A Bachelor of Development Studies student will spend part of 2016 in the Philippines learning how to effectively work with communities to design and implement programs which contribute to real change.

Lisa Butson has been successful in attaining a prestigious New Colombo Scholarship (http://dfat.gov.au/people-to-people/new-colombo-plan/2016-round/Pages/2016-round.aspx), which provides opportunities for Australian undergraduates to study in Indo-Pacific locations in order to gain a deeper understanding of the culture and political systems.

“A key issue for development in the Philippines, as in many parts of the world, is water. Access to clean water, proper sewage and sanitation are all issues that are faced by many countries, particularly after natural disasters. I want to learn how to improve these conditions.

“Being awarded this scholarship will allow me to gain practical experience working with communities, learning about their culture, working with a local organisation and pursuing my studies in a specialised environment,” she said.

Lisa hopes to eventually work in the field of international development, specifically looking at ways to manage water resources and increase sanitation.

“Studying over there will be a unique opportunity as they’ve made substantial progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, but around 25% of the population lives below the poverty line,” Lisa said.

Based on her performance during the application, Lisa was also chosen as the ‘top student’ for the Philippines, meaning she has been awarded the title of Phillipines Fellow. She will receive additional funding to purchase study materials and will be invited to events where she will act as an ambassador for both the New Colombo Plan Program and Australia.

“The scholarship program is highly competitive and I am very proud to be selected. It’s a dream come true,” Lisa said.