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Alumni Spotlight: Rugiyatu Kane – Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa – Dakar, Senegal

“A year after graduating from the UF MDP program I am happy to have returned to my home country: Senegal. I have fully immersed myself as an early career development practitioner and have been able to put to into practice many of my acquired skills and knowledge. I am currently helping to shape the next leaders of Africa through my work as a teacher at the Senegalese-American Bilingual School. I teach an exciting AP Seminar course I designed and developed entitled “Sustainable Development and Me” through which I cover topics ranging from identity and socio-economic inequalities to environmental problems and sustainable solutions.

I have also joined the Senegalese Evaluation Association (SenEval) through which I have been able to benefit from various professional development opportunities, notably attending the 6th Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators in Montreal Canada in June 2017, as well as being able to organize several seminars and workshops on child and youth participation in evaluation and research. My involvement with SenEval has allowed me to engage with expert and emerging evaluators as well as other local development practitioners. I am proud to be part of the “Emerging Evaluators Cohort” and a member of the Child and Youth Centered Evaluation Focus Group.

In July 2017, the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa nominated me as one of Africa’s Most Outstanding Emerging Women Leaders. I traveled to Ghana to follow a three-week leadership institute along with 24 other young women from countries all over Africa. It was an honor to represent Senegal, and as a MILEAD fellow I am excited about developing a project that combines my love for yoga and women’s empowerment through the “Yoga, Leadership and Service Camp.”  This camp will challenge teenage girls (13-17) through workshops on personal and community development using principles of yoga to help them build confidence, self-love, and their own service-learning project.

Most recently I have been on a team with USAID-ERA (Education and Research in Agriculture) and Virginia Tech University helping to build capacity across the country in Positive Youth Development through a USAID project seeking to establish 4-H clubs in Senegal. We just finished training over 100 club leaders who will help reach our target goal to impact 19,000 youth by 2022, and I am so excited to be part of this movement!”

MDP Alumni

Eight cohorts–a total of 87 students–have now graduated from the University of Florida MDP program. Many Alumni have successfully secured jobs in the development field–NGO, government, private sector, and research positions–while others have opted to continue in higher education, successfully gaining admittance to PhD programs related to international research and development. Although the following list of UF MDP alumni placements is not comprehensive, it gives an idea of what kinds of professional and academic positions one can expect to attain after completing the MDP program.

Position TitleOrganizationLocation
Director of ResearchRoyal Hawaiian OrchardsOahu, Hawaii
MEAL Expert and Regional RepresentativeWASH for LifeLebanon
Program CoordinatorFundación RunaPeru
Project CoordinatorUniversity of Florida International Center - Water and Livelihoods Initiative in Northern AfricaGainesville, FL
Project ManagerCatholic Relief Services (CRS)Guatemala
Lead Community Health Worker for State of FloridaUnited HealthcareGainesville, FL
Program Manager, Women in AgricultureUniversity of MarylandCollege Park, MD
Operations ConsultantMission GuatemalaGuatemala
Senior Manager of Search and SelectionEchoing GreenNew York City
Assistant Director of DevelopmentUniversity of Florida FoundationGainesville, FL
Associate LecturerSokoine University of Agriculture in the Department of Forest EconomicsTanzania
Consultant in Participatory Measurement Reporting and Verification (PMRV) Research ProjectCenter for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)West Kalimantan, Indonesia
Project OfficerDevelopment Alternatives Inc. (DAI)Washington, DC
Program OfficerSalvation ArmyWashington, DC
Program Coordinator, Youth Action NetInternational Youth FoundationBaltimore, MD
Uganda Country LiaisonChildren of the NationsOrlando, FL