The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies
Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies Bicentenary

Student testimonials

Feedback from our students past and present

Vegetables in an open air market

In this post, two of our Richard Davidson scholarship students share the impact being part of this programme has had on them and their work:

David Robinson, an MSc Global Food Security and Nutrition Programme student, shares his experiences of food banking in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic:

As a trained chef and culinary instructor, I have always tried to get the ‘best’ food for the customers but did not fully appreciate what happens beyond the restaurant. This programme provides a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of food security and explores the delicate interrelationships between food systems, the impact of our eating habits and the drivers of food policies.

If you have questioned the food beyond your plate and wanted to know more about biodynamic farming, climate change, food policy and innovative technology that could support smart city development, this programme will help answer those questions.

The professors from different areas of expertise offer insight and help you to analyse information so you can create an informed opinion. The content is pertinent to what is happening in the world today and assignments are varied and relevant. Throughout my experience, I have found the support from the university to be nothing short of excellent.

DavidChef / culinary instructor and MSc Global Food Security and Nutrition student

The flexibility of the course allowed me to fit studying around my existing work and lifestyle. It was well organised and staff were always available to answer questions. The content was interesting and well delivered and there was scope within the assignments to tailor them to my own area of interest. Alongside the formal teaching, the opportunity to connect with other students, in discussion boards and in particular during group exercises, proved a very valuable learning experience. With students from all around the world, the range of views and experiences expressed helped put the subject into a truly global context. I have gained a solid understanding around the topics of food security and nutrition that I hope to build on in a professional context.

AbiClinical scientist and PGCert Global Food Security and Nutrition student

Juana Yupangco

Recipient

Richard Davidson Scholarship 2019-2020

A group of people gathered around a pile of plastic bags containing things

Receiving the Richard Davidson Scholarship last school year was a blessing that came at an extraordinary time. The scholarship enabled me to further and to solidify programs that I was creating for my NGO, Mesa Ni Misis, that focuses on plant based nutrition for underprivileged communities.

The first term’s topic, Nutrition, taught me how to take surveys of populations. I was able to apply these methods to record the Minimum Dietary Diversity Score to a community that we started working with. This enabled us to gather data as well as devise healthy eating programs based on their tastes and food available in the community.

Several people facing the camera holding signs surrounded by boxes
A group of people in front of a sign that says "MARKET ni MISIS"

2020 started off with a bang in the Philippines, as the New Year saw the eruption of Taal Volcano. Immediately, a large portion of the food supply to the capital, Manila was cut off. I had the remaining units, Sustainable Food Production and Frameworks to Assess food Security as a guide for the next few months. It was astounding as what we were learning week by week was unfolding before my very eyes. I had the tools to understand and assess what was happening and put what I was learning to use. March 15 saw the start of a country wide lockdown that paralyzed the country’s food supply. We worked with local city governments, hospitals, other places in need of packed food as there was hardly any food available in supermarkets. In the first 3 months of the pandemic, we provided 17,720 healthy meals that made use of local vegetables from farmers who could not move their produce to those working on the front lines. We were also able to mobilize food from nearby provinces to be brought into the city, and created a mobile market to take fresh produce into locked down areas of Metro Manila. As of July, we were able to serve 167,360 families fresh produce.

The core mission of my organization, is to promote the use of indigenous crops to use them in a way that is familiar to local cuisine. Our programs are now more in line with Sustainable Development Goals, which were covered on the course.

Panoramic shot of people in a market hall

In Professor Cesar Revoredo-Giha’s course, I learned that so many of the orphan crops that were being studied as climate resilient crops are indigenous to the Philippines. I was able to finish the cookbook that I was writing that includes information on local crops, and incorporated some of the things I learned about orphan crops. This has propelled me to create more recipes using these crops as well as share research on them on our organization’s different platforms. A few years ago, I thought this might be a shallow, short term goal. On the course, I learned that this was a very valuable aspect in creating diet diversity in local communities. There was a part of me that wasn’t sure how solid the principles were that guided my organization were. I can finally support the ideas I had with solid research and learnings from the course as well as put to use all the learnings I have, and has now given me solid footing to stand on.

 

Daniel Ocom

September 2, 2020

The Richard Davidson Postgraduate Scholarship, Uk

Dear Richard Davidson Award

As a recipient of the 2019-2020 “Richardson Davidson scholarship”, I wanted to thank you in a very special way for awarding me this scholarship. I was very excited and appreciative to learn that I was selected as the recipient of your scholarship. I am appreciative of your support of my education and career development.

