Milciades Chicomo - Master of Natural Resources Management

Brief: Completed his masters in Natural Resources Management through the EU SCIONA project.

Share your achievement/success story in detail. My story is short but enthusiastic. I'm from Capelongo, a small village in the south of Angola, a place of peace, joy, and happiness. I grew up with many dreams, but the circumstances were never easy to achieve most of them. At the beginning, I couldn't understand why it was hard to understand, but time revealed what life planned for me. I was a regular student, always trying to do my best to make me and my family proud. Things can change, that is what happened to me, and I thought I will be a teacher according to my studies, but I got an extraordinary opportunity to join a team of Biodiversity researchers, and that was the moment where a new journey started for me.

In 2017 my teacher, Dr Fernanda Lages invited me to work at the Herbarium LUBA at the Higher Institute of Educational Science of Huila. There I was involved in different activities, from museum specimens’ compilation to field activities on vegetation assessment and wildlife monitoring. By participating in a set of activities I gained experience in different fields, but wildlife monitoring was my main focus. In 2018, following the advise of my teacher, I applied for a master at NUST. I knew that it would be a challenge because of the language barrier, but I didn't give up, I accepted the challenge and I set up my mind, that I can do it. I was admitted for the master and in 2019 I started under the SCIONA project which sponsored my studies and living expenses. Before I enrolled for the master programme, I didn't know how to speak English properly, but I push myself and believed that it was possible.

I managed to complete my master in a completely strange language at the time, because of my strength and the help of all the people around me. It was really important having people available to help and support me during my journey, otherwise it could have not been possible to do it by myself. I would like to thank my family for supporting me even from far. I would like to give thanks to my teacher Dr Fernanda Lages and Dr Vera de Cauwer for taking me along on the SCIONA project, it was such a great journey. To my supervisors Dr Morgan Hauptfleisch and Dr Pedro Monterroso, this project was a success because of your guidance and my colleagues were an excellent company. Currently I am enrolled in a Post Graduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation at the Recanati-Kaplan Centre , Wildlife Conservation Unit (WildCRU) in Oxford.

Tell us more about your journey leading up to this moment. It is not always easy to achieve our dreams, but life has always something reserved for us. Some people thought that I'm crazy, and they asked how can that be possible if you don't know how to speak English? The answer is this moment, I finished the master's successfully.

What does this achievement mean to you and how will you use it to motivate others? This achievement strengthened my scientific, academic and social background. It is an experience I needed to be able to make a difference in the future. With this knowledge, I can be an active member contributing with practical strategies in order to conserve the Angolan Biodiversity. In general, conservation is a field that needs more attention, and it needs more people to get involved in joining forces to promote sustainable wellbeing.

What are your plans for the future? To continue studying at a Ph.D. level, to take advantage of my teaching background and teach people to join and to protect our biodiversity!

Share with us your success quote! Life is challenging but never give up!