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MasterCard Foundation awards 200 scholarships

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  • 7 Sep 2016 - 4:13pm
  • By Proscovia Nabatte
  • 1,142
Some of the MasterCard Foundation Scholars together with the Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the Altenate Chairperson of the Steering Committee Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Chairperson of the Selection Committee Dr. Aaron Mshengyezi andMakerere University MasterCard Program Coordinator  Dr. Florence Nakayiwa.

It was a memorable afternoon on Friday 2nd September 2016, when 200 students who qualified for a comprehensive scholarship package under the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at Makerere University convened in the Makerere University Main Hall to receive their Letters of Award.

 “Joining Makerere University through the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme was a turning point in my life. I was admitted to study Bachelor of Science with Education. I see a bright future as a teacher who will aim at promoting the studying of sciences in the community. I want to act as a role model to those who are scared of sciences. It is good that I am studying education,” testified Beth Nanyama, one of the Cohort 3 Scholars.

Makerere University signed US$20,989,965.15 contract with MasterCard Foundation to sponsor 1000 students who are academically bright but economically disadvantaged youth from Africa to study at Makerere University from 2013 to 2023. The contract, signed by Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu and Peggy Woo Chief Financial Officer, MasterCard Foundation, was officially exchanged on 1st September 2015.

For the Academic Year 2016/2017, which started on 20th August 2016, 200 successful students were enrolled to study at Makerere University under the 3rd Cohort under the MasterCard Foundation (MCF) Scholars Programme at Makerere University. The programme officially started in the 2014/2015 academic year, with the 1st Cohort comprising 46 students who are currently in their third year of study. The 2nd Cohort Scholars admitted during the 2015/2016 academic year comprised 49 students.

Makerere University  Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu addressing the scholars.Addressing the 3rd Cohort comprising 200 scholars, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu welcomed the scholars to Makerere University. He congratulated the successful Scholars upon attaining the scholarship that will not only enable them to access higher education, but also significantly contribute to the transformation of their lives.

Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu emphasized the need for academic excellence, advised the scholars to effectively utilize the resources and student support services provided under the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at Makerere University and to associate with people who will add value to their academic and social life.

 “Dear Scholars, you have been given everything to enable you excel. Both Makerere University and our partner the MasterCard Foundation, expect continued academic excellence from you. Failure to live up to our academic expectations will lead to discontinuation from this Scholarship programme. Neither Makerere University nor the MasterCard Foundation expects you to be discontinued. We are training you to be the next generation of achievers and leaders, who will be committed to service and giving back to your community,” remarked the Vice Chancellor.

Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu thanked Dr. Florence Nakayiwa and her Project Implementation team for professionally managing the Scholars programme. The Vice Chancellor reiterated the University Management’s commitment to supporting The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at Makerere University.

The Programme Coordinator, Dr. Florence Nakayiwa explained that the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at Makerere University is part of the wider global network of MasterCard Foundation Scholars. Ideologically, the program was designed to nurture the next generation of African leaders. There are partners in Ghana, South Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Each year the programme issues a call for applications which climaxes with the selection of qualifying students.

“This year we have been able to register 21 international scholars from Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, and Kenya. We have 75 scholars directly transiting from BRAC-our secondary school partner. The Cohort has 104 nationals from the wider Ugandan population. The female Scholars constitute 72% out of our target of 80%,” she highlighted.The MCF Program Coordinator at Makerere University Dr. Florence Nakayiwa.

According to the Chairperson of Selection Committee, MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme at Makerere University, Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi, the selection process began in January, 2016 with the updating and approval of recruitment tools, publicity campaign in the newspapers and other media for the scholars to apply. Successful applicants were short listed and interviewed.

“We also did the home validation visits to ensure that those that were finally selected deserved the scholarships. That is how we were able to come up with the final list of the awardees. Out of the 2109 applicants, only 200 students were awarded. We went through a trauma to select only 200 participants,” he stated.

Dr. Mushengyezi also highlighted to the audience the several challenges the Selection team met while carrying out the selection process. Among the challenges the team encountered was ensuring equity in the awarding process.

“That’s why we had to visit the applicants’ homes unannounced such that we could do checks on the families, parents and their guardians to ensure that there were no masqueraders. We ensured that we were not awarding children of rich people,” he said.

“Another challenge we had during this process was the pain of seeing hundreds of deserving children being left out. We validated hundreds of them who really deserved the scholarships yet we had only 200 vacancies. We disappointed so many children and parents; we endured very many hours of seeing people crying before us but we really had nothing to do about this,” he added.

The Alternate Chairperson, Steering Committee Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged students to focus on their studies and aim for better grades so as to account for the sacrifices made by the sponsors of the program.

“Always remember the sacrifices made for you. Always remember that you have parents and people who have supported you to reach where you are now. Within three to five years, you will be leaving the gates of this University and I look forward to celebrating your graduation,” he said.-

The overjoyed audience comprising MCF Scholars, MCF Advisory Board, MCF Steering Committee, MCF Mentors, MCF Selection Committee, Members of Makerere University Council and Senate, Principals and Deputy Principals, parents, MCF Project Implementation Team and the media viewed a video clip by Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation. The video clip featured a message on the objective and goals of the MasterCard Foundation including the importance of giving back to the community and youth leadership empowerment.

The Award Ceremony was also graced by the parents of some of the Scholars. Sharing an inspiration talk with the students, Ms. Nanyunja Joy- a mother to one of the Cohort 3 Scholars advised them to concentrate on their studies in order to meet the expectations of the sponsors and parents at large.overjoyed sholars posing for a photo in Makerere University Freedom Square

Ms. Nanyunja thanked Makerere University together with MasterCard Foundation for initiating a wonderful program that caters for the needy when she said, “We learnt about Master Card through my counselor who helps me on my health and social issues. She showed me a news paper and told me to tell the children to pick the application forms. They rushed and picked the forms and we did all the necessary. To my dream, we later saw a message on my daughter’s phone calling her for an interview. She came for the interview, and later one of the facilitators came to our home for assessment. And now, here we are. Thank you very much MasterCard Foundation and Makerere University for enabling quality education to our children.”

The audience also listened to testimonies from two MCF Scholars; Nanyama Beth a student of Bsc. Education (Biology, Chemistry), and Ndoli Mark an International Student from Rwanda (MasterCard Foundation Scholar at Makerere University).

The invited guests were treated to fascinating and awesome African traditional dances by students from the Department of Performing Arts and Film.


Article by: Mak News Reporters








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