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Alumnus of the month - November 2010

Stephen Ssejjemba
MA in Planning Policy and Practice

Stephen Ssejjemba

Stephen Ssejjemba left his stable job and comfortable home in Uganda to fly to other side of the world so he could develop his own skills and make a bigger contribution to society. When asked Stephen what motivated him his response was; "I wanted to make a difference."

Stephen first settled in Lancaster where he began studying for his MBA in 2002. Stephen’s experience at Lancaster encouraged problem solving approaches and enhanced his positive attitude towards life.

After achieving his MBA Stephen started his first job as a planner with Brighton and Hove Council. This position gave Stephen the freedom to pursue his studies, in which he did enrolling in a part time masters in Planning Policy and Practice at London South Bank University. Stephen found the course very beneficial learning new areas such as project management and the influences of politics.

‘The timing was perfect,’ he says. ‘The LSBU course was the first to properly respond to the challenges set out in the 2004 Planning Act and to reflect new ideas and ways of thinking about planning. I learned so much, about project management, about the influence of politics, and about how we as planners can help to protect the environment and build sustainable communities.’ 

Whilst completing his MA at LSBU Stephen continued as a planner at Brighton and Hove Council before moving on to his current position as a Senior Planning Officer for Birmingham City Council. Stephen’s current job involves regenerating local urban centres and housing estates and creating new training and job opportunities across the south of the city. He believes that local people should be involved in decisions about their own future.

Stephen was selected to represent his employer, Birmingham City Council, at a conference in late September which was aimed at developing young talent. The paper Stephen presented was focussed around a current topic that would allow the forum to debate and discuss. The issue that the paper covered was social adventure, energising individuals to make a long and lasting contribution to society by utilising hidden skills or talents.

True to form, Stephen made a great impression at the event and he was part of the team which was declared the overall winner of the 2010 Young Public Sector Programme. The three day event aims to develop the communication skills of people in the early stages of their working lives or who are performing voluntary work in the community.

The judges commented on his presentation as: “A paper brimming with positivity and a sense of hope..."

Describing his experience of the event Stephen said: "I was delighted to be part of the winning team. The argument I presented wasn’t something I just dreamt up for the event but it is something I passionately believe in.

Reflecting on his deprived, rural, background in Uganda Stephen devotes a lot of his spare time to mentoring others using the lessons learnt from his experience. He aims to inspire them to reflect, capture and amplify or utilise positive information and experiences. This enables them to achieve their life goals, from which his village and Uganda as a whole is already benefiting. He appeared in several major publications, received an internal leadership award in 2009 designed to promote positive thinking and creative problem solving.

LSBU has selected Stephen as an as alumni of the month.  We are extremely happy that LSBU has assisted Stephen in furthering his career and gaining so many achievements.

On being selected as Alumni of the month, Stephen commented:

I feel fortunate and delighted to have been selected as Alumni of the month at LSBU. To help in inspiring other people to reflect, capture and amplify or utilise positive information and experiences for the social good has always been my faith and dream. I would like to express my gratitude to LSBU who provided me with such a great opportunity to further understand social challenges through the MA course and fulfil my ambition.
I consider this recognition as an endorsement by one of the world’s leading Universities in the field of town planning and social research. I am extremely thankful to the esteemed staff who considered my contribution for this recognition.

Stephen is also aware of the challenges facing our world today and tomorrow.  He firmly shares his insight that:

I always ask myself not what world leaders and governments, including their constituent institutions or organisations can do for me, but what I can do to inspire them to make a difference.