February 21, 2023


Vice Chancellor opens doors to new partnerships during U.S. Visit

Vice Chancellor on partnership visit in USA

Table of Contents

The visit begins

Uganda Christian University (UCU) continues to expand its reach beyond the African continent, thanks to the recent visit of the Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Professor Aaron Mushengyezi, to the United States.

During the visit courtesy of the Uganda Partners NGO, Prof. Mushengyezi, accompanied by his wife, Maama Patience, held meetings with various educational institutions to establish collaborative academic and research partnerships. The discussions were fruitful, and several U.S. colleges and universities agreed to collaborate with UCU on staff and student exchange, study abroad programs, and research initiatives.

Vice Chancellor at Millersville

Vice Chancellor
Vice Chancellor Prof. Mushenyezi meets President Wubah in Millersville, Pennsylvania.
Vice Chancellor and Uganda Partners board
Prof. Mushengezi (Forefront middle) poses with UCU Partners Board members in Umbridge, Pennsylvania.

Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania, was one of the institutions that agreed to work with UCU. President Daniel A. Wubah and staff of the International Office met with Prof. Mushengyezi and agreed to host UCU staff on scholarly visits and send students to UCU on study abroad programs. Wheaton College in Chicago, Illinois, pledged to provide mentorship training for UCU staff and tutors in the UCU Writing Centre.

Meeting with UCU Partners board

The visit was not limited to educational institutions only. The Vice Chancellor also attended the annual Board meeting of the UCU Partners in Ambridge, Pennsylvania (9th to 11th February 2023), where he thanked the Partners Board and friends of UCU for their continuous support of various projects at the university, the most recent being the UCU School of Medicine and School of Dentistry. Partners, founded by UCU’s first Vice Chancellor, Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll, pledged continued support to UCU. Noll and his wife, Peggy, hosted Prof. and Mrs. Mushengyezi to a dinner at their home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

At Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston, MA

In Boston, Massachusetts, the VC’s team visited the Campus for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, where they discussed possibilities of staff exchange in theological education and African diaspora studies with the Dean of CUME, Rev. Dr. Virginia Ward. The Seminary has trained former UCU staff such as Rev. Amos Kimera, who pastors St. Peters Anglican Church of Uganda in Boston.  Gordon Conwell sends study-abroad students to UCU as well, and the Seminary is willing to host UCU theological staff and students for scholarly visits. Dr. Ward promised to visit UCU for further engagements. 

Vice Chancellor with Virginia Ward rotated e1676812018798
L-R: Prof and Mrs Mushengyezi meet with Dr. Virginia Ward (Middle) and some of the Faculty members including Rev. Amos Kimera (4-R) at CUME in Boston, Massachusetts.

Council for Christian Colleges and Universities

In addition to visits to universities and Colleges, the Vice Chancellor attended the Presidents’ Annual Conference of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) in Washington D.C. from 1st to 3rd February 2023. UCU is an international affiliate member of the CCCU. He held meetings with the CCCU President, Dr. Shirley Hoogstra, and Presidents of other universities and colleges that send study-abroad students to UCU.

CCCU rotated e1676812504129
Prof and Mrs Mushengyezi met with Prof. Shirley V. Hoogstra, President of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), in Washington D.C.

Preaching in Boston, Massachusetts

The VC also visited Truro Anglican Church and Church of the Epiphany in Fairfax, Virginia. Both churches pledged support to various projects and scholarships at UCU through UCU Partners. Prof. Mushengyezi preached at St. Peters Anglican Church of Uganda in Boston where Rev. Kimera, his wife, Florence, and the Parishioners (who are mostly Ugandans), received the team warmly and pledged support to UCU programmes.

Meeting at Epiphany
Kimera and family

Meeting with Bishop of ADNE

At the end of his visit, Prof. Mushengyezi and his wife paid a courtesy call to the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New England (ADNE), the Rt. Rev. Andrew Williams. He pledged to host UCU theology students and scholars to deepen their skills and experience in cross-cultural ministry in his Diocese.

Meeting with Bishop Andrew rotated e1676812943595
Prof and Mrs Mushengyezi pose with the Rt. Rev. Andrew Williams, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of New England (ADNE), during a visit in Amesbury, MA.

UCU’s commitment to international collaboration

The Vice Chancellor’s American visit highlights UCU’s commitment to international collaboration and partnership building. The university is keen to foster relations with like-minded institutions to create opportunities for staff and student development and to advance research and scholarship in various fields.

As UCU continues to expand its network of partners worldwide, it remains committed to providing a world-class education that is rooted in Christian values and principles.

Health Crises and Media Discourses in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Book

New Book: Dralega, C.A., and Napakol, A. (eds). Health Crises and Media Discourses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Springer, Cham.

