Petr Schmied: MA in Development and Emergency Practice, 2010

Petr's Story

Petr SchmiedPetr has been working in partnership with local people to achieve some significant and long-lasting changes in people’s lives and to generate opportunities for them which they would not otherwise have had. Here he tells what he has been doing and why it is so important to him.

"My life has offered me plenty of opportunities. As a kid, I enjoyed reading books and cycling through the countryside. As I got older I started hitchhiking and flying to other countries. There were opportunities around and it was just up to me to make the effort and take advantage of them in my life.

The professional path I chose some ten years ago has, however, very clearly showed me that these ‘matter-of-course’ opportunities aren’t offered to everyone – the potential of millions of often very motivated people living in low-income countries is wasted just because they don’t get even a fraction of the opportunities we had. To me it seemed just not right and it has been this injustice which motivated me to do my best to help people with accessing the opportunities which they need for their self-realization.

During my studies of Development and Emergency Practice at Brookes, I learned about those approaches in development and emergencies which provide 'good return on investment', whose benefits don’t collapse shortly after project completion and at the same time to take people as 'partners' and not subjects of our charity. Understanding these approaches, putting them into practice and seeing what impact they can achieve has been one of the most stimulating parts of my work.

In the past few years, the maternal mortality in our target areas has reduced by 75% and we believe that supported local health centres will manage to reduce it further even without our help.

Petr Schmied, MA in Development and Emergency Practice

Following work in Angola and Ethiopia, from 2011 I worked as Country Director for People in Need (PIN) in Cambodia, where our programming focused primarily on reducing the maternal and newborn deaths and supporting market-based development of domestic biodigesters. In the past few years, the maternal mortality in our target areas has reduced by 75% and we believe that supported local health centres will manage to reduce it further even without our help.

Over 2,500 biodigesters constructed by trained rural companies have eased women’s demanding workload, reduced annual demand for wood by over 7,000 tons and greenhouse gas emissions by more than 10,000 tons

To contribute to achieving these results, I spent most of my time advising my colleagues on fundraising, networking, developing our country office's internal procedures and making sure that proper procedures for ensuring quality are in place."

Peter has now returned to Ethiopia to help local colleagues assess what they are doing in order to achieve a better impact from their programmes.