The MAAPD program since it inception in 2002 has had students from a range of backgrounds and experiences. The countries represented in the Program to date include: Australia, Canada, Colombia, China, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Holland, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Panama, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the USA. Below are some of experiences and work that the MAAPD program has led people to.
Graduated 2016 – MAAPD (Advanced). I started the MAAPD program while living overseas and working in Pacific development. I was drawn to the program due its flexible and online delivery, range of topics and courses covered, specialisations available, and opportunity for extended study to include a thesis. I enjoyed the diverse experience and perspectives that students brought to the online tutorials and that these discussions were with people based in different parts of the world. It was incredibly valuable studying part-time while working as I was able to reflect and integrate my learning from the program into my work and vice versa. After graduating, I continued to work in Pacific development with a WASH NGO. Most recently, I have been working in Victoria, Australia implementing recommendations from the 2016 Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Graduated 2015. I am currently in my final months of a PhD degree at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies, ANU: an ethnographic analysis of Indigenous ear disease and hearing loss, focused especially on prioritising the voices of Indigenous people who live with the issue/s. Part of my PhD has been 8 months of fieldwork in the Aboriginal community of Yarrabah, QLD. The MAAPD program I undertook between 2013 and 2015, in the Indigenous stream, gave me the perfect training for this PhD.
Through the MAAPD, I was able to undertake subjects through different schools and centres at ANU, enabling me to meet and learn from academics and students from a range of disciplines and fields of expertise. The subject material was rich, varied, fascinating and stimulating, and provided me with great insight into scholarship, theories and debates in anthropology and community development, especially in the Indigenous space. The MAAPD also gave me practical tools for doing applied ethnographic research, teaching me about things such as: classic and innovative methodologies and methods, how to conduct impact assessments, and ethical and political issues to consider when working in cross-cultural contexts.
I would highly recommend the MAAPD to anyone who is interested in undertaking respectful and meaningful developmental work in any community or socio-cultural setting, in Australia or globally.
Fiji – Graduated in 2016 MAAPD Advanced. I graduated in 2016 from the MAAPD program with a specialization in Gender and Development. The program complemented my experiences with local civil society organizations and development partners in the Pacific, and lent me further lenses to analyze and navigate the complexities of the development sector. The program facilitated a deep dive into development agendas, and in some cases debunked various conceptual approaches that frame development priorities, drive funding, and entangle interests. I really enjoyed the exposure to critical mappings of development theories, many of which are still dominant in development practices and impacts we face today. The mix of students and teachers with various backgrounds, including from civil society, academia, and government, together with relevant case studies that exemplify the challenges and potential of participatory approaches to local development, enhanced my learning experiences and helps situate critical analysis in my advocacy with various stakeholders. The program has also deepened my networks, and built new ones globally. The extended research component gave me the opportunity to apply some of my MAAPD learnings to a topic I was passionate about, encouraging research confidence to engage and apply critical analysis in my work.
When I graduated I returned to Fiji and joined Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), a network of feminist scholars, researchers and activists from the economic South working for economic and gender justice and sustainable and democratic development. As DAWN's Program Officer, I am continuously interrogating development programs and policies for its impacts, especially on women in the global South, with the aim to support and improve development policy making.
Michael Beauchamp, from Australia, graduated in 2014, currently working as a social development specialist at the Asian Development Bank:
I embarked on the MAAPD program at the age of 51 and having worked for 25 years on international development projects, mostly funded by bilateral and multilateral institutions. Being an engineer and project manager for most of those years, but drifting into the social side of development during the latter period, I wanted to gain some formal qualifications in the social sciences. I found the course to be much harder work but also much more rewarding than I had expected, and I feel that I took away much more than qualifications. The courses were varied, interesting and well structured, with online tutorials and interaction providing a personal element, and more than adequate resources provided through the online library. I found practical applications for many of the concepts and methods covered in the MAAPD program, and I now feel more confident and competent to deal with the social dimensions of development projects. In some ways the course also reinforced elements of awareness and knowledge that I had gained through practical experience over the years but had not been able to articulate. I wish I had taken on this program a decade or two earlier.
Graduated 2014. I really enjoyed my time during the MAAPD program. The program offers a wide range of courses which have equipped me with valuable skills relevant to working within Indonesia's development sector. The courses provide both theoretical and practical knowledge which have improved my ability to engage in critical analysis of development projects and programs. The lecturers are highly skilled and knowledgeable with many years of experience working in the field. One of the most valuable experiences is the possibility to pursue further research through the research component of the program. Through MAAPD Research, I was able to focus on development issues that I am passionate about and enabled hands-on research experience.
One of the best decisions i've made in life was the decision to choose the MAAPD program in ANU. It offers a wide array of courses significant to development workers like me. I never had regrets on the courses i've picked up and i even wished I could enrol more. The concepts, theories, and cases confirmed my experiences from the field, while i've brought back to work new insights and learnings from class discussions, tutorials, and required readings.
One best thing that happened to me after the program was being shortlisted and employed as manager for fisheries institutional and organizational development in the Philippines by an international conservation NGO. I never thought that I would get the position but after being introduced to the global team I realized that it was probably my MAAPD degree that enabled me in because it was among the first information stated to describe my background.
I would highly recommend this program to development workers as it would help them work better with both local, national and international communities.
