I’m Bahumi Motlhanka, a 4th year Chemical Engineering student. As someone who grew up and still lives in Botswana, I was always somewhat wary of development work and the lens through which Africa is sometimes viewed through in that context. As my interest in the development sector grew, I was keen to get involved in an organization that recognized the importance of local actors and worked in a truly collaborative manner to deliver impactful projects; the work of CDI and Kite Dar es Salaam in Tanzania speaks for itself. I worked on the monitoring and evaluation of the WaSH (Water, sanitation, and hygiene) project last summer and really enjoyed the broad overview I got. I was able to participate and contribute to strategic decisions being made across the whole project, I felt challenged and valued throughout the summer.
I made some incredible friendships with the Kite DSM team last summer, and as Director, I hope to use that as a base to strengthen the collaboration between our two organizations. I am also looking to build on the work of last summer and establish research partnerships in Tanzania. In this way, I aim to bring Tanzanian voices to the fore and have them involved in the need identification and ideation stages of project development. There are a number of students and societies involved in research that we’re looking to work within Cambridge to continue to build CDI’s own research capacity.
This year is also the five year anniversary of CDI as an organization so we will be taking the time to reflect on the lessons learned, using these to inform how we go forward but we will take the time to appreciate how much work has been done by students from Tanzania and the UK and how this has gone a long way in reshaping the perception of the role of students in development.
The CDI Executive Committee offers a lot in terms of how much of the project you get to shape, the connections you get to make within the sector and is a unique way of getting involved with practical international development work. This is an opportunity to work with students in Tanzania to deliver impactful projects. As part of the committee, there is a lot of trust and responsibility on you from day one, I cannot think of anything else that could match this, it is a truly rare opportunity to do student volunteering differently.