The Mastercard Foundation Scholars’ Program (MCFSP) at Makerere University on Thursday 12th May, 2022 held a symposium at Hotel African during which Mentors were honoured for their role on the program and briefed about the upcoming Phase Two of the same. The symposium was presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and Chairperson MCFSP Steering Committee, Prof. Umar Kakumba. On the same occasion, Mrs. Susan Opok Tumusiime, the Executive Director, Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Uganda chapter delivered a keynote address on staying inspired during the mentoriship journey.
The Program Coordinator, Dr. Justine Namaalwa informed participants that the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University started in 2013 and has to date recruited 1,032 beneficiaries. 438 of these have so far graduated and approximately 58 are set to graduate during the 72nd Graduation Ceremony later this month.
“I extend our sincere personal gratitude to the Mastercard Foundation for the invaluable thoughts and generosity to the African child. This initiative is leading to transformative change in hundreds of African children, their parents, and we their teachers and mentors” remarked Dr. Namaalwa.
She added that over the last eight years MCFSP has upheld the pillars of; identifying the vulnerable, recruiting them into the university and providing them with valuable education.
“Beyond the education they receive, we are supposed to prepare them for the world of work, and that is where you our dear mentors have played a significant role. You are their instructors; you participate in providing their education, but are also the mentors that prepare them for their professional careers.
“We chose this day to publicly express our appreciation. I know we have always done this electronically but today, we are here to share a meal and appreciate you but above all, to create fresh momentum for networking because we haven’t seen each other in close to two years” added the Program Coordinator.
Briefing mentors on the upcoming Phase Two of the Program, Dr. Namaalwa shared that the Vice Chancellor had appointed a special seven member committee headed by Professor Emeritus Nelson Sewankambo from the College of Health Sciences (CHS) to oversee the expression of interest. The new phase is expected to commence in August 2023.
She added that the Phase Two expression of interest proposes to double the number of beneficiaries from 1,000 to 2,000. And in the spirit of inclusivity, 25% of the slots will be allocated to refugees, while 15% will be allocated to Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and 7% to international students.
Furthermore, in the spirit of supporting scholars who have excelled and are desirous of pursuing a career in academia or research, 3% of the slots will be allocated to support graduate training. Another 30% will be allocated to beneficiaries drawn from vulnerable populations as defined by the Uganda Vulnerability Map of 2020. The 30% will also cater for minority tribes such as the Benet, Ik and Batwa, among others. The remaining 20% will be availed to any other vulnerable youth in Uganda including the urban poor.
“I am sharing this early enough to prepare you as mentors. We have been in a phase of 1,000 (scholars), a phase of no special categories, but we are walking into a different phase… I welcome you dear mentors to roll up your sleeves and together, we are going to co-create this phase” reassured Dr. Namaalwa.
Speaking on behalf of the MCF Steering Committee, Prof. Mulumba Bwanika Mathias the Dean School of Education, College of Education and External Studies (CEES) applauded the Program Coordinator, Implementation Team and Mentors for the support that enables the scholars to achieve their goals.
“In about two weeks’ time, the majority of our scholars in their final year are going to graduate and the credit goes to you the mentors. We are aware that you frequently interact with our scholars and most importantly, you maintained this during the most difficult time of the lockdown when we had the COVID-19 pandemic. We really do appreciate the kind of work you do” said Prof. Bwanika.
Touching on the upcoming Phase Two, Prof. Bwanika said, “we have submitted the proposal and highly believe that it will go through and we look forward to remaining with you our mentors because we value you. The kind of work you have done to guide these young men and women is massive, and we would like to encourage you and support you in any possible way to ensure that you continue doing this great work.”
The symposium itinerary would have been incomplete without voices from MCFSP Mentors, Scholars and Alumni. These came in from Mentors – Dr. Nina Olivia Rugambwa and Mr. Aloysius Kwitonda, Alumna – Ms. Marion Apio and Scholar – Ms. Sandra Mukoya.
Some of the lessons shared by the Mentors from their experience included;
- It takes understanding, broad knowledge and patience to mentor scholars
- Mentees need sound financial advice to help them adopt a saving culture and avoid wasting their stipends on expensive items
- Mentees are under a lot of pressure to support their families back home and in some cases are viewed as sole providers of school fees for siblings owing to the stipends they receive.