Matthew Carr - Australia
Graduated 2012. Having spent 17 years in the military and with operational experience, my understanding of humanitarian aid and the various influences involved in aid delivery was still limited. This course provided me with a much broader perspective of humanitarianism at both an international strategic level as well as an inter-organisational level. This is a well rounded course that prepares students for a broad range of roles in the humanitarian and development arena. Additionally, the network I have been able to create with other government and NGO agencies through other students will be valuable in future development and aid projects.
Shireen Watson Australia
Graduated 2012. Studying within the MAAPD program gave me the opportunity to learn from knowledgeable lecturers with decades of experience in their field. The other students contributed valuable input into discussions throughout the course, and were an important part of the learning process. I would recommend the MAAPD program to students looking for something challenging.
Yahaya Umar – Nigeria
Graduated 2012. I am a civil servant and work with the Millennium Development Goals Office, Abuja, Nigeria. In my work place, I am involved in initiating and implementing programs and activities that are geared toward the promotion of gender equality and mainstreaming across sectors at the national, state and local levels. Having seen the real difficulties involved in gender work from a developing country perspective, the MAAPD (Gender & Dev.) has enhanced my capacity through exposure to rich literature, tools, models and frameworks relating to gender and development focus. Importantly, the MAAPD training strategy of engaging guest lectures and renowned scholars with deep knowledge and practical experiences on specific areas to engage with students from time to time, helped tremendously in gaining insight into the multifaceted contemporary issues in gender and development arenas. Now conferred with MAAPD (Gender & Dev.), I am going home fully equipped with the skills of developing sound policies, which are critical for creating the necessary impetus for development. Besides, I have learnt through the program the tenets of SIA of development projects which is also important in planning for programs and implementation. Bravo to all my lecturers!
Syed Sharek Ahmed Roomy – Bangladesh
Graduated 2012. I am currently working in a local NGO, which focuses primarily on creating an alternative and free access to standardized education throughout the country, as the director, strategy, planning & implementation. The MAAPD program has equipped me with the clear understanding of technical tools by which development projects are created, implemented, monitored and evaluated. Besides running the day-to-day operations at my work, I am arranging regular workshops for the other employees at my office and trying to share my knowledge of development, which I have acquired through the MAAPD program. The design of the MAAPD program makes it a whole package. It is not just an academic program, for me it was both an academic degree and professional experience. I have never worked in the development sector before enrolling in this degree but I feel the program itself has helped me overcome the experience I was lacking. I have developed my very own personal angle to development through this program. I highly recommend the MAAPD program to people who are interested in development. Undoubtedly, the experience far exceeds the usual perks of having a Masters degree.
Ralph Sequiera - India
Graduated 2011. I came to ANU through an international scholarship, with a decade of grassroots experience in community development work in rural north-east India. The MAAPD (Society and Environment) with its comprehensive mix of theory and practical skills provided a broad overview of the global development scenario and simultaneously created opportunities to research local issues in one's own home country. My particular specialisation gave me valuable insights into the environmental and social costs of large governmental and MNC projects, particularly on vulnerable communities and ecosystems, and taught me alternative protocols of offsetting them. I wish to return to the ANU to pursue a PhD someday, but in the meanwhile I am working in Mumbai as the 'Operations Head' of an NGO that is providing intensive vocational training to drop-out youth from socio-economically challenged backgrounds and placing them in the formal sector with salaries that will help them bring their families out of the generational poverty cycle.
Jedess Nunez - Philippines
Graduated 2011. The Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development (MAAPD) program in the Australian National University (ANU) provided me with concepts and tools that aided me in looking at different social and environmental issues in the Philippines. By studying cases in other countries, I was able to relate this with my own experiences in the field of development in my country. MAAPD helped me explore a wide range of issues on people and their dynamics with their different environments. Through studying what has been done, I was able to identify what still needs to be done. Although I work in a specific area, agricultural development, MAAPD, particularly social impact studies aided me in addressing a significant and pressing issue in my line of work – the impacts of a crop disease on abaca farmers and their households. I was able to explore this through MAAPD research. I would highly recommend MAAPD students to do the research component because it will give them the opportunity to apply the concepts they have learned during their coursework, as it did for me. In my case, I would say that MAAPD has helped me expand my knowledge on issues that are important to my line of work, it has influenced (for the better) how I perceive these issues, and has enhanced my capabilities to do something about these.
Silvia Liertz - Australia
Graduated in 2011. I was a part-time student who completed the first half of the course on campus and the second half on-line. The course was immediately relevant and topical: while working in an Indigenous NGO, I studied Australian Indigenous Policy during the Northern Territory National Emergency Response in 2007 and 2008. The class was a part of current affairs and history: my lecturer, guest speakers, and many of my fellow students, were involved in shaping 'The Intervention', or critical responses to it. I completed the course while working in an NGO and government agencies in Timor-Leste. The MAAPD internship gave me the opportunity to shape workforce policies in Timor's Civil Service Commission. Today I use the analytical, research and rapid assessment skills I learnt in my work in the Australian Public Service. MAAPD's online tools for lectures and tutorials are exceptional – the support and dedicated individual feedback from teachers meant I felt part of campus learning, even though I was overseas. This course offers a perfect balance of theory and practise and is taught by academic experts who continue to work in the field today – and therefore deliver practical advice, without wearing rose-coloured glasses.
