Sehdia Mansaray

MDP Student

Sehdia’s MDP focus lies in stakeholder and ethnic identity and its influence on decision making, particularly relating to conservation and international development. She takes an interest in Africans and the diaspora, alongside indigenous and marginalized peoples of the world.

Sehdia saw in the MDP program a mutual value for approaching development with a critical and interdisciplinary lens. Having strong interests in the environment and culture, a degree drawing from anthropology and the natural sciences was a good fit. In her program, Sehdia wants to develop her skills in M&E, program and participatory planning, and qualitative and quantitative data collection to inform future work with international organizations as aconsultant.

As an undergraduate, she participated in an exchange program in La Réunion and an ethnographic field school in Guatemala. Her latest educational experience abroad was in Senegal as an agroforestry worker with the Peace Corps. Her primary work focused on working with farmers, women’s groups, and students to grow and manage fruit and live fencing trees. She worked on a fencing and gardening grant for a women’s group. Her time as a Cashew Point of Contact and Work Zone Coordinator allowed her to discuss environment, economy, health, and gender in planting cashew with the Senegalese and her region-mates.

As a Coordinator for the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, she had the chance to create different speaking platforms and spaces of supportfor PCVs, and explore conversations of what it means to be an American volunteer (living in another country and participating in development) with volunteers and staff. Her experiences have highlighted for her the importance of including diverse voices ona project and within an organization.