Norah Ngatjizeko - Bachelor of Technology Economics 2010

Brief: Awarded a scholarship by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency to undertake Master level study in Japan

Share your achievement/success story in detail. I graduated with a BTech in Economics from NUST in 2010. I started my first job that same year at NAMCOL in their resource center. In March of 2011 I started working for the then Ministry of Trade and Industry in Keetmanshoop. I spent nearly 6 years with the ministry (I left in April 2016). It was a great learning curve and I was blessed to have many unofficial mentors. Not all lessons were good but every single one was worth it. It was thanks to the ministry that I undertook a Post Graduate Dipoloma and also thanks to my experience in the ministry that I was selected for the Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2015. The Fellowship really opened my eyes to new career possibilities and as such, I applied for an internship after my return from the United States. I was fortunate to intern at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) in 2016. My time at FAO highlighted my interested in the agriculture field and more specifically my interest in agribusiness. It was this that spurred me on to apply for the ABE initiative program in 2017.

Tell us more about your journey leading up to this moment. My career ambitions changed and I needed to move towards something that aligns with where I want to be in future. I had the opportunity to go to the United States of America on the Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2015, it was there that my interest in Agribusiness was piqued. I wanted to explore this sphere in great detail and I gave up a good career to pursue this. I spent nearly two years exploring my options (unemployed) and I applied to plenty of jobs and scholarships. I had received countless letters and emails that start something like, "we thank you for your application but regret to inform you". I had to accept each one with a grain of salt. In October of 2017 I saw an ad in one of the local newspapers and immediately contacted the referenced person. After a lengthy application process, in June of this year I received my first "Congratulations" letter.

What does this achievement mean to you and how will you use it to motivate others? I have been awarded a scholarship and it truly is a blessing, but it is not the achievement yet. There are many steps that are still needed to be taken and a great deal of responsibility assigned. I still need to get my qualification first. With that said, my biggest advice to anyone applying for similar opportunities is to stand firm in their vision, do not change your narrative to seem a more attractive candidate, they will see right through you. On this journey I have faced plenty of rejection, but here I am. When the time is right, nothing that was intended for you, will be delayed in getting to you. Finally, always apply, you never know when your time comes.

What are your plans for the future? I try not to set too many plans because this can start to dictate every step I make and this will hinder you in simply enjoying the moments presented to you. I do however have a vision for my future and that of my country. I would like to be play a big part in ongoing projects that empower people living in rural areas through innovative business practices. I want the opportunities granted to me here to help create knowledge bridges between my country and all the various countries that I get to have in this network including our host Japan.

Share with us your success quote! "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken - this quote is by Oscar Wilde. I love it and try very hard to live by it, because it is true, my authentic self is the only role I was ever born to play."