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Crawford School alumna Angella Ndaka received this year’s ANU International Alumna of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to gender and social inclusion in Kenya. We caught up with Angella to talk about leadership on women’s issues, how the Master of Public Policy in Policy Analysis prepared her for her work and further research, and the key ingredients that make good social policy.
Why did you decide to study at Crawford School?
After going through a lot of academic advice and looking at several options, I chose Crawford School of Public Policy because I felt that it gave public policy a very balanced and broad approach. I wanted to study at a school which has a broad approach to global policy issues, especially the policy realities in the global south. I had seen and experienced gender exclusion and I was looking forward to gain skills that could make me a champion for more inclusive policies in Kenya. Crawford School never disappointed me in this.
How did you first hear about it?
When I was researching on the best institutions to study, I consulted a friend who recommended ANU. And since I was very specific on studying public policy, I went to the website searching for the school or department that offered public policy.
How did doing a degree with Crawford School prepare you for your current role?
Doing a degree with Crawford School provided me with a great foundation to explore different areas. Firstly, since my graduation, I have been tutoring and researching policy at Kenyatta University. I have also been conducting policy engagement and dialogue forums with civil societies. Above all, I have been leading initiatives like Pan-Pads project under the Women in Leadership Network Kenya where a group of women has been using advocacy to demystify issues around sexual health and reproductive rights for girls and women in Kenya. I am also currently a PhD researcher at University of Otago, New Zealand where I am looking at environmental and policy issues around agricultural technology. I find myself so versatile on issues on public policy, thanks to Crawford School of Public Policy.
How do you believe it will help you achieve your career goals in the future?
I am looking at contributing to both climate change policy and issues of social inclusion. My studies at Crawford School provided that basis and I am now on my path towards achieving this.
What makes good social policy?
What makes good social policy is when societies and governments are able to respond to the social and economic wellbeing of its people with an aim of reducing existing inequalities.
Why is it important?
Good social policy is important in that it gives everyone an equal opportunity to participate fully in society. It helps reduce the wealth inequality gaps and the attached social implications.
What does winning the International Alumna of the Year Award mean to you?
Winning the International Alumna of the Year award means a lot not only to me but to the many alumni in Africa who are contributing enormously to improvement of lives there. Many times, it feels overwhelming and like no one is appreciating your efforts. This comes as an encouragement to do much more.