Sumayyah Sayed - Australia/Aghanistan
Graduated 2010. I applied and was accepted for Juris Doctorate and MAAPD at various Australian universities, however, I accepted ANU's offer and enrolled in MAAPD. It was the best decision I made! I am now working for a program funded by the US Department of State (International Narcotics and Law Bureau) and building capacity in the Afghanistan justice sector – Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Justice – on public affairs issues. Born and raised in Australia with an Afghan background, worked in Afghanistan for 3 years prior to pursuing MAAPD, and yet, it taught me so much about development work and perfectly complemented my practical experience. I look forward to applying my skills and qualifications in other developing nations, and pursuing that Juris Doctorate degree!
Jane Fairweather - Australia
Graduated 2010. My motivation for enrolling in the MAAPD was spurred by my desire to better understand the processes that affect the outcome of development programs and to develop my skills to enable me to critically analyse the limitations of project proposals. I began my first course in the program whilst working as an educator in Uzbekistan. The use of on-line learning platforms provided me with access to learning resources and a means to communicate with the MAAPD lecturers, tutors and other course participants in locations around the globe. Later, when I moved to Canberra to complete the program I was able to benefit from engagements with development practitioners on the course - gaining insight into different perspectives and the challenges associated with implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects in other settings. An internship over the summer months with the New Zealand based Pacific Cooperation Foundation enabled me to apply and practice skills and concepts gained at ANU. The ways in which the course is composed enabled me to tailor my study to focus on issues related to the education sector, particularly the enduring issue of access to quality education services. A critical component of my effectiveness as an educator is my ability to access the impacts that initiatives have or may have on the learning outcomes of students as well as monitoring and evaluating the role the participatory role that various stakeholders have in the process. I highly recommend the MAAPD as my involvement in the program has better enabled me to understand the importance of participation and inclusion of local and community perspectives. In the near future, I hope to pursue further research opportunities and the MAAPD provides a strong foundation for this.
Penny Jones - Australia
I began the MAAPD when I was based in Timor-Leste, working for a non-government organisation, and continued it as I took on development and humanitarian consulting positions in the Cook Islands, Timor-Leste and Haiti. The MAAPD provided a wonderful opportunity to develop my thinking and understanding about challenges facing developing countries, and different ways of addressing them. I learned practical skills of direct relevance to my work, including various methodologies for social research, monitoring and evaluation. I also developed a much greater awareness of major issues in international development, such as migration, gender, and the roles of diverse development actors. All the MAAPD lecturers and tutors pushed me to think critically and read widely, and all made a sustained effort to ensure that the course was accessible for remote students, despite difficulties such as poor internet connections, different timezones and competing work priorities. I highly recommend the MAAPD to other development professionals seeking to enhance their practical skills and deepen their knowledge, or to people interested in starting out in the sector.
Kye Taylor - Australia
Graduated in 2010. I joined AusAID in 2006 with a policy background but limited knowledge of development concepts and approaches. Although AusAID was a wonderful environment to be mentored and develop my on-the-job skills, I was aware of a gap in my knowledge. So when I went on maternity leave in 2007 I enrolled in the MAAPD. I chose this program because the subjects afforded an understanding of theoretical approaches to development while also necessitating their analysis and application in the real world. The flexibility of the MAAPD also appealed to me. I was able to specialise in my area of interest while the online tutorials meant I could complete my studies in Melbourne. This online forum attracted a great diversity of students, many of whom worked in the field, and they brought with them the specificity and complexity of their experiences. The MAAPD also gave me the opportunity to work outside government, undertaking an internship with Oxfam. Studying while on maternity leave has allowed me to stay on top of current debates and approaches in my field. Now, when I return to work in the new year, I won't be at a disadvantage. Quite the opposite – I will be returning with a broader, more mature understanding of development, which will further enhance my work in this area.
Christopher O. Magoba - Kenya
Graduated December 2009. Professionally, I am an agriculturalist working with the Kenyan Agriculture ministry for several years, coordinating various, mostly donor-supported agricultural projects. Through this experience, I met various challenges striking me as queer. For instance, upon a project ending, not much tangible changes in targeted beneficiaries' lives could be discerned irrespective of project duration. However, the same beneficiaries would willingly welcome a new project without any conditions. This, among other aspects, disturbed me a bit. Consequently, I developed an urge to understand this phenomenon further. So upon securing an opportunity to study at the prestigious Australian National University in Canberra, I deliberately sought a program to enhance my understanding of development phenomena. To my greatest pleasure, MAAPD program gave me more than I could have bargained for. Specifically, the style used in delivering materials in MAAPD is quite interactive and enriching. Besides immense cultural, professional and educational interactions, there are several interactive aspects such as group discussions, recorded lectures, guest lecturers, and online exchanges among students and lecturers. I found most topics delivered relevant to my professional circumstances. I am back at the Agriculture ministry managing agricultural development in a district. This puts me in charge of managing development projects. Recently, I had an opportunity to apply some of the skills I learnt in MAAPD - I developed a tool for establishing the client satisfaction with services offered by the Ministry. In a nutshell, MAAPD gave me a significant opportunity to view practical development practices quite differently.
