- Craig Tucker
- Leeds, UK
- MSc in African Studies
- Doing Now
- Local and international humanitarian assistance project coordiantor in Yambio, South Sudan
Why did you decide on the MSc in African Studies at CAS?
I've been intrigued by African countries and their cultures since I can remember. I always knew I wanted my career to focus on assisting others who don't have the same opportunities as me. When my intrigue turned into resolve for building a career in African affairs, an MSc at CAS was an immediate front-runner. The broad subject matter of the degree was particularly appealing as I felt it gave me the freedom to explore my specific areas of interest. The MSc in African Studies offered me the freedom and flexibility to refine my interests while providing theoretical and conceptual underpinnings to guide me.
What was best about the degree?
The best thing about the degree was the CAS community. The diversity of my cohorts and the excellence of the tutors in their respective fields created a very dynamic learning environment. The subject matter was rich and diverse and I was always encouraged to challenge my pre-existing perceptions and attitudes.
What have you been up to since you graduated?
Immediately after my degree I started a six month programme with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), where I worked on youth health and employability projects in both Aberdeen and Dar es Salaam. Over the three months I stayed in Tanzania I took every opportunity to travel to rural parts of the country and do typical mzungu actives such as visiting the National Parks; weekend trips to local islands; and expeditions up mountains. The latter was something that particularly baffled my Tanzanian counterparts who were confused as to why I would want to hike up a mountain in 40 degree heat only to see the views and come back down again. Now I think about it, is it worth it? Yes, every time!
Since returning to the UK I felt the need to refine my expertise and find my niche. The year I spent in London reaffirmed that I belong in the field and my rather dominant personality traits are suited to humanitarian relief and emergency response. I have since developed a passion for accountability to affected populations and participatory programme planning and implementation. Working in the field of Beneficiary Communications has also sparked a keen interest in the application of technology and innovation for enhancing aid effectiveness and facilitating inclusion. As I write this [in May 2012] I have just handed in my notice as the Information Officer at the CDAC Network (Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities) and will soon be leaving for South Sudan. From mid-June I'll be based in Yambio for two years, coordinating projects over seven different areas of work in collaboration with several local and international organisations. I am taking a lot of learning from the global HQ level with me, but I know now, more than ever, that I need to be back in the field where the real work in happening.
How did your degree help you when you graduated?
I can't place more value on how the degree helped develop my ability to think analytically and critically. The degree made me very aware of my own preconceptions and greatly enhanced my ability to view questions from different perspectives and adapt my thinking accordingly. It helped refine my interests and provided me with a knowledge base that has proven invaluable in my everyday work in the humanitarian sector.