Ms. Katsaruware Debra Rumbidzai

Lecturer in the Agriculture department
Zimbabwe Open University


In 2006, I qualified for the Kellogg Foundation Dissertation Awards. Before that, I was studying for an MSc degree in Crop Protection. In my country there was a great economic downturn to such an extent that, with a monthly salary, one could only buy a loaf of bread using our local Zimbabwean dollar. My father, who was the family bread winner, managed to access a loan from his employers to pay fees for my MSc taught courses. After finishing those, I was not able to complete my dissertation. This is when I was introduced to the Kellogg Foundation by a friend who was also a beneficiary. I responded to the advert without any hope that I would finish my research project until I was finally selected for the Dissertation Award. Through research modules that I was given, I finally passed my MSc and was awarded the degree with MERIT. That was a very wonderful achievement for me. The KSAL programme made a difference by teaching me various research paradigms that were and are still important for my academic life. This was through the various modules that we were taken through by Prof Mbigi. They gave me a better understanding of the various research processes that expanded my knowledge base. The other modules that we went through with Prof Mbigi taught about skills that are needed by one to be successful in life and about helping others by giving back, which is through ploughback. The leadership development skills were one of the greatest components of the KSAL programme. After the various workshops that we attended through KSAL, I learned how to be a leader at the household level, at the workplace, and also nationally, which I thought was a difficult task. I also learned to help others. I managed to send my disadvantaged relatives to school and also help other underprivileged members of my family and church, which I could not do before.