- Scholars are very knowledgeable especially about technology and should never be underestimated
- Mentors should always have a listening ear and never be quick to judge
- Mentors should relax their own boundaries to facilitate interaction and encourage mentees to open up
- Where possible, mentors should invite mentees to celebrations of personal goals achieved as a way of inspiring them
The Alumna, Ms. Marion Apio appreciated the Mastercard Foundation for sponsoring her education and giving her a platform through which she can reach out to other underprivileged girls. She heartily thanked her mentors for being patient with her endless ’emergencies’. Marion is the CEO of Girls Alive Uganda, an initiative aimed at addressing the lack of sanitary materials for girls in rural communities as well as Head of the Debunk Show, a programme aimed at fact-checking news reports under the Media Challenge Initiative.
Scholar, Ms. Mukoya a finalist of the Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration. Programme equally expressed her appreciation to the MCFSP, wisely noting that “everyone is a product of mentorship”. She added that mentorship does not only impact the immediate beneficiary but in the long run, helps build a nation. She paid tribute to her mentor for being everything she could have ever asked for in a father.
Prior to delving into her address, the Keynote Speaker Mrs. Opok Tumusiime painted a shocking picture of the state of teenage pregnancy occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.
“As FAWE we undertook a study and what came through is the increase in pregnancy of girls aged ten (10) to twenty-four (24) at 22.5% in the three months of March to June of 2020. And when we were looking at the ten (10) to fourteen (14) year olds, the incidence of pregnancies had increased by 366.5%. This is our country, what are we doing?” she pondered to the hushed audience.
To help prevent this grim reality from getting worse, Mrs. Opok Tumusiime urged participants to actively contribute to the “Protect the Girl, Save the Nation” campaign that was initiated by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni. “As FAWE, we are fundraising and would like to send 2,000 girls back to school.”
Turning to the day’s theme, the Executive Director shared that mentors can become more motivated by;
- Passion: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle” Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO.
- Self discovery through helping others
- Seeking knowledge especially in areas not otherwise known and deep-diving in areas known.
- Fostering close relationship, trust and communication at all levels. Communication is not instruction but ought to be guided by cordiality.
- Being self aware and knowing how to present what needs to be presented.
- Celebrating mentees’ advances (however small) along the journey to attaining the full goal.
Mrs. Opok Tumusiime concluded by urging mentors to be the change they want to see. “You and I are responsible for this country and to make our young people better, and whose potential can be attained.”
Acknowledging the Keynote Speaker’s delivery, Prof. Umar Kakumba emphasised that “it is important for everybody to have a mentor in life, regardless of your age, regardless of what stage you are, even post-retirement, you still need a mentor.”
Sharing his own touching story, Prof. Kakumba paid tribute to the mentor who steered him back to the path of education, when the temptation to drop out of school was intense, despite the fact that his family could afford to meet all the associated costs.
“My mother passed on when I was seven…but even back then, there were many challenges that young people faced staying in school, in my case it had nothing to do with fees, money or provision… but today I am a Professor and Deputy Vice Chancellor thanks to the words of some people that touch our lives.
“One of those people, an old man said to me, ‘young man, your mother may have passed away but it was her heart’s desire that you and your siblings should go to school and get a good education’, I felt that I should share this to make all of us appreciate the role of mentorship” counseled Prof. Kakumba to rousing applause from the audience.
He therefore paid tribute to they symposium organisers for creating a platform where mentors could be honoured and further sharpened through sharing life-changing experiences on mentorship.
“I would therefore like to thank the Mastercard Foundation for the generous support, without which we would not have been here today. I extend special thanks to the Program Implementation Team for the wonderful work done in managing our young people” added Prof. Kakumba.
In the words of the day’s emcee, the Principal Public Relations Officer, Member of the MCFSP Steering Committee and Mentor, Ms. Ritah Namisango, “good mentors never tire or retire”. In appreciation of their tireless efforts, the MCFSP presented certificates to the mentors, who are drawn from the ten colleges of Makerere as well as organisations outside the University. They include; DFCU Bank, FAWE, BRAC Uganda, Refugee Law Project (RLP), Family Life Network (FLN), ACCA Uganda, Africa Careers Network (ACN), among others.
An appreciation award was also presented to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, in recognition of his outstanding and strategic leadership that has enabled the Program Implementation Team to deliver effectively and efficiently.
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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