Juan Zhang - Australia
Graduated from MAAPD in 2009 in the Gender and Development Specialisation. I migrated to Australia from China in 2003. After working in a development consulting firm for 4 years, I realized the importance of having an Australian qualification. To my greatest joy, MAAPD gave me far more than just a Master's degree from one of the most reputable universities in Australia; it offered me the best learning experience I have ever had. I appreciated the interactions both in class and online, the practicality of topics and the rich development experience of the lecturers. After finishing MAAPD, I am still working for the same consulting firm but have been able to get more involved in technical aspects of project implementation. Recently, I conducted a case study on the AusAID-funded China Australia Governance Program to evaluate the activity's impact. I was able to apply the knowledge and methodologies I learned from MAAPD to my field work. It was a truly enjoyable and satisfying experience!
Nanda Gasparini - Australia/Venezuela
Graduated in 2010 in the Society and Environment specialization. I came to the MAAPD after 5 years of development experience at the World Bank. I was looking to take a step back and examine development issues from a different perspective and had been wanting to pursue graduate studies in anthropology for a while but had not found the right program. When someone recommended the MAAPD I saw that it was practical and theoretical enough to offer the mix I was after. While I wanted to develop anthropological skills I wanted to do it as a development professional, so I needed something current and practical and the MAAPD provided that. Classes were taught by expert professionals who not only had strong theoretical knowledge but current practical work experience in a range of countries. I learned from them immensely and got to know them outside the classroom as they were all available to mentor us students. I also studied amongst a range of international students with very diverse and rich backgrounds, most of whom had extensive development experience. The result was interesting and useful readings and lectures, and rich discussion, together with challenging research assignments. I also undertook the "supervised project" and travelled to Vietnam to do my research, which I strongly recommend doing. After graduating from the MAAPD I've been able to find very interesting work, including at AusAID and the World Bank working on resettlement, environment, consultations and more. A program well worth it!
Amy Glass - Madagascar
Graduated 2009 - The MAAPD programme was perfectly adapted to my aspirations. After many years in the field with NGOs such as Action against Hunger and Oxfam, I wanted to pause, reflect and question what we do as development "practitioners." The academic level is challenging, and the learning tools are well-adapted to those of us still in the field. They range from recorded lectures and pdf files to interactive class discussion and even on-line role play. I was able to do essays and projects directly tied to my interests and the country where I live. As I return to development work, I feel my professional experience has a much more solid and wider base, thanks to the MAAPD programme and its dedicated faculty!
Summer Edwards - Australia
Graduated 2008 in the Conflict specialisation. I enrolled part time, immediately after my undergraduate studies for two reasons: it combined my interests in development, gender and peace studies; and, I was having difficulty finding graduate employment in any field. Within a year of part time study with the MAAPD, I not only had a job, but I had secured graduate position with a development consultancy firm against a highly competitive field of applicants. I credit much of my success in this to the knowledge and experience gained from the MAAPD. The program combines important theoretical debates with practical skills- the perfect combination of academic debate with development practice. The practical value of the MAAPD is has continuously shown in my work. Since graduating from the program, I have been on assignment with the AYAD program, working for the Beijing Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women. In this role with a grassroots NGO, I am able to use my graduate training for the purpose of capacity building local staff across a range of technical areas, as well as program design skills and effective monitoring and evaluation. I am grateful to the whole MAAPD team for the world class training the program provides.
Cinzia Pedrotti - Italy/Australia
Graduated in 2008. I decided to apply for the MAAPD straight after my Bachelor-level degree in Anthropology from Italy, and I chose it because it seemed to perfectly match my interest in Gender and Development. Less than two years have passed from when I started the MAAPD program and I can clearly see how much enrolling in this Master has helped me not only to gain skills for a hopefully successful career, the idea of which is clearer in my mind, but also to develop my personality in a way that I am proud of. I attended courses which were very different from each other, but all extremely captivating and I had the opportunity to learn more not only about gender and development, but also about social impact assessment and Australian Indigenous cultures for example, two topics I knew nothing about when I started the MAAPD program and that now have became two of my main interests, and certainly something I would like to be involved with in a professional career. The lecturers at MAAPD are as engaging and friendly as possible, and with their support even novices can gain a deep understanding of complex issues. Last, but not least, the MAAPD program allowed me to be involved in the monitoring and evaluation of a micro-enterprise development program funded by Hewlett Packard. This represented one the most challenging, interesting and useful projects I have ever had the privilege of taking part in.
Edith Bewlay – Australia/Kenya
Graduated in 2008. Having grown up in a developing country I was constantly aware of development initiatives yielding mediocre outcomes. With a keen interest in participatory development approaches, but grappling with questions such as conditionality of aid and its [in]effectiveness in community and international development, I settled on the MAAPD program. I am so thankful I did. As a former teacher turned public servant, the program provided a practical and conceptual appreciation of the factors that stifle effective change and/or contribute to the unintended consequences of intervention. Shortly after commencing the MAAPD, I started working at the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on a range of national health policy and program areas. The course equipped me to better handle the social, political, ethical and cultural issues present in the Indigenous health sector. The applied anthropology theme - combined with a critical perspective on development - added an essential balance between academic theory and practical implementation of sustainable development solutions. Course delivery was excellent; most lecturers are recognised development practitioners drawing from hands-on experience in various fields. There is no doubt the MAAPD program is a highly effective qualification for any private or public sector professional dedicated to sustainable development strategies.
