The Bulletin Interviews Alumnus Nopenyo Dabla

Almut Mohr
Dabla

Why did you choose to study MPP at the Brandt School in Erfurt?

After my bachelor’s degree and some work experience, I realized that to move further in my career I would need a postgraduate degree in a field that would allow me to pursue a fruitful career in international development. At the time, the exact professional path was still unclear, but I knew that I wanted to be in an international study programme with a diverse student body that would help me get different perspectives on what needs to be done in the public decision-making sphere to advance the impact of policy interventions on sustainable socio-economic development. After several options were offered to me, I chose the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt because it checked all the boxes with the added advantages of a compact but very diverse student body and affordability.

What did you like most about studying at the Brandt School?

First of all, I loved my classmates (class of 2014), a group of young and motivated students from all corners of the world, many of whom I still maintain contact with, and one to whom I am married and have two lovely children with.

Beyond that, however, the riches of the curriculum, which caters to almost all aspirations within the public policy space, as well as very helpful academic and management teams who all go beyond the call of duty to make studying at the Brandt School a wholesome experience.

Where do you work now?

I work for the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), where I am Programme Officer for the Sub-Saharan Africa region and based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

How did the Brandt School help you to get there?

In the Summer Semester of 2013, I took a course on the impact evaluation of development programmes, and the material really “hit the right spot” in terms of what I wanted to do with my career and helped me zone in more on what my future career path should look like. I developed a passion for the role of energy in development, subsequentially writing my master thesis on the financing of the energy transition. After graduation, I worked on the evaluation of socio-economic impacts of rural electrification with solar electricity in rural areas of Mali, effectively applying the knowledge and methodologies I had acquired earlier. From there, I moved to IRENA where I support countries on public policy matters, with concrete impacts on the livelihoods and socio-economic development at large.

Do you have any advice for our current students?

I would advise them to approach every subject through the lens of how it can be applied in a professional context and use every opportunity available to build a network with peers and alumni to reach their professional objectives.


Almut

About the interviewer

Almut Mohr is a Research Associate at the Franz Haniel Chair for Public Policy. In her research, she focuses on social-environmental movements and energy transitions, particularly coal phase-out processes and with a regional focus on the Global South.