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Three Year’s a Charm: Becoming a Chevening Scholar

There is no greater truth than “access delayed, is not always access denied”. This depicts the truth of my journey to becoming a Chevening Scholar, after three years of applications, two rejection letters later and one Chevening scholarship award letter, I am officially a 2020/2021 Chevening scholar.

The trajectory one follows in life will differ person to person, and the uniqueness of each life span is the beauty of life. In my life, I graduated in the year 2017 after enduring 5 years of Engineering School at the University of Science and Technology, which taught me the value of tenacity and grit. These values are what proved to be instrumental in the journey of life after university, as adversities came. In the subsequent years, I faced retrenchment, unemployment and changing careers. Each baring its own set of lessons, however, what stood true in the years that followed graduation, was that I wanted to further my studies and attain a master’s degree and equip myself with knowledge in the development sector.

For three full years, I applied to over 60 universities, 25 scholarships and became accustomed to rejection letters.

I would often joke that I can fill out applications in my sleep, and quickly took to calling

myself “Miss shoot her shot”. However, there was a truth to this, in that I was adamant that an opportunity would present itself for me to study further, all I needed to do was continue to seek out opportunities. The process was not without turbulence, nor was there a day I received a rejection letter and it did not sting, but I understood what the goal in sight was and I did not allow my feet to waver. The day I received the email stating that I had been awarded the Chevening scholarship to pursue a master’s degree at a UK based university will always remain a special day. It was a bitter sweet moment, one filled with glee at the opportunity to step into one of my ambitions, but one filled with immense distress at how much it took to get here.

The Chevening Scholarship is a highly competitive, fully funded award programme that aims to provide opportunities to emerging leaders in the private or public sector, to further their skill sets at various universities in the United Kingdom. It is available yearly to scholars from over 160 countries in the world, and has over the years availed opportunities to Namibians.

The Namibian Chevening alumni network boasts a group of phenomenal leaders who have gone on to do exceptional work for Namibia, such as Honorable Justice Peter Shivute, Deputy Commissioner Vicky Matjila, Bertha Amakali, Elijah Ngurare and Omagano Kankondi. This year faces a new feat, with the biggest Namibian cohort of 15 scholars being chosen to form a part of a network of over 50,000 professionals who themselves are Cheveners. I am a part of a cohort which depicts a mixture of big data scientists, engineers, international relations officers, medical professionals, but best of all, it is a cohort of young ambitious Namibians who look to conquer the world and come back home, to plant seeds of the learned experiences.

My fellow cohort cheveners, such as Martha Abner, who is set to study a Masters in Strategy at the University of Lancaster says that inclusive economic growth is possible in the improvement of access to basic business training as a tool for social transformation. Additionally, Gideon Gideon from the 2020 cohort says that, “being given the opportunity to study a master’s degree in Big Data Science and Technology at Bradford University with highly rated professors and multinational scholars, equips me with the necessary skills statistical data analysis in line with the national planning commission to improve the livelihoods of Namibians. "

Opportunities are presented to those who harness them and take up the baton of submitting the application. The scholarship applications opens for the 2021/2022 cohort on 3 September 2020, and as all things, it takes trying to be successful. In the famous words of Zen Cho, “if at first you do not succeed, try, try again.”

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- Mavis Braga Elias, 2020 Chevener



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