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MasterCard Foundation awards 200 scholarships



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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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise



One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.


(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission



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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution



Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative



By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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