Home » Stories » Speech by Ulla Næsby Tawiah, Director of the Danida Fellowship Centre at the launch of the Master’s programme, 8. November 2023

Speech by Ulla Næsby Tawiah, Director of the Danida Fellowship Centre at the launch of the Master’s programme, 8. November 2023


“At Danida Fellowship Centre, we provide capacity building for partners in Danida-funded programs and projects. We benefit from Danish know-how on the green transformation – climate change mitigation and adaptation, green energy, environmental protection, water resource management, sustainable urban development, sustainable food production, and much more – and provide learning programs and platforms for exchange between partners in Denmark and partners from around the world.

In everything we do, we have a strong focus on how the participants can be equipped to transform their knowledge into action. Because really, knowledge is of little use if we do not act on it.

To support the transformation of knowledge into action, we emphasize learning by seeing, learning by doing, and learning from each other – across countries, sectors, and disciplines. We take the starting point in our everyday problems and challenges and seek to find collaborative sustainable solutions to those challenges through learning and sharing of experiences.

This is the case for all of our learning programs and our support of development research, and it is also the philosophy behind the master’s program we launch today.

The aim of the master’s program is to support the green transition in Africa by further strengthening the capacity of institutions working within areas of importance to the green transition and to sustainable production.

The targeted institutions are partners with Danish institutions and they work together in Danida-funded Strategic Sector Cooperation (SSC) projects. The targeted individuals are young Africans working in or partnering with these institutions with a wish to further their education in areas of expertise we can offer in Denmark. With this programme, we hope to fund 28 master’s students in 2024. Currently, we fund 6 master students. So this is quite an upgrade.

Thank you minister for supporting this important master’s programme.

We often experience that participants in our learning programmes and the research programmes we support learn much more than we anticipated – and not only from the classrooms or the labs.

Master students are no exception, and I would like to share with you a testimony from a previous master’s student from South Africa. She studied Environmental Science at Aalborg University from 2020 – 2022.  She is now back at her workplace in South Africa.

She recently wrote this to us: 

“I graduated with an MSc in Environmental Sciences in 2022. After my degree, I went back to my organisation to continue working as an environmental advisor. Denmark’s use of technology for sustainable solutions inspired my work in developing a data management system, which will allow for faster communication of monitoring results and for relevant environmental management decision making.”

She also wrote, that her stay in Denmark inspired her beyond her education. It did so, she writes, in terms of making her conscious about the importance of sustainability and it equipped her to become a change-maker. As examples of that, she cites the following:

“I participated in the 2023 cohort of the United Nation’s Global Compact as a young SDG innovator and even went to the Global Leader’s Summit in New York.  I was also elected the Women’s Advancement Programme champion for my business unit and I have introduced initiatives like mentorship and coaching, aimed at creating conducive work areas and social outreach for the empowerment of young learners.”

This is great to hear and adds value beyond what was anticipated. 

At DFC, we also hope that the participants in the programme will gain a network of peers and experts while they are here.  A network they can draw on when they – in their future work lives – encounter challenges that would benefit greatly from being discussed with peers from other countries or other sectors.

Our own Danida Fellows Network provides such a platform for all DFC fellows and partners to exchange experiences, and gain up-to-date knowledge in areas of interest for them.

We look forward to welcoming all participants to our network.”

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