A Review

This is an open-access book that brings together leading scholars and critical discourses on political, economic, legal, technological, socio-cultural and systemic changes and continuities intersecting media and health crises in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The volume extensively discusses COVID-19 but it also covers other epidemics, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS as well as “silent” health crises such as mental health—simmering across the subcontinent.

The chapters fill knowledge gaps, highlight innovations, and unpack the complexities surrounding the media ecosystem in times of health crises. They explore, among other issues, the politics of public health communication; infodemics; existential threats to media viability; draconian legislations; threats to journalists/journalism; COVID-related entrepreneurship, marginalization, and more.

This is a timely resource for academics, advocacy groups, media practitioners and policymakers working on crises and media reporting, not just in Africa but anywhere in the global South.


…Some African responses on media and health issues are examined in this book by a whole new generation of public health communicators who are homegrown, African graduates, sometimes of international research and training collaborations, who are responding to their own particular national environments. Just as African scholarship and health campaign strategy can positively inform global approaches, the support of the big Northern publishers—in this case, Springer—is just as important. Where the earlier generation cut their teeth on HIV/AIDS, the new generation seems destined to deal with successive and increasingly intense and interrelated crises: health, climate change and environmental degradation. Thus this is one book that can speak intelligently to these issues from the perspective of the Global South. And, the task that they are taking on is herculean.Foreword by Keyan Gray Tomaselli– University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

The book cover and contents can be accessed here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-95100-9

About the Editors


Dr. Carol Azungi Dralega is an Associate Professor and Head of Research at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, NLA University College, Kristiansand, Norway. She holds a Ph.D. in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Oslo, Norway.


Dr. Angella Napakol is a researcher and Senior Lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, Uganda Christian University. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication/Media Studies, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Dr. Bulyaba wins USD 69,630 grant from The World Academy of Sciences

Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba, Head of the Department of Natural Resource Economics and Agribusiness, has won a grant, worth USD 69,630, from The World Academy of Sciences. The grant, focusing on Exploiting the potential of cowpeas for vegetable use in Uganda, will run for two years.

Specific objectives of the study:

  • Evaluate genotypic and phenotypic variation for leafy vegetable attributes in cowpea genotypes
  • Assess consumer preferences of promising cowpea lines (post-harvest storage quality, nutritional, taste & leafy morphological traits)
  • Build capacity at masters level in cowpea crop improvement

Relevance of the proposed research project to the institution and country

In Uganda, 28.9% of children below 5 years are stunted. About 3.6% of children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition, while 1.3% have severe acute malnutrition (Adebisi et al., 2019). Additionally, 28.5% of women aged 15 to 49 years continue to be affected by chronic anemia.

Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba is the Head of Department of Natural Resource Economics and Agribusiness at UCU.

The high protein, amino acid, carbohydrate, soluble and insoluble dietary fiber or expected phytochemical content of cowpea make the crop an important nutritious food in the human diet. Increasing its production and availability through crop improvement is one step towards eradicating food and nutritional insecurity among those vulnerable groups.

This research project funded by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) on cowpea will also build the capacity in cowpea production and cowpea improvement for farmers in Uganda as a whole. This is in addition to supporting and empowering 2 female MS students at Uganda Christian University in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.

Overall, through the research project, the researcher(s) hope to develop the cowpea leafy vegetable value chain while aligning it with the needs of local populations to ensure that there is sustainable access to nutrient-dense and affordable food crops that are also well suited and adapted to their local environments in Uganda.

How conspiracy beliefs affect COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy

By Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 created substantial fear among communities and countries about the future. It seemed to have come from ‘nowhere’ even after China announced its arrival. Many questions arose as to whether it was deliberately created and released by scientists and their allies for some unknown reasons. 

Governments across the globe launched interventions to facilitate the public’s compliance with preventive and mitigative measures, also known as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The measures included physical distancing also known as social distancing, regular handwashing, wearing masks, and vaccination to boost herd immunity

Speculation soon became a common feature of COVID-19, about the cause, the effects, and the people behind it. Theories begun to emerge around these issues. 

Uganda enacted legislations, restrictions, policies and interventions to prevent and mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19. These included, but were not limited to, the Uganda Public Health (Control of COVID – 19) Rules, 2020; guidelines on mass gatherings including social meetings such as burials and weddings; guidelines on meeting at workplaces, guidelines on use of public transport; among others.  

Whereas the world was relieved about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, emergent concerns around safety and effects were prevalent. The concerns and doubts about vaccines were mainly driven by conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccination, sometimes widely shared among the population.  

