Last month, the CSC welcomed 46 Commonwealth Master’s and Shared Scholars to its residential workshop on Maximising your Impact: Training for Development. The workshop took place over three days at Cumberland Lodge, a former royal residence and now an educational charity situated in Windsor Great Park.

As part of the CSC’s 2023 Leaders in Sustainable Development Programme, the workshop offered an intensive programme of sessions for Scholars with a focus on current international development issues. Joining Scholars at the workshop were staff from the CSC Secretariat and CSC Commissioner Dr Catherine Mackenzie, a lawyer and academic specialising in international environmental law, forestry, land use, and public international law.

The workshop sessions

The workshop kickstarted with a poster session on the opening evening where Scholars discussed their academic studies and plans for development impact after their scholarship. Following on from this, Scholars had the chance to network with one another and learn more about their experiences while taking part in various icebreaker activities including a crossword challenge and informal interviews led by the CSC’s Regional Network Coordinators.

The following day, Scholars participated in a number of group-led sessions, where they discussed development impact with a focus on their own country perspective. In the afternoon, Scholars took part in three plenary sessions which focused on integrating the SDGs into research and practice; maximising leadership and impact using the Theory of Change model; and building a narrative through public engagement.

The plenary sessions were delivered by AccessEd, a non-profit organisation that promotes fair access to university for all young people and supports researchers across the world on outreach and public engagement skills, career readiness, and leadership development.

On the final day of the workshop, Scholars worked individually and in pairs on a partnership mapping exercise to help them identify groups who might hold the same vision as them in preparation for future collaborative projects.

This was followed by a group activity where Scholars used their presentation skills to communicate their commitment to development. Building on the skills they had learned the previous day, Scholars each presented their development impact narrative and outlined their future plans.

Reflections on the workshop

After the workshop, Scholar shared some of their thoughts and reflections on the weekend and its relevance for their future ambitions.

“The workshop improved my knowledge on [the] Theory of Change framework and how to apply it in approaching my development impact. I learnt the relevance of Theory of Change and how to use it to inform participatory approaches in my field of international development and relations. The experience over the weekend was outstanding and impactful.”

“Networking with fellow Scholars was great because I got to know the various projects other Scholars were doing and how it also links to my project. Ideas and experiences shared during interactions were thought-provoking and inspiring. The session gave me more grounding on what the objectives of my project are; why I want to indulge in the project; who the project is for; who to talk to; where the project should take place; and how to go about the project. This event is a life-changing event and a pathway to fulfilling one’s developmental impact.”

Take a look at the photos from the weekend on the CSC Flickr channel.