Water Fellowship for UKZN Master’s Student

Master’s candidate at the Centre for Water Resources Research, Ms Jade Moody, is part of the first cadre of Water Fellows in a programme instituted by the Water Research Commission (WRC).

This fellowship is awarded to students supported through the Water Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap implementation unit housed at the WRC with funding from the Department of Science and Technology.

Moody is one of a number of students supported from 11 South African Higher Education Institutions.

The programme is modelled on and facilitated by the already implemented GreenMatter Fellowship programme. It includes expanded professional development support that upskills students and connects them to networks of practitioners as well as fellow students. This provides opportunities for career development in the water sector, mentorship opportunities, soft skills capacity development, access to a fellowship alumni network and community of practice, and career and study resources.

‘The water fellowship programme was the best thing that ever happened to me,’ said Moody, who recently had the opportunity to attend an awareness workshop in Johannesburg.

The workshop focused on the importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence in personal development. Moody said she gained an expanded perspective on what drives individuals, equipping her with greater understanding and communication skills.

Moody’s research involves the development of plausible “developmental” scenarios, which she hopes will offer greater insight into adaptation to climate change.

She explained that her research will explore the historical and current characteristics of development to promote greater understanding of future possibilities of achieving improved socio-economic and environmental stability.

‘The way one moves forward with development can aid the decisions made around climate change adaptation and strategic measures,’ said Moody.

She said participating in the fellowship has influenced the way she approaches dealing with water issues; teaching her to focus on present challenges and solutions.

Moody completed her undergraduate and honours degrees at UKZN, and decided to pursue her master’s studies at the University because of the academic strength and support in the Hydrology Discipline.

It was her love of nature and the outdoors, and the understanding that water is central to the functioning of life that led her to pursue studies in the water sector.

‘The work we do directly impacts both the essence of nature and the entire socio-economic system, and I love the feeling of freedom when out at a site or when we see the value of our work for livelihoods and mother nature,’ she said.

After completing her studies, Moody plans to work in the water sector, and hopes to give back to her community.

Moody, who is adopted, said she owes everything to her parents who have supported her in every situation.

‘My dad is the reason that I am so motivated and passionate, and I thank him for allowing me to grow into myself the best way he could,’ she said.

She also thanked staff at UKZN, particularly Ms Tinisha Chetty and Dr Sabine Stuart-Hill, for their support of her learning.

Words: Christine Cuénod

Photograph: Supplied