By Michael Mubangizi
Uganda Christian University (UCU) and the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at harnessing their collective strength to save lives, serve communities, and improve documentation and knowledge sharing.
The signing took place at UCU main campus in Mukono with UCU Vice Chancellor Rev. Canon Dr. John Senyonyi and URCS Secretary General Mr. Robert Kwesiga as principal signatories to the MoU. The MoU establishes a collaborative relationship in the area of operational research for evidence based programming, knowledge transfer through capacity building trainings, staff and student placements, field work support and other development programs of mutual interest to the two institutions.
Under the agreement, UCU is to create avenues for her students and staff to support the URCS emergency health interventions such as blood donation exercises aimed at saving lives of those at risk. It is also to place students/fellows for experiential learning with URCS, carry out research for URCS and avail any academic related research information that it deems necessary for programme and project planning in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences to URCS.
On the other hand, URCS is to second staff to undertake trainings in SWASA at Masters and Post graduate levels and other relevant disciplines at UCU, participate and facilitate Public Lectures at the UCU Faculty of Social Sciences, recommend guest lecturers to support the development of the Faculty’s Knowledge resources in the field of Peace, Conflict, Human rights, Disaster Management among other fields of Humanities and Social Work. It is also to offer avenues for field work for students and lecturers as part of building capacity for the Faculty of Social Sciences–at UCU and offer First Aid and Ambulance / Emergency Health Services at UCU functions among other services.
Citing the participation of UCU students and staff in community-centered activities such as the quarterly UCU health awareness week, vaccination campaigns, offering pro-bono services and volunteering as interns in various community organisations, UCU’s Rev. Canon Dr. Senyonyi said that, “It will thus not be difficult for us to mobilise the UCU community to embrace and support the Uganda Red Cross Society emergency health interventions such as the regular blood donations exercises aimed at saving lives of those at risk.”
He also assured the URCS of quality staff and students once it opens up its doors to receive and work with them for internship, volunteer and work opportunities, “UCU graduates have been ranked as the second best in graduate employability in the country. This is because of a long-term built track record of professionalism, character, discipline and integrity that are synonymous with the UCU brand.”
On his part, Mr. Robert Kwesiga, the Secretary General, said that the MoU cements an existing relationship given that URCS has already been offering internship and jobs to UCU students and graduates and UCU has also been receiving URCS staff as guest lecturers.
Mr. Kwesiga added that URCS has had limited engagement with the academia which gap, the MoU fills. “Documenting our work, best practices, lessons learnt and how they feed into the academia and knowledge sharing has been rather weak.” The MoU is valid for an initial period of three years effective the date of signing and subject to renewal upon consent of the two parties. Also in attendance during the signing ceremony is the Dean Faculty of Social Sciences, Assoc. Prof. Mary Ssonko Nabacwa. Her faculty is the lead implementer of the MoU on behalf of UCU.