The long-awaited Laptop Loan Scheme for Students and Staff at Makerere University finally got underway on Thursday 10th March 2022 at ceremony presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and the Stanbic Bank Uganda (SBU) Chief Executive (CE), Ms. Anne Juuko. On hand to witness the ceremony was the Guild President H.E. Shamim Nambassa and Speaker Rt. Hon. Gatuya Mucyo.
The Scheme will enable students and staff to access an unsecured loan to the tune of UGX 5million payable over a period of three years or less, at an interest of 13% per annum. The monthly payments which start from as low as UGX 71,000 will also cover insurance for the laptops against theft and damage. The launch follows the signing of an MoU between Makerere and Stanbic on 15th February 2022.
“The documentation has been kept very simple” remarked Sam Mwogeza, Head, Consumer and High Net Worth, SBU. “We’ll have a very simple application form, a nomination form and detail of the parent’s account for where payments will be settled. Our team at the branch (Makerere) are fully available to walk you through these consultations” he added.
According to the vendor HGZ Technologies represented by Simon Nkuyahaga, the laptops will come in three categories based on processing power. The basic ones will have two (2) cores/processors, mid-range ones will have four (4) cores/processors and the high-end ones will have eight (8) cores/processors. Each laptop will also have a battery life of eight (8) to ten (10) hours, extendable to fourteen (14) hours using an extra backup battery.
“We’ll have Microsoft 356 for students for one year so that all your documents are automatically stored in the cloud… we also give a one year warranty meaning we will have a team here to support technical issues with the laptop, at the same time we will train some students from Computer Science through internship with us so that they can support you” added Simon Nkuyahaga.
Additionally, all laptops purchased through the scheme will be automatically connected to the Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) for WiFi access to educational websites. For students who live in areas with irregular access to electricity, add-ons such as solar bundles may be purchased to provide up to 24 hours of backup power.
“We are proud to be working with you to provide real solutions to real problems and I want to start by thanking you Professor (Nawangwe) for giving us a chance to work with you and your team. Through this partnership we say that ‘Impossible is nothing'” remarked Ms. Anne Juuko.
The Chief Executive shared that the Scheme has been structured with the students at the centre, so as to enable them achieve their academic and professional goals. She therefore urged the student body to give timely feedback that can SBU work with the vendor to further refine customer support and service delivery.
Ms. Juuko said that the scheme is an answer to SBU’s observation that brilliant young people all over Uganda lack the necessary tools such as computers to help them embrace opportunities in digital spaces. She nevertheless asked the students to take good care of their laptops so as to make the most of their parent’s investment, noting that the devices can serve them well for up to five years.
“So that long after you have paid pack the loan, you can still use this device. But beyond that, if you do it well, you enable us to continue to provide this service to other people out there. This is a volume game; the more of you subscribe, the lower the unit cost” explained Ms. Juuko.
Addressing himself to the students, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe concurred with the SBU CE’s assertion that Africa is on the move largely due to its young people.
“You are the cream of Africa because you are in the top University and this top university takes the cream. And so the future of Africa is in your hands; you either make Africa better or you break it” counselled the Vice Chancellor.
Prof. Nawangwe expressed his gratitude to Stanbic and the CE in particular for the vibrancy exhibited in addressing issues that affect Uganda’s development. “The initiative you took to ensure that the Education sector comes back to life is extremely important.”
Earlier, Ms. Juuko had shared that SBU, in a bid to revive the education sector follow the devastating effects of COVID-19, had forgiven schools a full year of interest for 2021 on all loan repayments.
The Vice Chancellor furthermore thanked SBU for, without hesitation, agreeing to fund the Laptop Loan Scheme with favourable terms that cover insurance and servicing. “Stanbic has made this so affordable.”
Prof. Nawangwe therefore called upon the Guild Leadership to sensitise the student body about the unique offer. “One thing you need to understand is that with a computer and with data, you are a truly global citizen; you can attend classes anywhere in the world, get notes from any university if you want to compare and broaden your knowledge, and apply for jobs after university anywhere in the world… Take up the opportunity and look boldly into the future.”
H.E. Shamim Nambassa on her part shared that closure of the University due to COVID-19 marked a particularly tough time for students, due to limited access to laptops. “We kept demanding and asking for where the laptop bank is, but little did we know that Stanbic Bank would bring us the laptop bank. Thank you so much.”
The Guild President particularly thanked Stanbic Bank for redefining the education sector by ushering students into the digital era at an affordable cost. This, she noted, would help them become true agents of the transformative society that Makerere University seeks to build as she celebrates 100 years of existence this year.
“I want to thank the University Administration for bringing this forward for us as a student fraternity, and I want to call upon each and every student in Makerere University and let you know that the cry is over” H.E. Nambassa summed up.
Addressing guests at the launch, Guild Speaker, Rt. Hon. Gatuya Mucyo reiterated the Students’ appreciation to Prof. Nawangwe and the University Management for initiating the partnership, as well as Ms. Anne Juuko for thinking about and giving back to her alma mater. He equally thanked the Student Leadership for embracing the idea and the student body for exhibiting great willingness to participate in the scheme since the MoU was signed in February.
He nevertheless requested SBU to avail more opportunities to students in form of internships beyond the proposed on-campus laptop service centres. He reassured the gathering of the Student Guild’s readiness to mobilise and sensitise the student body about the Laptop Loan Scheme.
To secure your laptop, visit Stanbic Bank Makerere or any other branch with your parent/guardian and fill out the required forms.
For further enquiries call +256 312 224600 or 0800 250250 (Toll Free)
Call For Nominations for the Position of Chancellor Makerere University
Makerere University invites nominations for the position of Chancellor of the University.
Purpose of the position
The Chancellor is the titular head of the University, presides over all ceremonial assemblies of the University and confers degrees and other academic titles and distinctions of the University.
Please see Download below for details.
The deadline for submission of nominations is 11th January 2024 at 5:00 p.m. East African Time.
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
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