February 3, 2022

Day

UCU partners with Japan-based University

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Japan-based Tokyo Christian University (TCU). This marks the beginning of an unprecedented collaboration between the two universities, which will from now onward conduct joint research and exchange programmes for both students and staff, as part of the terms of the agreement.

The bilateral agreement is part of UCU’s commitment to research and partnership with both national and international universities and other non-academic, but relevant organizations.

“ We want to partner with more universities in Europe and Asia such that our students get as much exposure as possible to other environments and cultures,” said the UCU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Aaron Mushengyezi, upon signing the agreement.

According to the document co-signed by Dr. Randall Short, Vice President of International Affairs at Tokyo Christian University, the MoU will also include, among others: participation in seminars, innovations, meetings, exchange of students, academic materials and special short-term academic programs.

Pamela Tumwebaze, Head of Department of the UCU Honors College says the collaboration between the two universities is easily most beneficial to students, since they are the major stakeholders of the two signatories. “Through the exchange programme, our students will get the opportunity to travel and study in Japan in the same way Japanese students will come and study from UCU,” Pamela said.

The MoU between UCU and TCU is one of many partnerships the University is establishing with notable national and international organizations.

UCU nursing alumna eager to ‘save lives’ and support family

By Yasiri J. Kasango
In 2017, when Hope Kyomugisha got admitted to Uganda Christian University (UCU), she was not sure how she would pay her tuition fees. With hope and a prayer, she made the trip to the university to pick up her admission letter.

To her surprise, she did not return home with only the admission letter. While at the university campus, Kyomugisha learned of a scholarship available through the Uganda Partners, a USA-based organization that seeks material and spiritual support for UCU students through sponsorship.

Kyomugisha was fortunate enough to get the grant, which enabled her to pursue her Bachelors of Nursing Science course.

The 24-year-old was among the 25 students who received a Bachelor of Nursing Science at UCU’s 22nd graduation ceremony on October 22, 2021.

Kyomugisha on graduation day on October 22, 2021.
Kyomugisha on graduation day on October 22, 2021.

“This degree means a lot to me and my family because I am now going to get employment to be able to support myself and them,” Kyomugisha says. “I badly needed the scholarship because the tuition fee was high and my parents had other children they were paying tuition for.”

Her excellent performance earlier in her education journey, she says, played a key role in her winning the Uganda Partners scholarship. Partners took the responsibility of paying sh2,104,000/= (about $590) for her tuition and sh1,200,000/= ($338) for her hostel fees, during the four years of her study at UCU.

The 24-year-old says she was deliberate about her choice of the university. Since Kyomugisha said she was looking for an institution that was offering Christian-centered learning and building a good character of the students, UCU was the natural choice.

She says UCU is a good learning environment. “The atmosphere offers a favourable environment for concentration and learning,” she says.

Kyomugisha’s elder sister, Deborah Namanya, also is a nurse. It is Namanya who inspired Kyomugisha to pursue the nursing course. The UCU graduate says she would always admire the grace with which Namanya and her classmates carried themselves at the Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery in Kampala.

Kyomugisha dreams of becoming a nursing educator so she can train more people into the profession. However, before she achieves that dream, she hopes to first pursue a diploma course in health management and leadership, to make her more formidable in health administration.

Kyomugisha during her internship
Kyomugisha during her internship

Kyomugisha hopes to devote part of her energies in advocating the rights of expectant mothers in Uganda because she feels not all of them receive the recommended adequate care.

Kyomugisha’s entrance into medical practice was somewhat a baptism of fire. At the height of the spread of the coronavirus in Uganda, Kyomugisha, who had just started her internship as a nursing trainee, came face to face with what it meant to treat patients who had contracted Covid-19.

She says the experience was so terrifying to her and her parents, especially given the fact that the country was also losing medical practitioners to the pandemic. 

Background
Kyomugisha is the second of six children of Boaz and Agatha Natumanya. She was born and raised in Sheema district, western Uganda. Kyomugisha went to Ishaka Town School for her primary education and then Bweranyangi Girls School for secondary education. From Senior One to Six, Kyomugisha studied on a half bursary at Bweranyangi Girls School. She says the school offered her the bursary because of her impressive academic performance.

How Masagazi’s missing name was restored on graduation list

By Michael Kisekka
Sh500,000 (about $140). That was the amount of money standing between Alvin Masagazi and his degree at Uganda Christian University (UCU). And Masagazi was not even aware that the debt existed. Unaware of a problem, he was preparing for graduation.

Alvin Masagazi in nursing uniform during internship (Courtesy photo)
Alvin Masagazi in nursing uniform during the internship (Courtesy photo)

“I was bewildered about how this had happened because I thought all my tuition was covered fully,” Masagazi, who joined UCU’s nursing program in 2017, says. “I couldn’t believe my name was not on the graduation list.”  

He was even more shocked with the debt because he was on a government scholarship scheme that was meant to cover his tuition for all four years that he was to spend at the university. Somehow, he had the debt. And he had to pay it.

“I desperately needed the money, but my parents were not financially stable at the time the graduation lists were released,” Masagazi says, adding that he did not have anyone else to help secure the money. 

Masagazi’s hope was fading; his heart was breaking. His parents were not in a position to rescue him. Then, a friend told him about the United States-based UCU Partners, a non-profit charitable organization committed to raising support for UCU programs, services, staff and students. The UCU Financial Aid Office had advertised about how the NGO could help, calling for applications from students who were due for graduation, but were financially distressed and had outstanding tuition balances. 

When he applied for the tuition top-up, Masagazi was successful. On October 22, 2021, he joined 24 other people to receive the Bachelor of Nursing Science degree at UCU’s 22nd graduation ceremony.

He says the kind of generosity displayed by UCU Partners is something he wants to play out in his own life. 

“When God grants me the resources, I also aspire to do the same for students who find themselves caught up in similar circumstances,” he said.

With the degree, Masagazi is confident he will be able to fulfill his passion of “saving lives”

Nurse Alvin Masagazi on graduation day (Courtesy photo)
Nurse Alvin Masagazi on graduation day (Courtesy photo)

at the health facilities where he will serve while supporting himself and a family. First, he does a mandatory one-year internship program in a hospital.

“I am really excited and optimistic for what the future holds for me,” he said.

During his four-year academic journey at UCU, Masagazi practiced photography and was a student leader in charge of health in the university (2019). 

“My love for nursing and helping people got me into that position in the cabinet and I worked hard to help and improve the health services during my term of office,” he says.

Masagazi is the firstborn of four children of Sam Lwanga and Christine Itetsire. He was born and raised in Gayaza, central Uganda. He attended City Parents School and Mugwanya Preparatory School for his primary education and then Buddo Secondary School for his secondary education. All three schools are found in central Uganda. 

For the six years at Buddo, for both O’level and A’level, Masagazi was on a scholarship because of his talent in music and sports.