Comfort reflects on her Forward Bound Scholarship
Since 2015, the university has been delighted to offer the Forward Bound scholarship to Health Promotion MSc applicants from low or lower-middle income countries. The scholarship supports 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 to their home country.
The scholarship is possible due to the kind support of Fiona Deane with money left to her by a family legacy. 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 third scholar, Comfort Rudzuna, graduated in 2020. We asked Comfort to tell us how he’s doing now:
Unlike the first year which was largely spent in Covid-19 lockdowns, this year has opened up many career opportunities for me. My intention coming back which I had discussed with my course leader was to go into international humanitarian practice. This was difficult due to the Covid-19 restrictions during 2020 and 2021.
I have settled into a Social and Behaviour Change Advisor post with an international charity based in Zimbabwe. This has been a great opportunity as it has offered me the opportunity to start within a familiar environment. In this position, I have managed to utilise a lot of the knowledge and skills gained during my time in Brighton such as using brief interventions and project planning techniques. I have also had the opportunity as an Advisor to be involved in designing interventions for nutrition and maternal health projects.
I like the idea that the experience builds on nutrition knowledge that I already had, and now I am able to utilise the health promotion knowledge that I gained from Brighton. As an advisor, I also have the opportunity to train other professionals and share this valuable knowledge which I believe is making an impact into the interventions that we are doing.
I did not return to my former organisation but am working with a similar organisation as I am working within a role which requires me to have an input into several nutrition and maternal and child health interventions that my organisation is involved in.
I have realised that critical analysis and reflection which were a part of what I learnt in Brighton has become a part of the way I work. This has helped me to understand issues from a different perspective and use reflection to improve future responses. In my previous experience, work culture in Zimbabwe is hierarchical and juniors are not allowed to question the decisions of their superiors. My team and I now have reflective meetings where we critically analyse how the projects can be improved. This has also involved aspects of the Managing Change course.
I have been able to make use of the knowledge that I gained in Brighton. The courses that have been particularly helpful include Principles of Health Promotion, Research Methods, Managing Change, Programme Planning and Global Public Health. I also participate in networking and cluster meetings with government and other stakeholders. I have been able to contribute to the interventions that are being implemented by other organisations.
I have found that I have improved my communication skills including report writing which is a crucial part of my work.
My planned career path was delayed due to Covid-19 but despite of this, I feel that I am where I need to be. I wish to return to my previous ambition to use my knowledge and skills in international humanitarian experience. My current project runs until the end of the year which I hope to be involved in to the end. I expect to grow and use my knowledge and skills and build my health promotion competencies. I also want to join with a few of my Masters class colleagues and write some research articles and hence contribute to knowledge.