Capacity building in the UK Overseas Territories


The UK Overseas Territories Association (UKOTA)/JNCC scholarship recipient, Jesile Duncan, has successfully completed her Masters Degree in Environmental Management at the University of Reading. The scholarship, created to improve capacity building in the UK Overseas Territories, was awarded to Jesile, a water laboratory technologist in the Department of Health, Anguilla.


Jesile Duncan ©Wendy Dalton/JNCCJesile’s goals were to gain knowledge and skills to help her better understand and effectively address the many environmental challenges that face Anguilla -  particularly pollution from inappropriate waste management.


Of the twelve taught master programmes funded by the scholarship, Jesile selected Environmental Management. She felt the programme provided a range of diverse but interrelated courses that would support her  goals for combating Anguilla’s unsustainable waste management practices. The core modules included: soils, waste and environmental management; carbon and global change; entrepreneurship and business skills; resource and environmental economics; and EU environmental law.


The focus of Jesile’s research project was ‘determining the spatiotemporal variability of nitrogen and other related soil variables on the Yarnton Mead floodplain’. The research project created an opportunity to contribute to the NERC-funded FUSE (Floodplain Underground Sensors Experiment) project and attend the FUSE environmental science and ecological/ botanical subgroup meeting at the British Geological Survey in Wallingford.


In addition to her coursework, Jesile supported several community events including the Reading RESCUE (Rivers and Environmental Spaces Clean Up) with both the Hexham Community Association and the Whitley Green Residents Association, building the University of Reading’s greenhouse, the Sainsbury's Sport Relief Mile and the Hexham Community Centre's Jubilee celebrations. Her involvement in those activities resulted in her qualifying for the University of Reading’s Reading Experience and Development award.


Following the completion of her Masters, Jesile took a three month internship with JNCC where her main assignment involvedJesile performing laboratory analysis on soil samples © Jesile Duncan collating information on the biodiversity strategies of the UK OTs. Describing this opportunity, Jesile said “My experiences at JNCC and contact with the OT representatives have given me further insight into the different types of environmental challenges which are both common and unique to the OTs. I now have a much greater appreciation of the efforts being carried out by environmental organisations that promote environmental conservation and sustainability.


I hope my experiences inspire others to enhance their capabilities by taking advantage of opportunities such as the UKOTA/JNCC scholarship, internships and community based schemes to positively contribute to the global environment.”

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