Two Seychellois professionals, Melissa Stravens and Jemima Doudée are the latest recipients of the Chevening scholarship, the UK government’s international scholarships and fellowships programme.
Applicants around the globe 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. They had the opportunity to demonstrate how the scholarship will make a difference in their lives and communities, and how it will benefit them as a leader in their respective chosen field.
Almost 100 Seychellois have studied in the UK through the Chevening programme since 1984, going on to become leaders in their respective fields.
Melissa Stravens, a second secretary at the Legal Affairs unit of the Department of Foreign Affairs, is currently in Scotland pursuing 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.
“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 just to 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.
“I definitely intend to go 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 going back and sharing what I have learnt, not only to the benefit of the Ministry but the government and country as well,”
Jemima Doudee is undertaking her Master’s degree programme in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Scotland with the University of Aberdeen.
She started working at the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment in 2017 after completing her Bachelor of Science Honours in GIS in Computer and Information Systems at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.
“I went into the interview confidently, 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 at the interview,”
“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. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I feel it is the right time in my life to embark on this experience, even with the challenges it may present. It is a completely new environment, new lifestyle and having to adjust, but I am ready for it,”