My name is Valerie Gilchrist, I’m a student in UTSC’s Mathematics program and a QE scholar. On May 6 I’ll be leaving for Lilongwe, Malawi as part of the Uniterra program, where I’ll be working for the NGO CISANET for three months. In my role as Knowledge Management Officer, I’ll be working with staff to maintain their knowledge management system, develop and implement a filing system, as well as provide training on effective data management and analysis.
As a mathematics student, I’m happy to be gaining experience in data management, but I am far more excited to have the opportunity to learn cultural and economic insights from my partner organization. CISANET is a policy advocacy group for the agricultural sector in Malawi. I’m excited to see how their policies have already started to affect the local and national economy, since they primarily represent small holding farms. In addition, I look forward to exploring Malawi and seeing all of the nature reserves and wildlife it has to offer.
While the culture shock may be an obstacle for me, I’m sure the experiences I’ll gain will make it well worth it! If you’d like to stay updated on my time in Malawi follow me on Instagram at @valeriegil