I am an Economics student at the University of St. Gallen and I have developed a passion for international development, with a focus on community development. Leading towards this passion was a variety of experiences and encounters of both positive and negative nature. My schooling in a Waldorf school that follows the philosophy of Anthroposophy by Rudolf Steiner belongs to the former one, where I experienced an individual approach towards each student catering to their special talents. The collaboration with an indigenous NGO in rural India in the spring of 2014 also belongs to that category, where people were immersed into the context, understood the culture and hence were able to answer the people’s needs. Nevertheless, many experiences rather belong to the latter category. One of which are the standardised testing and schooling of Western and Northern theories and knowledge at our Universities. Seldom was there room for alternative thoughts and ideas. Adding to that is the ever repeating development approach of NGO’s and governments, that follows a blindsided dogmatic “one-size” fits all approach.
Luckily I got into contact with Trans4m, where my sense for holistic transformative development was awakened. For me the opportunity to dive into an ecosystem and to truly become immersed in the context is a unique opportunity and I believe in the periphery where indigenous and exogenous knowledge, local and global ideas, modern and traditional worldviews form a symbiosis, that is where social innovation can take place.
I have been a Junior Fellow of Trans4m since 2015, I am currently spending four months at Paxherbals in Ewu, Nigeria. Paxherbals is a traditional herbal medicine healing enterprise that was founded two decades ago by Father Anselm Adodo – a PhD student and Fellow of Trans4m.
One initiative born out of his research-to-innovation was the Ewu Development and Educational Multipurpose Co-operative Society (EDEMCS), which aims to transform the community by empowering local farmers, traders and artisans. I concentrate my efforts on this initiative and use my own transformative Bachelor thesis to create an integral model that will aid EDEMCS to become a self-evolving sustainable, independent and successful enterprise. The thesis, which is currently in the process of being written is entitled: “EDEMCS – How an integral model of community development can transform local communities: A case study of Ewu community in Edo state, Nigeria.“