Special Call-Out: a Masters Degree for experienced professionals in Development work

Hilmy Ishak PHOTO

The deadline for applications  is now extended to February 15,  2014 and this year as well I repeat the special call-out for a Masters in Development Practice due to its uniqueness: An opportunity for those who do not hold a Bachelor’s degree to offer their valuable experience in development work as a requirement to qualify in a program designed to deliver, creating an environment in which student-professionals  find that rare interdisciplinary space in Sri Lanka to debate and challenge each other.

Here is a personal message from Hilmy Ishak to future participants on the MDP:

“This program focuses on the importance of integrating as many aspects of development work to have a holistic approach to the development phenomenon. You would be trained in nearly all aspects of development work so that you can customise your development strategy to the community you are serving so that they receive a holistic development support as opposed to that community receiving fragmented development support by diverse experts and initiatives. However there is no spoonfeeding but the debates and teaching enlightens us on the crucial issues and directions and points us in the direction of designing our own development initiative.”

LISTEN: Podcast on Hilmy’s experience on the MDP

Gaya: Hilmy good morning, what was your development work area when you joined the MDP?

Hilmy: I was working as as development consultant in micro-enterprise development. Am at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. I worked in a project that targets business development in the North-East funded by USAID: my role is to ensure that on average 50-60 employment is created per business. I travel to Peradeniya for the Masters on weekends.

Gaya: What stimulated you about this Masters?

Hilmy: Two things: Generally when we think development in Sri Lanka we generally focus on the hardcore development – livelihood development, housing and so on but here I discovered that health is extremely important and health science and community health such as epidemology, measurements and intervention points etc was a new and interesting addition to me personally. The other was being debating with colleagues from various disciplines in the field.

Gaya: What are your feelings on ending this Masters as you are about to graduate in January ?

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 9.28.47 AMHilmy: I am sad to see this new student experience come to an end as we enjoyed the interaction with each other. Yet am looking forward to graduating in January and  a new episode in my life as I face the challenges ahead and keep the debates alive, raising awareness of this Program to encourage more young practitioners to qualify.

Gaya: How was your internship placement Hilmy? How did that go?

Hilmy: I worked in a disability sector organisation in Sri Lanka – the leading body-  where I was working in a special project focusing on Sri Lankans with rheumatic/arthritic diseases and my role was to organise them into a national organisation and we are about to see the national organisation form – my supervisor is a community medicine professor.  It was new experience and he was excited about this program and I think I will continue as a volunteer even later on this project with him. Yes, that’s it.

Gaya: Is there an opportunity to continue the debate with your colleagues across the disciplines and organisations ?

Hilmy  Yes, Gaya, we have initiated a student’s forum MDP post-grad student forum and an MDP Alumni forum when we qualify – to build the mechanisms for future interaction and debate for the future.

Gaya: And finally how about the space for debate with the State as well on conflicts and challenges/opportunities for development work in post-war Sri Lanka?

Hilmy: We would like to have one or two day sessions in the future involving development practitioners in one forum annually maybe to share our concerns and issues in development practice and though it may take some time to kick off this discussion we are hoping to conduct this at the University itself.

Thank you Hilmy for sharing your views and experience. Next featured is Bernie Yatawara.

Applications for the following academic year 2014/16 are NOW OPEN  Dec-Feb. Please see the student resources page on the MDP website for details and for your easy reference here is the Applications Page.

The Master of Development Practice is a programme in 17 countries.  The Peradeniya University is one of the five Asian universities to be included in the global MDP network. It’s a Masters programme worth its salt. iSrilankan is proud to promote its benefits to the Sri Lankan local and international student community.

Like the MDP Facebook Page  right away and you can keep up with the news and updates easily.

The images of Peradeniya University above and the collage below are credited to Kalpa Rajapaksha


  1. […] and is featuring them on this website. Click here for the interview with Berni Yatawara, and here for the interview with Hilmy Ishak. Await interviews with Rayees Ahmed, Vanee Surendranathan and […]

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