Two Seychellois awarded Chevening scholarship |19 August 2022
Two young Seychellois professionals, Melissa Stravens and Jemima Doudée, are the latest recipients of the Chevening scholarship, the UK government’s international scholarships and fellowships programme.
The pair were successful in applying for the programme which officially opened for a one-month timeframe on August 2, after meeting the relevant qualification criteria, which includes having successfully completed an undergraduate degree, with at least two years of work experience.
As with other hopefuls around the globe, applicants were required to apply directly through the Chevening online platform, after which the very best applicants were shortlisted and interviewed by a specialist panel at the British high commission, an opportunity to demonstrate how the scholarship will make a difference to their lives and communities, and how it will benefit them as a leader in their respective chosen field.
Mrs Stravens, who is presently serving as the second secretary at the Legal Affairs unit of the department of Foreign Affairs, will be leaving for Glasgow, Scotland to pursue her Master’s degree in Human Rights Law with the University of Strathclyde.
She completed her Bachelor of Laws programme offered by the University of Seychelles in partnership with the University of London in 2015, starting off her career at the Trade Division within the Ministry of Finance, before eventually moving on to Foreign Affairs.
“I was honestly a bit surprised to have been selected since the Chevening scholarship is usually very competitive and there are a lot of qualified people who meet the required criteria. But, I felt that the time was appropriate for me to apply as I have accumulated sufficient work experience, so I decided to just put myself out there and try my chances. I am very happy and proud, as it is not an easy application process, in addition to being so competitive,” Mrs Stravens stated.
Working within the department, Mrs Stravens deals with international and human rights related matters in her line of work on a daily basis, but is nonetheless looking forward to the opportunity for further development, and sharing Seychelles’ experience with others from around the globe.
“I definitely intend to come back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to put into application all that I will be learning, since we need people with experience especially in the field of human rights and international law in general, so I am very much looking forward to coming back and sharing what I have learnt, not only to the benefit of the ministry, but the government and country as well,” she concluded.
Similarly, Mrs Doudee will also be undertaking her Master’s degree programme in Scotland, and will be leaving the country soon for the upcoming September intake. She will be pursuing her Master’s in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Scotland, with the University of Aberdeen.
The 29-year-old has been in service at the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment since 2017, after completing her Bachelor of Science Honours in GIS in Computer and Information Systems offered by Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.
“I went into the interview with confidence, but I was not necessarily expecting to be selected, especially since only one or two scholarships are awarded to Seychellois each year. I remember I was working when I received the news, and frankly, did not know how to react, despite having been confident that I proved myself and ticked the boxes at the interview,” she said.
“I am very much looking forward to the course, which offers various opportunities for field work, such as drone mapping where we can pilot drones, and test out the latest GIS technologies available at the University,” Mrs Doudée stated.
Aside from the opportunity to study at one of the UK’s most prestigious universities, she is excited for the various other networking and personal development opportunities which the Chevening programme offers.
“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I feel that it is the right time in my life to embark on this experience, even with the challenges that it may present. It will be a completely new environment, new lifestyle and having to adjust, but I am ready for it,” she added.
Almost 100 Seychellois have studied in the UK through the Chevening programme since it began in 1984, going on to become everything from ministers and ambassadors to business leaders and pioneering environmentalists.