Chifuniro Baluwa has been awarded a Commonwealth scholarship to study for an MSc in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) at the University of Leeds. Baluwa has been working with MLW since January 2022 as a CORE Pre-master intern under the Vector Biology Research Group. Her research project looked at “Dry season drivers of malaria cases within the Kasungu district hospital catchment area (DRYVERS).” She was supervised by Dr. James Chirombo, Dr Michelle Stanton, and Patrick Ken Kalonde.
“This scholarship plays a vital role in propelling my career in geospatial science aligned with my career trajectory. I will be equipped with the skills and knowledge required to progress in my studies, engage in meaningful research, establish professional connections, and gain a comprehensive understanding of GIS in diverse contexts. With this scholarship, I am confident that I will be prepared to make significant contributions to the field, drive innovation, and positively impact society through the application of GIS technologies and spatial analysis,” she said.
She describes the MLW research environment as instrumental in shaping her personal and professional growth and providing her with numerous invaluable benefits and opportunities. She praised MLW for its rich academic setting that provides an atmosphere that fosters curiosity, collaboration, and innovation. The resources and access to cutting-edge technologies that are made available to early career researchers have allowed her to advance into the geospatial science field, which is her main interest. Baluwa says she is grateful for the direct access to renowned experts and mentors in her field who have provided invaluable guidance, mentorship, and feedback on her work.
Asked how she feels, about this achievement, she had this to say, “receiving a Commonwealth scholarship has left me speechless, with an overwhelming mix of emotions. I am filled with an indescribable sense of pride, gratitude, and excitement. To be chosen as a recipient of such a prestigious scholarship is a tremendous honour. I am fueled with renewed determination and inspiration to pursue excellence, create positive change, and become a global ambassador for knowledge and understanding. I am grateful for my supervisors, who have shaped my research endeavours and inspired me to push the boundaries of knowledge and pursue excellence in my research and academic pursuits”.
Currently, Baluwa is one of the Hamish Ogston Foundation Platinum Early Career Grant awardees, working on a project titled “The development of an interactive dashboard to visualize cholera hotspots and coverage of vaccines: A case of Malawi”. This work supplements the cholera-strengthening response within the SEROSURV project under the Infection and Immunology Research Group. She is supervised by Associate Prof Kondwani Jambo, and Dr. James Chirombo and supported by the Geospatial team.