Jessica Nwafor

MDP Student

Jessica’s undergraduate days’ experience with poor environmental hygiene and waste management triggered a deep appetite to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve positive and sustainable change. This informed her decision to pursue a Masters in Development Practice.

After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in English Language from the University of Abuja, she volunteered as a communications officer for a not-for-profit organization, the Centre for Family Health Initiative (CFHI) to prepare her for the task ahead. Through the position, she was opportune to meet vulnerable women and children; HIV infected and affected people; infants exposed to HIV; pregnant teenage girls; and orphans in communities under Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in Nigeria. She was also part of a project focused on empowering women to make informed decisions about their health, equipping health providers with the skills and tools needed to provide quality services and strengthening health systems to reduce maternal deaths in Nigeria. While working with CFHI, Jessica participated in a four-month international development program and was awarded a Certificate of Graduate Fellowship in International Development by the Institute for Development Research in September 2020.

In January 2021, she joined a public health NGO, eHealth Africa (eHA), as an Intern with the Communications Department. Jessica handled all the communication needs for ongoing and ending projects. Her most remarkable achievement was setting up a Project Communication Toolkit that helped eHA program and project mangers identify and implement the communication needs relevant to their projects.

She chose U of A’s MDP program because it accommodates her career goals, allows her to choose areas of specialization, and the program’s curriculum provides a solid foundation in global development through an interdisciplinary approach. Jessica is convinced that the summer Field Practicum will also give her the opportunity to gain more experience in the field even while studying.

Her focus areas for the MDP program are on environmental, physical and maternal health, nutrition and social injustice majorly on Gender Based Violence (GBV) response. Her goal is to use technology to link abused female victims with the necessary psycho-social and health care support.

Working for or with an international organization to address complex issues of poverty, public health, and social injustice melted out especially to women and girls in Nigeria after acquiring an MDP certificate is top on her list. As a writer, she would continue to lend her voice to speak against harmful traditional practices that limit the rights of women and girls in Nigeria through various publications. Finally, she intends to start a not-for-profit organization primarily to support victims of domestic violence, child marriage, and female genital mutilation in Nigeria.

Jessica is currently an American Association of University (AAUW) fellow.