I am very pleased to report that Dr Keneilwe Molisi, formally a PhD student in the School of Education, and more recently a Lecturer in Adult Education at the University of Botswana, has been granted a Fulbright scholarship opportunity at Penn State University. As per the requirements of the program, she will be traveling to the US in January 2020 for 3 months to work on her research titled, Empowering rural communities through capacity development of community leaders. It is excellent to see our former students progressing so well.
Kenweile has commented about her work as follows:
In the Botswanan rural development context, community leaders are regarded as influential and motivating figures who play a very influential role in the rural development agenda. However, more often development interventions fail to emphasize the importance of community leaders within the development agenda and as such the impetus for rural development is weakened.
Where their influence is acknowledged, it is usually assumed that they can influence their community towards participating in the development interventions, but mostly, we don’t ask ourselves if the community leaders are indeed effectively capacitated to direct their communities towards empowerment. With this study, I intend to explore ways in which community leaders such as chiefs, elected councilors, and the Village Development Committee can be effectively capacitated for the rural development agenda so that they can direct and lead community capacity building in an effective manner.
In the US I will be hosted by the Penn-State University. I hope my travel to the US will enhance the quality of my study in several ways. For instance, I will be able to benchmark on how communities in the US are undertaking community empowerment, and even if the contexts will be different from Botswana, there is always something that can be learned that can inform our practice. Since Penn-State university is a large university, it has great research resources that I can access and improve my the quality of my work.
Also, I hope to establish research networks with colleagues in the US, this is good for collaborative research.
We wish her continuing success.