University of Brighton Alumni Association

Forward Bound Scholarship – an update from our scholar, Faith

Faith Atyang was awarded the Forward Bound Scholarship in 2019. Here she tells us about her work with the International Organization for Migration.

Since 2015, the University of Brighton has been delighted to offer the Forward Bound scholarship to MSc Health Promotion applicants from low or lower-middle income countries, with the kind support of donor Fiona Deane.

Faith Atyang was our fifth scholar to receive this scholarship, graduating in 2022. We asked her what she is doing now and what impact the scholarship has had.

How is your work situation? What has happened with the organisation you were working for before the scholarship, and what is your current role? 

“I am currently working in Sudan with the International Organization for Migration / The UN Migration Agency (IOM). IOM supports migrants across the world in emergency contexts, developing their resilience, as well as building the capacity of governments to manage all forms and impacts of mobility. As the leading UN agency working on migration, IOM Sudan is committed to saving lives with a focus on Health and Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Basic Infrastructure, Transition and Recovery, Displacement Tracking Matrix, and the Rapid Response Fund.

“As the Migration Health Officer (Nutrition), I provide technical guidance on implementing the IOM Sudan mission’s lifesaving health and nutrition services. This includes the promotion of capacity building for health and nutrition service providers, and the establishment of functional primary health centre facilities that offer a minimum basic package of primary health care services. This is done through a range of activities including outpatient treatment of acute and chronic diseases, and essential maternal and childcare, promoting the reduction and prevention of maternal and child mobility and mortality by focusing on the specific needs of children under the age of five and pregnant and lactating women.”

“Sudan is currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by ongoing fighting. Having worked as a humanitarian aid worker for over 8 years, I was caught up in the violent clashes between two armed forces in the capital, an experience that I would not wish on anyone. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Sudan is the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory leading to 13% of the global internally displaced persons load – 1 in every 8 internally displaced persons worldwide. 24.8 million people in Sudan currently need assistance due to the declining health system and increasing disease outbreaks, acute hunger because of worsening food security, increasing sexual and gender-based violence, lack of access to water and education, and the bureaucratic impediments to aid workers.”

“With the conflict still active in most parts of Sudan, we have had to reposition and operate in perceived safer areas. The mode of programming has shifted for all sectors in Sudan, and it continues to get more complex by the day. My former organisation, Concern Worldwide, in Kenya, has remained solid in working with the extreme poor to alleviate all forms of hunger. In Sudan, we have partnered with Concern Worldwide to deliver emergency life-saving services and commodities in hotspot areas.”

How do you reflect on the experience of studying abroad for a year? 

“Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I ever made and thanks to Fiona Deane for making it happen. Words may not be enough to describe the inward transformation that influences my professional life after my studies. My learning from my taught master’s programme is an incredible contribution and still complements my professional journey. I will never underestimate the power of critical thinking, a skill that is instrumental in my professional undertaking, given the complexity of humanitarian work exacerbated by climate change, and man-made conflict, like the case of Sudan. Health promotion and assistance for migrants is one of the IOM programme areas, influencing my day-to-day implementation of Health and Nutrition interventions targeting communities, affected populations and migrants.”

What have you achieved since the Masters, and what do you hope to do over the next 6 months?

“My passion for humanitarian work is still strong. I plan to continue to contribute to alleviating malnutrition in all forms, especially in deprived countries and locations in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Public Health Nutrition Congress is taking place in London in June, and I’m excited to be attending and delivering a presentation with Carol Williams, my course leader at the School of Sports and Health Sciences. The Congress will question the current global solutions to addressing malnutrition in all its forms. Additionally, it aims to ensure that nutrition targets truly become political priorities, and that solutions include the voices of the marginalised more than those of the powerful.”

Thank you to Faith for sharing this update with us. We look forward to checking in with her again next year.

AlumniawardhealthinternationalmigrantsphilanthropystudentSudanUniversity of Brighton

Lora Davies • June 7, 2024

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