Please tell us a little bit more about yourself.
My name is Maureen Barasa. I am an Master's student of Social Entrepreneurship from Tallinn University. I have a background in People management with 6 years of experience in the private sector. I am passionate about the economic empowerment of rural communities and I am currently working on social entrepreneurship as my contribution to solving world problems.
How did you decide to join the KINESIS project? What was your motivation?
My professor brought a former student who had previously worked for KiNESIS to one of our classes. She shared her experience with us. She explained what her project entailed and how she enjoyed the experience
I got interested because I am passionate about rural development. I believe that rural areas have a lot of opportunities and resources that can be utilized to improve the living conditions for rural people.
I was also interested in the exposure to another culture and way of life. I had only read about the Spanish people or watched movies. It sounded like a very vibrant way of life, something that I was drawn to
How was your experience in doing KINESIS project research in Spain?
I enjoyed my time in Spain and I appreciated the experiences I had. Most significantly coming up with a promotional plan and walking the Camino de Santiago. I walked the Camino in two bits, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, this is the last 115km. I was awarded a certificate of completion and another 100km within Navarra. It was a very enlightening experience.
I learnt a lot about how to conduct research and the challenges that empty villages face. The people who live there and how businesses operate. Doing this I also got to see medieval villages with architecture as old as the 11th century
What were the biggest challenges to doing KINESIS research in Spain?
Language barrier. The research involved me talking to business people, especially from the rural areas. Most of them only spoke Spanish, and not English, while the only way I could communicate with them was in English. This presented a challenge as I needed people to constantly translate the interviews and any other interactions that we had with the Spanish people.
How KINESIS network supported you in this journey?
I was provided for Supervisors from the sending institution and the host institution who gave me a lot of guidance on the project. My university professor helped me with the actual writing of the project while the host supervisor guided me with how to approach the project and logistical issues.
Would you recommend other students to join the KINESIS project? Why?
Yes. It is a one in a lifetime opportunity, there is a lot to learn on the project itself and the new countries that you move into. Anyone who is interested in research work, marketing, rural development etc. should consider this opportunity so as to gain hands on skills.