Kristie Drucza - Australia
Graduated in 2008. I originally began the MAAPD when I was a volunteer development worker in Tonga. It was helpful to get resources that informed the work I was doing. Studying development while working assists with knowledge transfer. You learn the theory and then instantly apply a practical application. I was working at AusAID for most of my MAAPD, and it assisted in informing my work on government aid policy and programming. The MAAPD gives a different perspective and way of thinking about development. It challenges previous assumptions and doesn't shy away from the complexities of development. Upon completing the gender specialised MAAPD I secured a position in Nepal as a gender and social inclusion adviser for business development. The Hewlett Packard internship that I did in connection with the MAAPD made me marketable to the international development community.
Ross Craven – Australia
Graduated 2008. Having lived and worked in a developing country for two years I found myself increasingly challenged to better understand how development activities impact on the communities in which they are set. With a range of specialisations on offer the MAAPD Program is both an ideal catalyst for people wanting to engage in practical development activities or to enhance understanding and challenge development approaches for those already in development settings. The course has developed a strong reputation as a global leader in providing its graduates with an objective, diverse and practical approach to development interventions and the importance of participation by beneficiaries themselves in development activity. The assessment tasks are all relevant and include conducting Social Impact Assessments, carrying out field surveys, project appraisal and management, all in the context of the cross-cultural setting. Strengths are guest speakers, specialists in their discipline, and the flexibility of the program, courses offered online or on-campus. Course content is practical, contemporary and drawn from the field, the convenors being experienced and practicing development workers. As someone now implementing and assessing aid projects in the Pacific I would strongly recommend this course to anyone wanting to develop or improve their understanding of the importance of participation at all levels in development interventions.
Sarah Boddington - Australia
Graduated 2008. The MAAPD course at ANU was great. It gave me the chance to reflect upon my experiences working as an Australian Volunteer in Pakistan and Mongolia. I got to build my practical skills in things like social impact studies and designing survey tools as well as reflecting on key development concepts like participation, social capital and democratisation. The highlight of the course was doing a Hewlett Packard internship, where I monitored a Microenterprise Development Centre Project at the ASEAN Foundation in Indonesia. In doing this I got great experience in applying an evaluation tool and interviewing project participants, as well as a fantastic introduction to working in Jakarta. Since graduating, I have moved to Cambodia and have used what I learned in the MAAPD in my work in a international housing rights NGO and at a local development research NGO.
Susan Mackay - Thailand
Graduated in 2008. Studied by distance and was 'hooked' from the very first week - engaging lectures, thought provoking readings, and a great online space to develop, test and exchange ideas. Although juggling studies with a full-time development job, I was addicted enough to study right into the early hours. The excellent academic support is a real hallmark of the MAAPD experience, as is the opportunity to engage with other practitioners working in challenging real-life development situations. It's already been a stepping-stone for me to move into a management position, but I'm sufficiently inspired to sign up for a another course this year as well!
Amber Guillory - USA
Graduated in 2008. I originally chose the program because it promised practical experience and a dedication to examining the role of participatory processes within international development. I was not disappointed. The program as a whole has a wide diversity of classes from which to choose. The topics covered in each and every class presented challenges to me as an academic, requiring clear and organized research and writing, and also as a human, grappling with the ethical dilemmas of the world today. The MAAPD professors are approachable, very knowledgeable practitioners and always willing to support students' interests and goals. My fellow students provided me with another sphere of learning that I did not imagine was possible: each student sharing my study room came from a different country, a different perspective, and many were already professionals in the field of international development. I believe that the MAAPD program has provided me with the tools to begin a fruitful career in anthropology and development. Upon the end of my term with the program, I had the opportunity to travel to Kunming, China to conduct an evaluation of a microenterprise training program. I am currently working with a small socio-economic research firm in my hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii, USA on social impact assessments of diverse projects ranging from rural agricultural development and cruise ship tourism, to military mobilizations in the Asia Pacific region.
Tran Minh Thu - Vietnam
Graduated in 2007, and I never have to regret that I have chosen MAAPD. I came to the program after more than 10 years hands on experience with an NGO in Vietnam. My current work centres around human rights and participation. The MAAPD program combines both perspectives from academia and development practitioners, thus bring about interesting experiences on participatory processes. What really fascinated me was being able to discuss how culture affected peopleʼs decisions and thus intended results in development projects may not be realized. The program has equipped me with methodologies to learn things and more things and exposed me to different school of thoughts. The MAAPD program is highly recommended for anyone who wants to pursue development career.
Máire Ní Mhórdha - Ireland
Graduated in 2007. I found the course highly stimulating, combining anthropological and gender theory with development praxis, providing me with a pathway to undertake PhD research on an African NGO participatory development program, at St Andrews University in Scotland. The quality of teaching was top-class, and included guest lectures from academics and development practitioners in the field. The level of support given to students was the best I have encountered and I can't recommend the MAAPD enough to those interested in the area of applied anthropology and development.
Rachel Williams - Australia
Graduated 2007. I was studying while I continued working almost full time in CSIRO. My particular interest was to acquire a formal, post-graduate qualification to help me move into the social science domain in CSIRO, as my original training was in the physical sciences. I found the program extremely rewarding and enjoyable, both for the exposure to new ways of thinking about human social systems and for the opportunity to explore, with class-mates, lecturers and guest speakers with a wide diversity of experience, the dilemmas that arise when one endeavours to engage with communities in a development context. I came away from the program with a strong appreciation of the systemic nature of human society and an awareness of at least some of the factors that tend to prevent change occurring and and/or contribute to the inevitable unintended consequences of intervention. I am now working with sustainable communities’ projects in Australia where we are learning how to bring corporate, government and NGOs together with communities to support them in addressing their sustainability issues.
