When it comes to the management of Nepal’s natural resources, Forestry and Climate Change Expert K.C. Bhawana is an influencer with a wide reach. Her studies at ITC intensified her impact.
K.C. Bhawana works for the government of Nepal’s Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme, which is jointly funded by several European government agencies. Her responsibilities are broad. They include Programme Planning, Management and Facilitation, Human Resource Management and Capacity Building, Knowledge Management, Documentation and Communication, and Coordination, Collaboration and Networking. She designs annual programmes and leads forestry, climate change and disaster risk reduction interventions, contributes to capacity development in technical forestry and climate change, engages in knowledge management in the field of climate change adaptation and resilience building, and works closely with other climate change experts.
On entering ITC’s Master’s programme Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation in 2013, Bhawana decided to specialise in Natural Resources Management. The decision has had a lasting impact on her career – and on the people and resources of her country. ‘Studying at ITC broadened my horizons in terms of thinking and problem solving. I spend a lot of time in my current job transferring the knowledge and skills I acquired in the Netherlands to others through training programmes, seminars, workshops and publications. It all centres on tackling the challenge of natural resources management and areas areas such as climate change, governance and sustainable forest management.’ The Master’s programme boosted Bhawana’s analytical and documentation skills, which has enabled her to contribute more effectively to policy advocacy. ‘My improved analytical skills have given me a better understanding of the pro-poor and governance-related dimensions of natural resources management. As a result, I am able to design and implement project interventions and strategies that address the issues of poor people, women and discriminated or vulnerable communities in Nepal. The ITC programme equipped me to make a positive contribution in the area of climate change. My work helps climate-vulnerable households become more resilient and improve their livelihoods.’
Studying at ITC was a wonderful experience, Bhawana says. ‘I would encourage anyone interested in a career in Remote Sensing and GIS to choose ITC as a starting point. In addition to academic rigor and excellence, ITC and the University of Twente organise a lot of social events, such as international evenings and food festivals, sports days and module end parties – it is all really refreshing and memorable.’
While she learned vital lessons on time management and meeting deadlines, Bhawana especially appreciated ‘the way in which University of Twente staff deal with students and how they encourage you to present your own thoughts and opinions. Interacting with scholars from different countries, exchanging ideas and working on a challenging project as a team really boosts your learning attitude, your team building capacities and your ability to listen to others. The many vigorous discussions we had during field visits and assignments really strengthened my ability look at things critically and developed my understanding and leadership qualities.’