The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


Mariammal Subramania

I studied MSc in Social Development Practice at the Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London (UCL), during the 2013-2014 academic year, under the Public Service Department of Malaysia Scholarship Programme.

Before enrolling at DPU, I was working with the Department of Social Welfare Federal Territory Office in my home country, Malaysia. I was handling the social administration aspects including management of resources, finance and training for the target groups, such as persons with disabilities and families who received the Department of Social Welfare launching grant for business expansion on case to case basis.

The skill acquisition during my career journey as a social worker enhanced my interest, knowledge, skill and enthusiasm towards social development practice. I do have some thoughts on how a comparative understanding of social welfare practices, programs, and policies enhance social development in social work. Thus, it developed the interest to pursue a master’s degree in Social Development Practice.

I extremely enjoyed the DPU’s Social Development Practice programme. It is perfectly structured and designed course. The knowledge and a critical thinking about the course encouraged me to become a better social worker.

I had a great experience through primary field research on informal settlement in Kisumu, Kenya. During the session, I have learned smart partnerships between government agencies and civil society organisations that are encouraged and enhanced with the objective of reaching out to society needs. I have gained a critical understanding in the capability approach of Amartya Sen that redefines the concepts of human well-being and social development.

After I returned to my home country, I was promoted to a Senior Assistant Director of Division of Productive Welfare at Headquarters Department of Social Welfare. My role was to empower the target groups to generate income, and enable them to be independent and self-sufficient. The experience and knowledge that gained from this course had helped me to be successful in my new career. Currently, I am a District Social Welfare Officer in one of the states in Malaysia. I was able to put in practice the skills I acquired by learning people-centered approaches. This course also had shaped my decision making towards a bottom-up approach, and allowed me to become a more strategic and impactful leader.