Audra Brown - USA
Graduated 2007. Pleased to find a program that merged my interest in international development with my background as an anthropologist. What I enjoyed most was the balance between theory and practical application, exposing the real ethical dilemmas and bureaucratic structures of development work. Additionally the calibre of students in the program added a working context representing vast spectrums of field experience, some of which were doing the course by distance from the field. The faculty is exceptionally attentive, educated professionals with practical experience in development from which to draw examples from. They have been incredible resources to me even after completing the program. Since the MAAPD I have focused on refugee resettlement in the US and have worked with American non-profits in fundraising and program evaluation. I am currently working within the International Rescue Committee’s domestic resettlement department. I have found that the MAAPD provided me a strong contextual basis for the work I am currently doing. I would and have recommended the program to many of my colleagues in the development profession.
Stephanie Donse - Australia
Graduated 2007. I had finished up an undergraduate degree in Public Relations and after doing some work for a couple of Australian NGOs I was interested in learning more about development issues. The course was wonderful. It gave me practical insight into the mechanics of development projects and some of the issues that need to be considered when working in this field. The readings are interesting and challenging and encourage critical analysis of development projects and programs. The lecturers are invaluable – they come from diverse development fields and have both the theoretical and practical knowledge to communicate the difficulties and necessities of development projects both in Australia and abroad. These teachings are currently helping me to apply the participatory approach to the PR work that I am doing here in Mongolia at Monfemnet, a Mongolian non-government organisation working towards human rights and gender justice.
Shannon McNamara - Australia
Graduated in 2007. After undertaking the MAAPD part time while working fulltime in the Australian Public Service. I found the MAAPD program to be extremely flexible and considerate to my needs as a student and also towards my work commitments. The course content was very engaging, as were the lecturers; so I can now bring a great deal of valuable theoretical and practical knowledge away with me on completion of this program. For example, I was able to turn some interesting field work that I undertook in Papua New Guinea (and a subsequent report) into credit points towards the MAAPD, all of which has greatly benefited my working career today. I now work as Manager of Capacity Development for the Australian Tsunami Warning System within Emergency Management Australia. I oversee several research projects, including one to develop tsunami awareness products and educational activities for remote coastal indigenous communities. I develop and present awareness and educational materials for other key groups relevant to tsunami the threat. I was also involved with an assessment of the tsunami warning system for the Solomon Islands earlier this year to evaluate this country's capacity to deal with this hazard. MAAPD has given me an appreciation for the importance of taking a participatory approach which I practice and promote through all facets of my work.
Mark Harradine - Australia
Graduated 2007. The MAAPD may seem a surprising choice for an economist and director of a Canberra-based management consulting firm. It makes more sense when seen in the context of our firm's past work on public sector management capacity strengthening in Vanuatu and China. Like anyone involved in development, I wondered whether we could do better for the people who we were meant to be helping. The development anthropology aspect of the MAAPD program - introducing techniques of social mapping, social impact analysis and participatory development approaches - proved to be relevant in answering this question. But equally, or even more, useful to me was the unexpected 'anthropology of development' aspect of the program, which introduced a critical perspective on development. This lifted the program well above the status of an extended 'in-service' or preparatory training program and I found the lecturers excellent and willing to assist anyone who wanted to delve more deeply into the mysteries of the development phenomenon. This is a program that returns what you put into it, it gives you access to great people with rich experiences. For me it has created a chance to do a PhD exploring land use and ownership in Vanuatu. To save for that I am working as an economist overseas, as co-ordinator of the treasury component of an AusAID governance program, and using the lessons learned from the MAAPD program all the time.
Rita Sully, - Singapore
Graduated 2006. I joined the MAAPD because I had a personal interest in applied anthropology and a professional interest in community development. Having been involved with private sector initiated social investment programs for a number of years first with Cisco Systems and now with Hewlett Packard, I was acutely aware of the gaps in the deployment and sustainability of these programs. The MAAPD program provided an excellent balance between academic theory and practical implementation of key aspects relating to sustainable community development. On completing the MAAPD program in 2006 I was able to quickly integrate many of the techniques and methodologies into the existing community investment programs of Hewlett Packard, significantly increasing social value and relevance. An unanticipated added benefit was the ongoing link to the MAAPD, which led to a successful collaboration with ANU Enterprises to implement a comprehensive Monitoring and Evaluation initiative for H-Ps community investment programs in Asia Pacific and Japan. Some MAAPD students are involved in this exercise. One of the key challenges in private sector driven social investment programs is the lack of qualifications required of practitioners to develop and deploy effective programs. The MAAPD program is a highly effective qualification for any private sector professional committed to sustainable and relevant strategic social investment.
