Kudakwashe Makwena comes from Zimbabwe. She studied Irrigation Engineering at Chinhoyi University of Technology in Zimbabwe. She worked at a consultancy company as a trainee civil engineer where her responsibilities were designing water supply networks, water management and irrigation systems design. She resigned from her job to study at IHE Delft. Kudakwashe is studying Land and Water Development for Food Security. She is studying at the institute as a Rotary International funded student.
Kudakwashe loves agriculture, it is her passion. Her maternal grandparents live in a rural area where people practise irrigated farming. As a child, she noticed that whenever her grandmother visited them in town she would bring lots of different farm products for her grandchildren to enjoy. Her grandparents worked hard in agriculture and always had enough to feed the family and surplus to sell too. This was part of her inspiration to pursue a career in agriculture. ‘’Back home, food security is still a challenge, we do not have enough food, we do not have enough water to irrigate our fields to ensure that crop yields are sufficient to feed the nation. Due to climate change, rainfall patterns are changing. Feeding the whole nation, the whole continent, the world is a big challenge. I want to participate in making this world a better place that is why I chose to study this specialty at IHE Delft.’’
Besides the problem of food insecurity, Zimbabwe also has a challenge in water and sanitation. We do not have enough water to use for sanitation, most of our people have no access to clean tap water, and where tap water has been provided it is below the WHO minimum standards for human consumption.
How she heard about IHE Delft: ‘’I found out about IHE Delft from the internet while I was still studying for my Bachelors. I got excited, but was not keen to study immediately after school. Then when I started working, more people were talking about IHE Delft at my workplace and I got more interest to visit the website again. I asked my supervisor about it and he recommended IHE Delft strongly as a very reputable Institute and advised me to apply for it. He was mentored by Prof. Pieter van der Zaag, during his MSc thesis at the University of Zimbabwe.’’
Kudakwashe also applied to other universities in South Africa, Australia and Nebraska. She chose IHE Delft because she wanted to experience the European culture. Furthermore, she also wanted to have an experience of the cultural diversity at IHE Delft. It’s like the whole world in one place.
About the teaching style at IHE Delft: ‘’It is quite different from what I was used to. When I came, the first two weeks were fine, because it was still the introduction week and getting to know the place but when the lectures started, it proved that it was not going to be a walk in the park. With time you get used to it, now I can keep up.’’ The professors are very knowledgeable in the respective subjects they teach. The facilities are good and the practical field visits really consolidate the learning process’’
Kudakwashe wants to apply what she has learnt in her home country, although having working experience in another country would also be good.
“I like Delft, the city is very clean and organized. The people are quite friendly. Most people in Delft use bicycles, I have never seen so many bicycles in one place in my life. The transport system is also very organized and always on time. I can say I have settled well and I look forward to finishing my MSc programme successfully.”
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