Conspiracy theories cannot be taken lightly. At Uganda Christian University, Prof. Kukunda Elizabeth Bacwayo, an Associate Prof. of Governance and Development in the School of Social Sciences, with a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues from UCU were awarded a research grant by the university to study how conspiracy beliefs affected COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in Uganda. In a three-year project that covers a large-scale online and physical survey of over 1000 respondents, to be followed by in-depth interviews, the team aims at examining the conspiracy beliefs and their implications for COVID-19 vaccination in Uganda. 

The research is guided by five specific objectives, namely: 

(i) To measure the extent to which conspiracy belief about vaccination against COVID-19 is spread among Ugandans; 

(ii) To establish the relationship between conspiracy belief and vaccination hesitancy in Uganda; 

(iii) To explore the interaction between exposure to COVID-19 conspiracy theories and individual vaccination decisions; 

(iv) To examine the gendered impact of conspiracy belief on vaccination hesitancy; 

(v) To examine how the conspiracy beliefs of adults are likely to affect decision to vaccinate children for COVID-19.  

The researchers note that, whereas in developed countries studies have already established the significant relationship between conspiracy theories and decline in vaccination rates, such studies are very few in developing countries. For instance, Maftei and Holman in 2020, in their study, ‘beliefs in conspiracy theories, intolerance of uncertainty, and moral disengagement during the coronavirus crisis’ highlighted that conspiracy beliefs had significant impact on disobeying the social distancing regulations seeking to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers are aware that in countries like Uganda with a population highly characterized by low education and poor access to information, beliefs in conspiracy theories and impact are expected to be high.  Still, little is known and done to minimize the impact of misinformation on COVID-19 prevention. In addition, with more people owning smartphones, conspiracy theories are likely to flourish as a result of high exposure to various ideas. 

Some of the examples of conspiracy theories include:

  • The belief that the G5 cellular network is responsible for causing COVID-19,
  • Bill Gates’ plan to depopulate the world,
  • Vaccinations having microchips that can be used to monitor behaviour. 
  • Others include the belief that those who get vaccinated will die in a few years, and that the whole COVID-19 pandemic was a political stunt.  

The primary outcome of this study is to understand how conspiracy beliefs affect the individual willingness to get vaccinated. Findings from this study could be used to improve on the efforts geared towards pro-vaccine attitudes and interest in COVID-19 vaccination. The main outcome will be a change in behavior towards vaccination for COVID-19 despite the existence of conspiracy theories and management of future vaccination drives.

The research has gone through both institutional and national ethical clearance processes. The first phase has been completed and will soon be made public. 

UCU partners with German-based universities on renewable energy and more

KTN Factory

By Jimmy Siyasa

“Renewables are by far the cheapest form of power today,” once remarked Francesco La Camera, the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This is a fact. Not only that, but they are also the most eco-friendly forms of energy humanity can have today.

We live in a time where the ecosystem is under daily attack; being sacrificed on the altar of development/industrialization, and needs a “saviour”.

An April 2022 study this year by the World Economic Forum found that by 2020, only a slight “9% of all energy generated in Africa came from renewable sources,” yet the continent has massive potential to be a leading player in the global renewable energy sector.

Germany: Prof. Mushengyezi meets with the President of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences, Prof. Uta Feser, and the Vice President for Internationalization, Prof. Elmar Steurer.

In response to this challenge, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has embarked on the pursuit of partnerships, especially with various institutions of higher learning in big-player countries regarding renewables. The latest are German-based universities.

Early this week, the UCU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, met with the President of Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU), Prof. Uta Feser, and the Vice President for Internationalization, Prof. Elmar Steurer, in Germany. They discussed the possibility of joint projects, among other mutual pursuits.

Prof. Mushengyezi and Prof. Feser also agreed to renew the partnership agreement focusing on research and student exchange.

UCU and HNU have been implementing a project on renewable energy (solar project) in the Koome Islands, led by Dr. Miria Agunyo, Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Kizito, Dr. Stephen Kyakulumbye and Dr. Jeremy Waiswa; who are all UCU researchers and some senior academic administrators.

The solar power project named the “Implementation of Solar Mini-Grids for Digital Learning Models in the Rural Areas of Uganda,” seeks to provide access to reliable electricity and clean energy for the islanders who have known darkness for years.

The UCU team also visited Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences in Munich. It specializes in agriculture-related disciplines and renewable energy. Discussions with the university management focused on the possibilities of partnerships in agricultural, food science, and renewable energy areas. Thereafter, the UCU toured the KTN Factory, based in Bavaria, Germany. It is one of the industry partners of HNU.

  • Prof. Mushengyezi exchanges a gift with Prof. UFeser,
  • KTN FactoryUCU team visiting KTN Factory, one of the industry partners with HNU.