Kaori Suzuki - Japan
I joined the MAAPD programme in 2006 as part of an exchange program from the United States. Although I spent only a semester, the MAAPD programme gave me profound contextual and practical insight in development work. The programme also equipped me with practical knowledge of social impact assessment and project management, which become the solid foundation for my current work. I am now working for a peace building and conflict resolution/management organization in India. My primary work is project coordination and fund-raising, to which I can directly apply my knowledge gained from the MAAPD programme. I truly enjoyed my time in the programme. The diverse background and expertise of lectures and cohorts allowed me to explore different fields of work in and outside of class. I am also grateful for the personal attention from the programme faculty. I received tremendous help in locating my internship in India as well as in writing my thesis for my degree in the United States. I never expected such long-term support for an exchange student. The experience, knowledge and friendship I gained in the MAAPD programme is and will be of great importance throughout my life.
Lim Wei Ling - Singapore
I graduated from the MAAPD programme in 2004. I am currently working as a senior biodiversity officer with the National Parks Board Singapore. My job scope involves nature conservation, commenting on the conservation aspect of development, community outreach as well as other nature related issues.
The MAAPD programme has equipped me in many ways for this position. It has enhanced my understanding of conservation from the social and human perspective and has equipped me with the knowledge and skills needed in successfully executing community outreach conservation programmes. The MAAPD course provided a solid foundation in the theories and methodologies behind conservation and resource management, which I've found to be pertinent and relevant to real life situations. I have truly enjoyed my time in the programme. The lecturers came from diverse range of backgrounds and expertise, and were very knowledgeable and forthcoming. Last but not least, owing to the diverse backgrounds of my fellow course mates, class was never dull and lively discourses formed a large part of my learning experience. Thanks to the course, I've not only gained an insightful education, but friendships to last a lifetime.
Sandya Manickam - Australia
I entered the MAAPD not knowing what to expect but keen to find out more about the development field and whether or not it was for me. Irrespective of background, I found that most people were new to anthropology, which at times, after deciphering concepts and sentence structures, was indeed the great leveller! What I got out of the course was extraordinary and exceeded expectation beyond the highly sought after professional qualification in development. It highlighted the importance of context, participatory approaches, stakeholder consultation and the ethical implications of this kind of work. It allowed students to explore issues in practical examples and applications. I also further developed my research, writing and analytical skills. Since completing the course in 2004 I have worked in the local NGO sector in Canberra and Sydney where , for example, I conducted a needs analysis for pregnant and parenting young mothers wanting to return or complete their secondary education . I have also worked with small drug and alcohol service in western Sydney, which had focused community development activities and assisted in facilitating change management and building organisational capacity.Currently I am the Program Officer for the Humanitarian Response group with Caritas Australia where so far I have travelled to Pakistan to monitor and evaluate humanitarian programs in the earthquake affected areas , and will soon travel to Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In my current role I am able to combine my development and legal training to issues such as human rights protection and humanitarian advocacy. The MAAPD lecturers were generous in their support and I made some great friends. It's always nice to see a familiar face or make the MAAPD connection both at home or overseas.
Kali Napier - Australia
I graduated from the MAAPD course in 2005. The course was one of the best times of my life- don't tell the lecturers! I went to Bangladesh for a year as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development where I worked with the Department of Women Affairs, and I believe that my participation in the MAAPD course was directly and almost entirely responsible for my selection into the program. When I returned, the flexibility of the course allowed me to change tack and enter the world of native title anthropology, through an internship with CAEPR. My colleagues at CAEPR were incredibly supportive and grounded me in current events in Indigenous Australia. I then went on to be a native title anthropologist at Yamatji Land and Sea Council in Geraldton. I have to say, though, that nothing I learnt in the MAAPD course equipped me for my current and very challenging role as a mother to an energetic one year old!! However, when I do re enter the workforce I know that I will be able to draw on the contacts I made, and the resources still available to me, through my standing as an MAAPD graduate.
Katrina Hudacin,MAAPD - Australia
Since graduating from the MAAPD program in 2003 I quickly found that the ANU, their graduate program and professors have a strong and very good reputation internationally. The applied nature of the MAAPD program prepared me with contextual and practical experiences that I could confidently draw on in an interview. I was quickly hired by an international education consulting company, PINZ (Global Education Specialists), and have been quickly gaining more responsibility over the past three years. The MAAPD program prepared me with strong writing skills, critical thinking and an introduction to the complexities of multi-donor funded projects – all skills that I draw on in my current work. As the Development Manager at PINZ today I manage projects from the likes of the ADB, World Bank, NZAID and CIDA ranging in value from USD 500,000 to 108million. I travel frequently to Asia and the Pacific managing and working with professionals on aid and education projects.
Cetana Das, MAAPD - Australia
As a graduate of the MAAPD program in 2005 I have found it has provided me with fantastic employment and networking opportunities in the field of development. Shortly after completing the program, I commenced work at the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health in a range of national health policy and program areas, including sexual health and mental health. This knowledge gained from the MAAPD has well prepared me to deal with the cultural, ethical and political issues that I have encountered within the Indigenous health sector. Since then I have been accepted into the AusAID Australian Youth Ambassador for Development program to undertake field work in the Qinghai province of China where I am working for the Snowland Service Group in developing and monitoring the organisation's health projects for Tibetan people in the Yushu region. I have learnt from my studies in MAAPD about the ways in which the organisation can incorporate social perspectives and participatory methodologies into its community-based health projects.
