Unfortunately, 3.9 billion people worldwide, often in economically disadvantaged, rural and other underserved communities, lack Internet connectivity. That’s why Microsoft created the Affordable Access Initiative, a holistic, partnership-based program that invests in new last-mile access technologies, cloud-based services and business models to reduce the cost of Internet access and help more people affordably get online. The initiative is a call to innovate. By using seed grants, mentoring networks and sparking community engagement, we cultivate partner companies that demonstrate promising market-based solutions through hardware, software or infrastructure improvements that deliver connectivity.
One important aspect of Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative is a grant fund which has, since November 2015, awarded funds to 12 companies in 11 countries and five continents, offering affordable Internet access or cloud-based services in fields such as power generation, health, education, finance and agriculture. The social enterprises we support have inspired us with practical, high-impact and scalable approaches to help close the digital divide. It’s a privilege to see these solutions take shape, and to play a role in helping local entrepreneurs spur job creation and economic growth.
This initiative is also connected to the work of Microsoft Philanthropies, which is helping to bring technology’s benefits to those who need them most. Microsoft Philanthropies is making its digital literacy, online safety and computer science education programs available to grant recipients and the communities they serve.
“Too many people around the world lack Internet connectivity and the educational, commercial and economic benefits of cloud-based services,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, told me. “Affordable Access Initiative grants, and the technology ecosystems they help support, empower entrepreneurs to provide connectivity which then enables the creation of critical services for those who need it most.”
Businesses wishing to apply for this year’s grants may find a list of criteria, and the application, here. Applications will be accepted until midnight PST on Jan. 31, 2017 [11:00AM EAT on Feb. 1, 2017].
Last year, two of the winners were energy access companies working in Africa:
- New Sun Road out of UC Berkeley operating solar micro-grids and meters in Uganda's Lake Victoria islands
- African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) operating franchised mobile solar kiosks in Kigali
4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors
In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.
MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.
- Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
- Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
- Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.
Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors
Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.
Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal
There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.
How to Apply
Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.
MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.
NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.
Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.
Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University
7th June 2021
All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
RE: CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.
During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.
Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.
Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council
RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links
Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.
- What is Community Engagement? Video 1 of 3. https://youtu.be/etv2-W1U3O0
- Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3. https://youtu.be/73h2p8P0BLw
- Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3. https://youtu.be/Ule3P1-tjC4
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