture of my organisation are needed to change. There is a need to be more systematic and organised, not only relying on top-down strategy but also bottom up one too. Health communication is still not well understood and developed in our work. However, I think things will change for the future as my country is undergoing major health transformation to implement Universal health coverage. I am expecting Health Promotion to be included.
Personally, I think I have become more resilient. The experience of studying abroad has helped me to overcome challenges, cope with surrounding circumstances and try to appreciate every moment that passes. The international experience and the multicultural network have gone well for me as it pushes me to build on that, and try to find more opportunities on international levels. What is less easy is the system differences between UK and my country and readaptation after a year abroad as it took from me a while.
I think I have just started to put my legs on the way, engaging in the health promotion field and connecting with people from the field. I am still looking to do more. I hope to contribute to the health promotion research field as well as advocating for health promotion implementation as a non-luxury important field. I am still trying to explore more opportunities with non-g governmental sector in the public health and health promotion field. I am also trying to find a fellowship that can help to improve my professional development to expand my leadership skill in the field.
To read all our Forward Bound scholars blogs, please click here.