Rachel Wright, MAAPD - Canada
I am a graduate of the MAAPD in 2003; shortly after completing the MAAPD I was hired as an intern by the Canadian Society for International Health to work at the International Organization for Migration in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The position was HIV/AIDS project coordinator for the High Risk Corridor Initiative (HRCI). The HRCI has 18 voluntary HIV/AIDS counselling and testing sites at truck stops along a major route between Addis Ababa and Djibouti targeting truck drivers, commercial sex workers and the local populations. The MAAPD program prepared in many ways for this position. I entered the position with a strong foundational knowledge of development issues and key players. The MAAPD courses offered many development examples and challenged development ideologies and concepts; this helped me to personally, and in the work context, suspend judgement to the best of my ability and respond with practical and locally relative input that was very much appreciated. The participatory focus has increase the marketability of my resume as experience and knowledge in participatory processes is in great demand. While I did not realize nor appreciate it at the time the course work and readings hugely prepared me for the demanding job of project report writing. During the MAAPD I met great, wonderful, like-minded people who remain to be great friends today.
Natalie Jones - Australia
Since graduating from the MAAPD in December 2004, I have been volunteering for Snowland Service Group, a grassroots Tibetan NGO in western China, to gain hands on development experience. My role is to assist the organisation in building their capacity through teaching the staff how to conduct Participatory Rural Appraisals, write project proposals, mid-term and final reports as well as train staff on project monitoring. The MAAPD well equipped me to fulfil this role both practically and theoretically. In practical terms, I gained the necessary skills and tools to promote a participatory approach to development and greatly strengthened my report writing skills. The theoretical side of the course provided me with a holistic view of development, emphasizing the political, social and cultural forces involved which are essential to navigate in ensuring sustainable development. The most rewarding aspect of the course is that it has provided me with a clear vision of what direction I would like to take my career in anthropology and the confidence to pursue it.
Sarah Meyanathan - USA
The Peace Corps finally sent me to East Timor! I have been here for almost 3 months and have recently finished training. My site for the next two years is a coastal village on the northern part of the island, not too far from Dili. My official job description is health promotion, but I hope that within 2 years I will be able to assist in a variety of activities. I will start by doing basic health education in schools. Timor has the highest fertility rate in the world and one of the highest maternal mortality rates as well; diarrhoea and malaria are also huge problems here so there is a definite need to focus on health. I think that MAAPD prepared me well for the peace corps and hopefully in a career in development.
Erin O.Connor, MAAPD - Australia
My enrolment in the MAAPD program was fortuitous and the program has stood me in good stead. The breadth of subjects covered, the participatory skills, and the flexibility and variety of elective units, all provide both practical experience and a forum to apply the theory. This has helped me with my work with Hassall and Associates on the social impact assessment (SIA) conducted for the Murray Darling Basin Commission on proposed changes to environmental flows; and in grant management in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service in my capacity as Deputy Manager of the Indigenous Coordination Centre in Geraldton WA.
I have now commenced research for a PhD in the area of social values and significance of groundwater in arid regions; and the principles, processes and breadth of readings from the MAAPD provide a rich field on which to draw for this study. However, what makes MAAPD so enjoyable, aside from the great campus, is the people who put so much into the course. True friendships are developed with lecturers who are knowledgeable, accessible, and have an immense diversity of background and experience, and a true interest in the participants of the program.
Bill Fogarty - Australia
As a practitioner who had come straight from the field in a remote Indigenous community, the MAAPD provided me with a perfect blend of practicality and theory that has led to fantastic opportunity. The quality of the lecturers, all leaders in their fields, combined with a unique blend of applied anthropology and development theory give the course an extremely broad relevance. Practical advice about the business of applied research, contacts in the international development field and access to the academy's best research centres were just a part of the course. The MAAPD qualification has allowed me to win an Australian research council scholarship to complete a PhD in Anthropology and opened so many employment choices, it was difficult to choose what to do. The best thing about this course though is the people that you meet from all over the world with an amazing array of expertise and such a diversity of development experience. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in making a difference from policy to practice in whatever their field of interest may be.
Tegan Molony - Australia
Since graduating from the MAAPD in 2004 I have worked for the American Refugee Committee in Liberia as their Gender Based Violence (GBV) Program Coordinator. I manage 40 staff working on GBV prevention and response in both IDP camps and communities of return. We conduct community education around issues such as gender, human rights, HIV/AIDs, STIs, GBV and sexual exploitation; work with local health and security service providers to prevent, identify and appropriately respond to cases of GBV; deliver comprehensive case management and counseling services for GBV survivors and teach Reproductive Health Literacy (RHL) classes. We also work with ARC Guinea on a cross-border GBV information and referral project for returning Liberian refugees, conducting community assessments in areas of high return for dissemination in the Guinea camps and providing follow up, protection and referral services for vulnerable returnee women.
After years in the field of rural community development and gender in East Timor, the MAAPD provided the perfect space to stop, reflect and write on what I had been doing and refocus and prepare for another stint of field work in an entirely different context. The flexible nature of the course allowed me to develop my interest in participatory methodologies in the context of gender and conflict, great preparation for my current job where I have designed and implemented pre and post intervention participatory assessments on GBV and try to mainstream a participatory approach throughout the project cycle.
The MAAPD lecturers and tutors have a blend of both academic and practical implementing experience and there is a distinct emphasis on applying theory to real field situations which I greatly appreciated. Of course having fellow students from many countries with diverse experience was a fantastic networking and learning experience too.