Throughout her research process, Niilonga Ndinelago Tuuyakula Shetunyenga (29) realised that there is a recipe for successful and impactful research. She was awarded for being the best candidate for her postgraduate thesis on An exploration of barriers to community participation in development within Ompundja constituency from the International University of Management (IUM) last year.
She graduated with a Master in Public Policy and Management.
Shetunyenga told Youth Corner the dream is to acquire her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by the age of 30. "Most significantly, my goal is to be entitled Dr at the age of 30. I want my PhD to be in Policy and Development, furthermore, I was the youngest and the only unemployed in our Masters class and that is what inspired me the most," said the unemployed graduate.
Shetunyenga said the way information is conveyed in some communities by constituency councillors is not sufficient and indirectly, this slows development and that's what motivated her to pursue the topic.
"Other important elements of the country's development includes representation of women and other people in our communities," she linked.
She stated that some members of different communities are not aware of what is happening around them. "You will be shocked to find out that some people right now are not even aware of the Emergency Income Grant (EIG) from the finance ministry and constituency councillors are not making it easy, they are slow and weak when it comes to informing members of their community," Shetunyenga lamented.
Born and raised in Oshipumbu-shomugongo village in Ompundja constituency, Shetunyenga stated that Namibians lag behind and there is a need for information on development to be conveyed more efficiently and cited lack of interest from some community members.
This is why she is dedicated to create solutions so that such matters are solved. "During the research, I realised that community members do not attend meetings, sometimes there are no resources or means and ways of communicating and access to information, which is the reason why there is slow development in my constituencies," stated Shetunyenga.
Her academic journey started when she graduated with a Diploma in Local Government Studies (Unam), B. Honours in Public Management - majoring in Political Science (Unam) and ultimately a Masters in Public Policy and Management at (IUM).
Through her research, Shetunyenga has urged community participation as a centre of development. "Community participation should be centred on the role of the community as primary actors who should be allowed and enabled to influence and share the responsibilities of the rural development process," recommended Shetunyenga.
Other recommendations include promoting capacity building, vibrant community members, self-sensitisation, and responsible governance. "Failure to ensure these conditions will result in a low level of community participation and a disintegrated economic development and service delivery," hinted the academic.
She advised students currently busy with their theses to be determined, manage their time well, learn how to write and maintain good working relations with their supervisors. "Your behaviour will always influence the relationship between you and your supervisor. Be sure of what your supervisor expects from you to get your thesis done. Evade suffering in silence while you have a guider."