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UniQuest has chosen Arana Hills resident and educator Dorothy Jenner to receive its 2009 Award for Best Practice in International Development Assistance.

The Award recognises Ms Jenner’s outstanding commitment to best practice, innovation and exemplary service, reflecting UniQuest’s vision to enhance the wellbeing and sustainable development of communities around the world.

UniQuest is a leading university-based provider of international aid consultancy services, specialising in project design, management, monitoring and evaluation of capacity-building programs to help developing countries improve their economic independence. Ms Jenner is one of more than 90 consultants currently working with UniQuest to transfer Australian expertise in 24 countries.

Ms Jenner is a specialist education policy and planning advisor and team leader for UniQuest’s Education Management Information System (EMIS) projects. EMIS projects provide technical support and capacity-building for education authorities throughout the Pacific Islands region, enabling them to monitor and manage students’ learning outcomes independently, using computer technology. Ms Jenner has contributed to EMIS projects in the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Bhutan.

UniQuest’s International Projects General Manager, Mr Harleigh Luscombe, said Dorothy Jenner was selected to receive the 2009 Award because of her excellent technical expertise and interpersonal skills.

“Dorothy is an expert in a vast range of education policy, planning and training issues, leading a number of successful trainer-training initiatives for UniQuest,” said Mr Luscombe.

“Her training programs have helped teachers from every school in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to build capacity for their education ministries. Dorothy also builds capacity in other ways, such as mentoring, motivational coaching and her reliable good humour.

“Dorothy is a great people-person, always very bright and cheerful, quickly forming good relationships with her counterparts, clients and colleagues in each country.”

Accepting the Award at a special dinner ceremony in Brisbane on 22 January, Ms Jenner said she was honoured to receive the Award, which had been presented in previous years to colleagues for whom she had enormous respect and admiration.

“To be acknowledged by UniQuest through this Award is very gratifying and I thank UniQuest for giving me the opportunity to do this work for the last four years,” Ms Jenner said.

“However, I did not work alone. I would like to say thank you to my colleagues on the EMIS projects – both those in-country and at the St Lucia office – for all of their support, advice and guidance which helped me to achieve the outcomes on the projects.

“I enjoy the work I do. Having the goal of making yourself obsolete sounds strange but it’s the key to most of the activities in which I am involved. Observing the transformation as local colleagues are able to use their newly acquired knowledge and skills in their day-to-day work is very rewarding.”

Ms Jenner began her career in education as a primary school teacher working in various Queensland rural and urban school communities, after completing a Diploma of Teaching at the then North Brisbane College of Advanced Education and a Bachelor of Education (With Distinction) from James Cook University.

She studied for a Masters degree in Educational Studies (Guidance and Counselling) at The University of Queensland whilst gaining experience in non-teaching roles for Education Queensland and developing her interest in social justice, equity and disability issues relating to students’ learning outcomes.

After working on various projects in Central Queensland district offices, Ms Jenner went to Papua New Guinea, where she held senior positions at Port Moresby Grammar School, including Deputy Principal, before returning to management roles within Education Queensland’s Murrumba District office.

In 2003 Ms Jenner received a Dean’s Commendation when she graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with a Bachelor of Science (Applied Psychology), again With Distinction.

Taking leave from the department in 2005, Ms Jenner became involved with international development projects for the Vanuatu Police Force and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in the Solomon Islands. Her first assignment with UniQuest was the Solomon Islands EMIS project in 2006.

UniQuest Managing Director David Henderson presented Ms Jenner with the Award, which included a unique certificate and a commemorative UQ sandstone clock, serving as a reminder of UniQuest’s support for UQ’s global citizenship objectives.

“We appreciate Dorothy’s contribution to UniQuest’s achievements in the international aid sector, delivering research-based programs that have a positive impact on the lives of so many communities who want to improve educational outcomes for their future generations,” said Mr Henderson.

“Dorothy’s professionalism and ability to really connect with the locally-based teams in these developing countries right on our doorstep reflects the University’s determination to exemplify the role of education and research in underpinning the economic and social well-being of all communities, wherever they are in the world.”