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Strengthening the Network of KAS Scholarship Holders and Alumni

Networking Meeting of Current Scholarship Holders and Alumni

For more than a decade the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) has been giving out scholarships for distance learning programmes at the Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) in the fields of Democracy and Development Studies and Local Governance for students from Uganda and South Sudan. The meeting of current scholarship holders and alumni was held to improve the communication between the scholarship holders and KAS as well as building a stronger network among scholarship holder and alumni.

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After some short welcoming remarks by Anna Hoffmann, KAS, she invited Prof. Dr. Max Ngabirano, Head of Department for Democracy and Development Studies as well as Local Governance and Human Rights, to talk to the audience. He introduced some of the changes which had been made by UMU to improve the distance learning programmes. Moreover, he announced that the university was working towards reaching international standards of their distance learning programme by the end of next year.

Dr. Ngabirano emphasized the unique programmes of Democracy and Development Studies as well as Local Governance and Human Rights which UMU is offering. The option of distance learning built capacities for young leaders to implement democratic principles, human rights and good governance while working in civil society, administration or government.

Following that, Isaac Mugera, District Information Officer at Kalangala District and Alumnus of the KAS Scholaship Programme, gave a short speech on the importance of his KAS scholarship. He graduated in 2013 with a M.A. in Local Governance and Human Rights and gained knowledge in the fields of governance, democracy and public private partnership. According to him, it helped him in his work as information officer and he was also able to enrich the work of his colleagues in sharing his knowledge with them. Due to his studies, he was able to engage in a journalism platform and use his knowledge outside work. He was very grateful for the opportunity KAS gave him and he was willing to play a big role in the KAS Alumni Network.

To have a view and feedback from a current scholarship holder, Christine Turibamwe, Research Assistant under the Chief Justice, gave a short speech on how the M.A. of Local Governance and Human Rights enriched her personal life, career, and the community. She highlighted the importance of gaining new friends through her studies and the opportunity of sharing ideas with people who wanted to make a difference in the Ugandan society.

After that, Ms. Hoffmann gave a short introduction and background of the scholarship programme, before she introduced mechanisms to improve the communication between the scholarship holders and KAS. She presented a document which shows the responsibilities of a scholarship holder and which should be followed by all beneficiaries of the KAS scholarship programme. A reporting template is used to hand in results regularly and report on the process of studies. Moreover, she introduced a newly invented newsletter to keep scholarship holders and alumni updated and use it as tool to share ideas or publications of scholarship holders. The current edition of the newsletter can be found here.

To clarify some of the concerns participants had raised during the meeting, Dr. Ngabirano answered questions on administrative issues before the audience continued discussing on how to form a lively network among scholarship holders and alumni. Participants agreed on establishing a WhatsApp group and a Facebook page to exchange ideas, publications and other relevant information. Both platforms will be managed by Isaac Mugera. To support the KAS-team in drafting a regularly published newsletter, a committee was created. The committee should ensure more input from the scholarship holder’s side.

Towards the end of the workshop, Mr. Mathias Kamp some closing remarks in which he emphasized that KAS was looking at its scholarship holders and alumni as an elite and integral part of the KAS-family. He noted that KAS was willing to offer more for the scholarship holders and working on hosting more training workshops and regular meetings. This meant by implication that KAS was demanding more from its scholarship holders and therefore a stronger participation was needed. He motivated the participants to handing in ideas and feedback to enrich the KAS programme in Uganda.

Together with Dr. Ngabirano, Mr. Kamp handed over the scholarship contracts to the new scholarship holders of 20155. We warmly welcome Racheal Okuja, Teopista Kizza, Bernard Okello, Loru Moses Nangiru King and Ronald Tumusiime to the KAS scholarship programme.

Author: Nele Krüger, KAS Intern

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