From: Sini Marika Ylimartimo
Country of Origin: Finland

Tell us about you experience:
Nowadays I live in Central Finland and try to graduate from University as soon as possible. I am doing my Master degree and after the graduation I will try to find a job from my professional field (international development co-operation). My Bachelor’s degree work or could I say my first real research related to voluntary working. At the moment I am doing my Master thesis because I started Master seminar lectures two months ago. The topic of my Master thesis is: The view from ethnological perspective to local women’s organizations social and cultural differences between Finnish and South African societies. I have already done three interviews in Finland and I have found one interviewee from South Africa. The main purpose of my research is to interview chairpersons from every women’s organizations and to find out their opinions of organization work.

I have lot of plans for my future and work in UN is one of those. I am interested to African research because University of Jyväskylä has lot of contacts to African states. We have North- South- South- exchange programme between Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi. This programme has offered exchange places for students who are interested of development studies or development co-operation.

Last year I applied to this programme and I got the exchange place from Chancellor College, University of Malawi where I spent almost five months. I studied sociology in Chancellor College and it was my first time in Africa. I do not lie if I say that my journey to Malawi was the best journey of my life. I got lot of new experiences, friends, new information of African societies and I got many chances to see African beautiful nature and the life of local people. While I was in Africa I also visited in Ethiopia.

North- South- South- exchange programme organized an intensive course of informal settlements and urban poverty. There were participated students and professors from Finland, Malawi, Kenya and Ethiopia. We did research in slum areas which located around Addis Ababa. After field work we gathered together to analyze results of field work and we also did power point- presentations of our findings. I have lot of good memories from that week and of course from the time in Malawi.

I am sure that the destiny has purposely chosen me to do work for African people. I could say that work in Africa is like a vocation to me because I have engrossed all my interests to development co-operation during my studies in University.

I have still two years left and practical training in development organization is going to be important part of my Master studies. However, I want to do practical training in Africa because I have already experiences African life and I know that I have skills which are supporting the challenges in working life. I would like to get familiar with gender questions, women’s rights,human rights, children’s rights, civil society and HIV/aids questions.

What are your qualifications:
As I told before my qualifications are relating to African research, gender questions (and of course human rights as well), slum research (I have experienced from field work in slum areas). My major is ethnology and minors are social sciences and UN virtual development courses ( I have also lot of experience from cultural issues, interviews (I have done 8-9 interviews during three years in University)

What are your areas of expertise:
The areas of expertises are ethnology, cultures, anthropology, African research, development cooperation (I am also part of development committee of The National Union of University Students of Finland , gender issues, women’s rights, human rights, agrarian culture in Africa (Malawi), urban research (Ethiopia) and some expertise of museology (and art history)

What is your understanding of Human Rights?(National,Regional,International):
My understanding of human rights are relating to social (society) and local (civil society) actors which are working together without conflicts, but as we can understand this is impossible present-day societies. Human rights are concerning all nations around the world. We cannot sort out nations by the color of skin, ethnic heritage or individuals role in society (f.ex. caste system in India) In my opinion human rights are supporting and helping forward equality of humans but it also prevents inequality between human kinds all over the world.