Pierre Pratley is a PhD candidate and Senior Research Associate at the George Washington University - Department of Global Health, Washington DC.
As part of my doctoral program in Global Health, I work, study and teach at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington, DC. Besides my coursework, I am involved in a joint project with the World Bank on Conditional Cash Transfer in Malawi. Conditional Cash Transfer is a social policy tool that enables young girls from poor families to attend schools. My current focus is on the linkages between education, empowerment and positive development and health outcomes.
Before Development and Rural Innovation, I did a degree in Neuroscience and I worked in several research institutes all over Europe. I started to realize that my technical knowledge of neuroscience needed to be enriched with context and social perspectives. As a passionate traveller, I got interested in development work.
Development and Rural Innovation is a unique education programme that offers an opportunity to study international development for people with a non-social science background. As many graduate degrees in development studies do not accept applicants without a social science background, I saw the unique opportunity presented and applied and enrolled in the MSc programme Development and Rural Innovation.
This programme opened for me the door to work in development. It was a bridge that enabled me to move from neuroscience to development work. As a student I became more aware of the complexity of development work and learnt to take a holistic approach to technical and social problems.
I also enjoyed being part of the Development and Rural Innovation group. My colleagues are amazing people and learning with such a diverse set of people from all over the world was a great opportunity to enrich my knowledge of practical aspects of development work. Moreover, I see Development and Rural Innovation and Wageningen as kind of a roundabout where great people from all over the world come, stay and leave to do meaningful work.
I was fortunate to get support from many peers and institutions in my quest for scholarship and as a result received Fulbright and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds grants. This, along with a scholarship from the George Washington University enabled me to embark on this exciting new phase of my career in the US.