South Africa Alumni Ambassador: Kenny Mabaso
Master of Science in Environmental Management, Victoria University, Melbourne, 2007
How have your studies in Australia impacted on your organisation?
Before going to Australia, I had limited research experience within my field of practice. The Master of Science in Environmental Management, which I obtained from Victoria University in Melbourne, and the research skills acquired in the process, have helped me become a better Water Quality Scientist at the National Department of Water and Sanitation.
What development issues in Africa are you most concerned about and how are you contributing to addressing these issues?
Science is my passion, so I am involved in projects where I do science promotions to high school learners to motivate and encourage them to choose a career in science. On 28 May 2015, I secured a placement for 160 Grade 10 learners from Lofentse Girls High School in Soweto, South Africa, at the South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA), the South African National Space Agency (SANSA), the East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT) and the National Department of Water and Sanitation on the Cell C Take-a-girl-child-to-work initiative. The idea was to give the girls first-hand experience of what scientists are doing in their day-to-day operations.
What was your most memorable experience in Australia?
Apart from my studies, I had wonderful moments outside my academic life. With South Africa being a member of the Commonwealth, visiting the War Memorial in Canberra was a touching moment and I cannot forget the Great Ocean Road trip with my German, British and Bangladeshi friends.
Why should someone from South Africa apply for an Australia Award?
Australia does not only offer the best qualifications in the world, but one gets the opportunity to be taught by professionals who have first-hand experience and are attached to relevant organisations – these links are extended to Awardees. This means that Awardees get a good combination of theory and practice. For example, the professor who taught the course in Liquid Waste Management was working for Melbourne Water. As a result, we had ample opportunities for sharing practical experience.