As a food security and nutrition worker, I was able to use the knowledge/skills gained during the first year to serve conflict-affected populations in South Sudan, particularly women and children to achieve better food security and nutrition outcomes. Since my work involves designing and management of food security and nutrition programs at the country level, I was able to use the skills that I gained o enhance the design of our food security and nutrition strategy. This is because my understanding of the concepts related to food security and the frameworks necessary to evaluate food security at a local and global level had greatly improved. Also, by working with colleagues to solve course assignments, I learned how to go about a certain problem. For example, while conducting a case study of an Armenian food security situation, I appreciated how the group distributed the tasks and supported each other to identify bottlenecks and entry points. In terms of learning, this course exposed me to understand the multifaceted nature of food security and nutrition and the fact that multisector approaches are needed to address them. This greatly shaped my understanding of food security and nutrition as a global problem.

Thank you once again for awarding me this scholarship and I am looking forward to doing well with the “Richard Davidson investment” during the diploma year (2020-2021). By awarding me the Richard Davidson, you have lightened my financial burden which allows me to focus more on the most important aspect of postgraduate learning. Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me.

Daniel Ocom

Program Development Specialist, Food Security and Livelihood,

Samaritan Purse in South Sudan

 

Collins Cheruiyot

PGCert. Global Food Security & Nutrition (online) Richard Davidson Award 2020-21:

Impact of receiving the Award Collins Cheruiyot (Kenya)

About me

Collins Cheruiyot digging with a shovel

My name is Collins Cheruiyot. I am a Kenyan national. I grew up in a rural part of the Rift valley of Kenya. I come from a farming community, my area is well known for growing and exporting tea to Pakistan and the UK, among other Countries. In my childhood, growing up in a poor family, I spent most of my life in the farms with my parents during school holidays, I and my brother would take care of cows. This made me develop a passion for agriculture and food security matters and it was one of my dreams to achieve a master's degree in food security and nutrition course.

Benefits of the scholarship to me

The impact that this scholarship has had on is huge! First at personal level, without this scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to enrol and undertake this course. It means a lot, not just to me but also to my nuclear and extended family. They all know I got this scholarship and they fully support me. They feel we are blessed as a family to be awarded it. For this reason, I feel humbled, honoured and grateful to Richard Davidson.

The second impact is on my profession. My knowledge and competencies on food security and nutrition have improved, particularly my understanding of the interconnection of food, health and the environment, as well as their trade-offs; which I have learnt as being key to formulating policies that enable us to achieve food security in a sustainable manner.

This course (through Davidson scholarship) has improved my ability to confidently to interact with high level government officials from ministry of agriculture in Kenya. As a result, recently I was asked to be a speaker recently in a national rangeland restoration conference in Kenya, where I spoke about the interconnection between food, environment and health in Kenya’s dry lands. I also called upon the government to pay attention to this interconnection its policy and practise work.

I have also improved my ability to critically evaluate and assess of the main theories, principles and concepts related to agronomic, environmental, economic, nutritional, and socio-political factors that influence food security. I have recently applied this in a drought resilience project implemented by International Union for Conservation of Nature through supporting delivery of project baseline. I also contributed to development of research methodology, and formulated an original research problem.

In addition, during my course work, I watched many videos, tutorials, case studies and even were put in groups to discuss issues and work out assignments, this has built my ability to work part of a group, make informed judgements about the complex problems connected to global food security and nutrition. Furthermore, I have been able to share my experiences on pastoralism and climate change in Kenya with my classmates. I have also learnt a lot from them. Through the Davidson scholarship, this course is developing me into an expert on food security and nutritional in Kenya.

 

Ruth Nakintu

PGCert. Global Food Security & Nutrition (online) Richard Davidson Award 2020-21:

Impact of receiving the Award Ruth Nakintu (Uganda)

Two people inspecting a plant

I am very grateful for the Richard Davidson award which has greatly contributed financially to my online studies in Global Food Security and Nutrition without which attainment of a postgraduate certificate would not have been possible given my financial situation.

I have gained and applied research, communication, information communication technology (ICT) and numeracy skills which I apply in my daily work to analyze and change food systems, food security and food production systems within refugee and hosting communities hence contributed to improved access to and consumption of nutritious food by refugee and hosting communities in Uganda especially within the West Nile region.

Through core course units studied such as Nutrition for Food security, Sustainable production and Frame works to assess food security; I have gained knowledge and skills in nutrition sensitive programming through which I have developed nutrition and home gardening training manuals and successfully trained 248 nutrition and livelihood sector professionals within the West Nile region of Uganda and 12,000 refugee and host community households respectively. This has helped bridge the nutrition and food security professional gap, improved feeding and food production habits, livelihoods of community members and contributed to a significant reduction in malnutrition cases within the West Nile region.

I have also been motivated to register and start up a social enterprise called Calvark Intergrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) as a platform to empower communities especially refugee hosting communities; with knowledge and skills as well as practical solutions through using locally available resources, to addressing food security and nutrition related challenges.