Diana Kushemererwa has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Social Administration from Makerere University, Uganda. She is now writing her master’s thesis the mediating role of Inter-organizational Coordination (IOC) towards refugee protection, with Nakivale refugee settlement Uganda as a case study.
Why did you choose the Masters program in Public Administration to further your studies?
Having worked in the nonprofit sector, the Masters program in Public Administration was a perfect fit for my career aspirations. The MPA career paths are vast and can be condensed to sub-sections such as government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector.
With the experience I gained while working in the nonprofit sector, I wanted to embark on a program that would equip me with skills and knowledge in government, non-profit and private sectors to become more skilled. There are several areas of overlap between these pursuits, so a program that combined all would give me competitive strength and allow me to move into any of the areas. Studying Public Administration was therefore the best step towards achieving my career goals.
Further, I was fascinated by the program description which intended to enable students to develop knowledge and insight into the correlation between organizations and individuals, and the connection between organizations and their environments.My quest for carrying outempirically based research on formal organizations also lead me to choosing Public Administration.
How has the transition from Bachelor to Master level studies been?
The transition from Bachelor to Master studies has been an awesome and exciting challenge. I have had to adapt to studying in a multinational and multicultural context and learn to carry out independent studies. The Masters level studies placed much emphasis on one’s ability to undertake independent, self-directed study. This has not just been true of the dissertation project that concludes a typical Masters program; it has also been the case for taught units, for which I was expected to prepare more comprehensively for timetabled classes and to identify my own assessment topics. I have thrived in all these undertakings. The Masters program has not only left me with a greater level of subject knowledge but it has also guided the development of my own critical voice.
How have you developed academically while attending the Masters program in Public Administration?
While attending the Masters program in Public Administration, I have learned to conduct independent analyses of organizations, political and administrative structures and public policy. The program has also strengthened my analytical skills. Participation in various seminars and individual writing has been such a motivation and it has developed my ability to work independently in an academic and professional setting.
The Public Administration course has shaped my knowledge in understanding how organizations work and how their operations can be influenced by individual actions. It has also enhanced my research skills on formal and complex organizations and shaped my understanding on the content of public policy and its impact upon society.
Last but not least, I have also gained strong leadership skills and a solid understanding of policy making and management strategies
What are you writing your Master’s thesis about? Why did you choose this topic?
I am writing about the mediating role of Inter-organizational Coordination (IOC) towards refugee protection, with Nakivale refugee settlement Uganda as a case study.
This is because since the end of the Second World War, we are witnessing a monumental increase in the number of refugees all over the globe. Many refugees from Syria, Libya, and Jordan have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to flee from violence and seek for protection in Europe. The situation has not been different in many African countries such are Burundi, Nigeria, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC), and Somalia which have continued to suffer from political instabilities causing many people to seek protection from other countries. Whereas governments are responsible for the protection of all people on their territory, in reality, governments may be unable to provide such protection, and they may require the support of the international community. Government parastatals, voluntary and humanitarian organizations are charged with a responsibility of pooling resources in order to address issues of refugee protection. The study of IOC towards refugee protection in Uganda is pertinent because it illustrates the necessity of organizations operating as part of a wider environment involving different actors, government institutions, and private organizations in order to provide services which will be of a greater benefit to the refugees.
As the world is witnessing a dramatic growth in forced displacement caused by a multiplication of new crises and the continuation of existing emergencies, the need for a strong international protection regime has never been more apparent. Asylum space is shrinking and challenges in securing access to territory and protection are evident in all regions. Refugees require specific protection and safeguards, for which an established legal framework exists, in the form of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
Therefore, I deemed it necessary to explore the role of IOC towards refugee protection because when organizations operate as part of a wider environment involving different actors such as the government institutions, regulatory bodies, trade unions and private organizations, it is of great significance to study inter-organizational coordination, organizational structure and functions and behavior of actors. My study is a contribution to a body of scientific literature on Inter-Organizational Coordination.
What is your best memory from studying at the Master’s program so far?
Every day of my study has been a unique opportunity to realize something new.
Why should new applicants choose the Master Program in Public Administration?
There are many reasons for a new student to choose public administration. The biggest one is the ability to make a difference in their own community. The master program will also enable them to cover research on extensive areas of empirical fields. Also, the program will equip them with knowledge and skills on how to make important decisions that can make them transform their societies. A degree in Public Administration will provide a new student with strong communication skills, critical thinking, deductive reasoning and analytical capabilities in setting, implementing policies as well as their evaluation. A program in Public Administration will prepare public/nonprofit professionals to excel in this increasingly complex, politicized, intergovernmental environment.
What are your plans for when you complete the degree?
I plan to take a role as an international aid and development worker. I am specifically interested in addressing refugee issues, particularly their protection.
Do you have any tips for new Master Students?
New Master’s students should embrace taking part in the various student organizations which are a great part in networking and doing meaningful work for the community.