Lisbet Rhiannon Hansen – The Human Security Profile of December 2018

This is a post from The Human Security Angle: the newsletter of the Master’s Programme in Human Security at Aarhus University.

Lisbet, why did you decide to study human security at Aarhus University?

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Human Geography, I wanted to continue my studies in a multi-disciplinary program which would allow me to combine my interests in environmental issues and climate change, with development studies and political science. The structure of the Human Security master’s programme provided this opportunity. I was also very attracted to Aarhus and its reputation as a young and vibrant student city.

I now work primarily out of the NIRAS International Consulting office in Copenhagen.

Where did you do your work placement, and what did you learn?

I did my work placement simultaneously with two organisations in the Seychelles: The GEF Small Grants Programme and Mangroves for the Future. I divided my time supporting both organization with the development of project proposals, project management, and monitoring and evaluation of small grant projects focused mainly on community-based adaptation to climate change. As a result of my work placement I was invited to join the Seychelles delegation at the UN Climate Change Conference COP19 in Warsaw.  My time in Seychelles was an incredible experience which enabled me to put into practice the knowledge acquired through the practical courses from the programme. Specifically, the courses prepared me to interact with stakeholders from the community to the international political level; further my technical understanding of the impacts of climate change in small island developing states; and the importance of negotiating and the financing efforts to keep climate change below 1.5°C.

One of the community-based adaptation projects I worked with during my internship aimed to combat severe coastal erosion at Anse Kerlan, on the island of Praslin in Seychelles, by proposing the use of ecosystem-based solutions. The project was subsequently funded my Mangroves for the Future.

What are you doing at the moment?

Today I work as a Project Manager for NIRAS International Consulting. I participated in a two-year graduate programme – the NIRAS Young Professional Academy – where I completed on-the-job training in tender management, project management, and consulting. Over the two-year period, I was primarily based between NIRAS offices in Serbia and Cambodia, where I learnt and worked with project acquisition. Since becoming a Project Manager in the International Water Department based in Copenhagen, I am now responsible for the acquisition and management of a portfolio of bilateral and multilateral donor funded projects. I’m currently focusing on transboundary integrated water resource management projects in Southern Africa.

In December 2018 I met with Lake Victoria Basin Commission in Kisumu, Kenya to discuss upcoming regional projects for integrated water resources management. From the 13th floor of their office building, you can clearly make out the invasive water hyacinth which has serious social, economic and environmental implications for the lake and its surrounding communities.

What have you taken with you from your human security studies?

The practical nature of the group work and exams from the Human Security programmed successfully prepared me for my career as a project manager and consultant. Working in a team to develop project proposals for both the Tropical Ecosystems Management and Agro-Ecology courses inspired and motivated me, forming the basis for my project-based work placement in Seychelles and my subsequent career at NIRAS. I interact on a daily basis with the concepts and tools taught in those two courses, such as developing an approach and methodology, logical framework, and budget for donor funded development projects in the water sector.

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