Trips to our project partner countries are always an opportunity to meet Alumni from our MSc course Tropical Forestry in Tharandt and promote the course to interested students. In March, we travelled to Uganda for the WoodCluster project. There, we met Patience Naamara (course 2012-14) and Minsi Babeku (course 2013-15) and learned about their personal and professional development after completing their MSc studies in Germany.
Patience studied from 2012 to 2014 in Tharandt, doing her MSc research on Urban forestry in Kampala. She works as Coordinator for the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank & IMF at the Parliament of Uganda. Besides being part of the national delegation to the COPs and having issues in environmental policies, she is currently not involved in forestry. But she is still thinking about going back to research in urban forestry. Amazingly, Patience still kept her German language skills as she is still in contact with the elderly couple in Tharandt with whom she lived during her studies and still communicates.
Minsi who attended the MSc course from 2013 to 2015 is a business man working as contractor in silviculture for a big commercial plantation company. He built on his MSc research which was about plantation silviculture in Uganda. He continued working in this field and now supervises over 100 employees. Besides his own company, he has a small eucalyptus and pine plantation and builds up a farm with agricultural, poultry and livestock activities. Minsi readily shared his experiences and gave information about his work on plantation management, which is very useful to the German students participating in the WoodCluster project.
While spending time with Minsi and Patience, we visited Minsi’s farm and they showed us some interesting spots in the area, we asked them about their linkages and memories related to the studies in Tharandt.
How did the MSc studies in Tharandt influence your work and life in Uganda? What can you implement and derive from them?
“Living and studying in Tharandt has certainly impacted on the way I go about my work: with commitment and diligence as observed from professors and staff. It opened and widened my understanding and appreciation of urban forestry, whose benefits are still not yet fully appreciated here in Uganda. It is in my plans to pursue this area in order to further impact on its development. I still do practice some technical environmental services, both in my line of duty especially during the field visits to the World Bank funded projects and also in my free time as a freelance environmental practitioner”
“Professionalism, time management and hard work. The course was quite demanding and yet we had to complete it within the stipulated time frame. But because of the institute’s guidance on proper planning, hard work and professionalism as was always emphasized, I was able to defend my thesis by September. This has greatly impacted positively on me, that whenever a task is given to me, I do it in time. And as such, many contract offers have come my way”.
Is there anything that you miss and treasure from your time during your MSc studies in Tharandt?
“Hahaha I know for sure that I do not miss winter. But I do certainly miss the many friends I made during my stay in Tharandt. I am in touch with most of them though, and I have had the opportunity to meet some of them since. And oh…I do miss the organized transport system”
“Excursions especially in Tharandt, Neustadt, Heide and Pirna Forests, where I saw and interacted with some well-developed and organised silvicultural contractors. A mechanised and well managed tree nursery at Pirna was worth visiting. The temperate silvicultural management practices learnt in the different forests visited across German and neighbouring countries was a great experience for me”.
We thank Patience and Minsi for the time and activities they shared with us in Uganda. We wish them and all our Ugandan Alumni success and happiness in their further steps in life!
By Maxi Domke with support of Patience Naamara and Minsi Babeku