Stenly Hely Sajow

Stenly Hely Sajow

Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Doctoral study was the obvious next step for his career, says Stenly Hely Sajow, a medical doctor who specialises in disaster management.

“I have more than 14 years of experience in the fields of international development and humanitarian settings. Throughout my career, I’ve managed the provision of life-saving maternal reproductive health interventions during disasters across Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions. I’ve worked for UNFPA, UNICEF, IOM and UNHCR, as well as non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross.

“These experiences sparked my interest in doctoral study as I wanted to develop a better understanding of how disaster-prone countries respond to disasters, particularly when it comes to meeting the maternal reproductive health needs of pregnant women during crises.”

Research that benefits disaster-prone countries
AUT stood out when it came to choosing where to complete his PhD, says Stenly who came to AUT as an international student from Indonesia.

“My PhD research is a combination of health and disaster environmental management. It took time for me to find the right university, and I chose AUT because it’s home to globally recognised experts in my field. I had also heard good things about AUT from practitioners and academics working in the health humanitarian field.

“My research attempts to understand how a disaster-prone country integrates maternal reproductive health into disaster risk management, particularly looking at how Indonesia provided maternal reproductive health services to pregnant women during the 2013 eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra using a qualitative case study with the application of a diagnostic-event approach.”

He hopes his research will produce a conceptual framework that will benefit Indonesia and countries throughout the Pacific Ring of Fire, says Stenly who has already presented his research at a number of conferences.

Excellence in teaching and learning
He would strongly recommend AUT to other health humanitarian practitioners thinking of pursuing a PhD.

“AUT has students and top lecturers from different educational and cultural backgrounds, and I enjoy the quality of teaching and learning. I love that AUT organises workshops and tutorials for PhD students, run by recognised experts. New Zealand is a great country to live and study in – it offers a high-class education system, great quality of life, a rich culture and beautiful scenery.

“I can confidently say that my PhD journey at AUT prepares me not only to be a better humanitarian worker, but also a better person. As the chair of AUT New Zealand Scholars and the ASEAN Students Peer Mentoring Group, and a member of AUT’s Postgraduate Research Advisory Group, I’ve also had many opportunities to meet, share, and learn from students from different parts of the world.”

He also appreciates the support from his supervisors, Stenly says.

"My supervisors – Professor Eleanor Holroyd, Dr Tineke Water and Dr Rhona Winnington from AUT, and Dr Melania Hidayat from UNFPA – have supported me, introduced me to their academic networks, and provided me with opportunities to present my research and attend courses related to my study.”