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Sustainable Development Goals publication

UCU Professor Omona and 3 Scholars from Kenya and Zimbabwe Co-author Remarkable Publication in Sustainable Development Goals Series

The Rev. Assoc. Prof. David Andrew Omona, a scholar at Uganda Christian University (UCU) and three other academics have co-edited a book that was recently published under Springer Nature’s inaugural Sustainable Development Goals Series.

The book titled Religion, Climate Change and Food Security in Africa examines how and the extent to which religion in Africa serves a resource in responding to the Sustainable Development Goals 13 (action on climate change) and 2 (achieve zero hunger, food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture).

The other editors of the book include Loreen Maseno ( Senior Lecturer, Department of Religion, Theology and Philosophy at Maseno University, Kenya), Ezra Chitando ( University of Zimbabwe) and Sophia Chirongoma ( Midland State University, Zimbabwe).

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There is a growing realization that the earth is clearly warming at a worrying pace. Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) indicates that climate change is an existential crisis, while Goal 2 seeks to achieve Zero Hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. Climate change has far-reaching effects for agriculture and other livelihood activities which ensure the availability, suitability, distribution, and accessibility of food.

In the midst of the war in Ukraine and its ripple effect on food prices, it is therefore urgent to interrogate how and to what extent religion in Africa serves as a resource (or confounding factor) in responding to Sustainable Development Goals 13 (action on climate change) and 2 (achieve Zero Hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture).

The themes in this book are approached from diverse disciplinary and methodological angles to cover four main aspects: first, to probe the potential role of religion in Africa in accelerating the achievement of these two SDGs. Second, to problematize the influence of religion and the challenges it poses toward responding to the climate emergency and the elimination of hunger in Africa.

Third, to approach the religions of Africa in their plurality, guaging their strategic significance in light of the two emergencies. Fourth, to probe religious teachings, practices, personalities, and institutions in Africa in the wake of SDGs 13 and 2 as they wrestle with the interplay among religion, climate change, and the dimensions of food security in Africa.

About the Sustainable Development Goals Series

The Sustainable Development Goal Series is Springer Nature’s inaugu­ral cross-imprint book series that addresses and supports the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals.

The series fosters comprehensive research focused on these global targets and endeavours to address some of society’s greatest grand challenges. The SDGs are inher­ently multidisciplinary, and they bring people working across different fields together and working towards a common goal.

In this spirit, the Sustainable Development Goals series is the first at Springer Nature to publish books under both the Springer and Palgrave Macmillan imprints, bringing the strengths of our imprints together.

The Sustainable Development Goals Series is organized into eighteen subseries: one subseries based around each of the seventeen respective Sustainable Development Goals, and an eighteenth subseries, “Connecting the Goals”, which serves as a home for volumes addressing multiple goals or studying the SDGs as a whole. Each subseries is guided by an expert Subseries Advisor with years or decades of experience studying and addressing core components of their respective Goal.

About Prof. Omona

The Rev. Assoc. Prof. David Andrew Omona is Dean of the UCU School of Social Sciences and an Associate Professor of Ethics and International Relations at Uganda Christian Christian University. His research interests are in Ethics and International Relations. Currently he is engaged in researching on climate change, as an ethical issue that has affected humanity globally. He has done substantial work on peace and security at international level. He therefore, looks forward to get people of like minds for collaborative research experience in his area of expertise.(More About Assoc. Prof. Omona)


American at UCU to receive honorary doctorate from Dartmouth

The honorary degree recipients at Dartmouth’s June 9 Commencement will be, clockwise from top left: Roger Federer, the Commencement speaker; Mira Murati, Thayer ’12; Paul Nakasone; Richard Ranger ’74; Roy Vagelos; Mung Chiang; Joy Buolamwini; Liz Cheney; and, center, John Urschel.

Dartmouth College, of Hanover, New Hampshire, USA, has announced that it will award Richard Ranger, missionary lecturer in Business and Law at Uganda Christian University (UCU), an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters at the College’s 253rd Commencement on June 9.

Each year, a member of the Dartmouth 50th reunion class is chosen to receive this award in recognition of service to the Dartmouth community and the broader world. Richard, a member of Dartmouth’s Class of 1974 that will celebrate its 50th Reunion in June, has been selected for this year’s honor.

Richard Ranger with members of the 2022 UCU-Dartmouth solar water heating project team (Phase 1). From left are Shalom Mukami, UCU Engineering ‘23; Veronica Yarovinsky, Dartmouth ’24; Richard; Daniel Tumusiime UCU Engineering ’22; Dr. Stephen Doig, faculty advisor and Senior Research and Strategy Advisor at the Irving Institute for Energy and Society, and Dartmouth ’82, Dartmouth ’24; Noah Daniel, Dartmouth ‘23; Ethan Aulwes, Dartmouth ’22.
Richard Ranger with members of the 2022 UCU-Dartmouth solar water heating project team (Phase 1). From left are Shalom Mukami, UCU Engineering ‘23; Veronica Yarovinsky, Dartmouth ’24; Richard; Daniel Tumusiime UCU Engineering ’22; Dr. Stephen Doig, faculty advisor and Senior Research and Strategy Advisor at the Irving Institute for Energy and Society, and Dartmouth ’82, Dartmouth ’24; Noah Daniel, Dartmouth ‘23; Ethan Aulwes, Dartmouth ’22.

Each year prospective honorary degree recipients—scholars, artists, innovators, public servants, philanthropists, and others who have made extraordinary contributions to their respective fields and society at large—are nominated by members of the Dartmouth community. The confidential nominations are reviewed by the Council on Honorary Degrees, which selects the honorands in consultation with the president and the Board of Trustees.

In addition to Richard Ranger, this year’s recipients are: 

  • Joy Buolamwini, a computer scientist, artist, and founder of the Algorithmic Justice League;
  • Liz Cheney, former U.S. representative from Wyoming and vice chair of the House Jan. 6 committee;
  • Mung Chiang, president of Purdue University;
  • Commencement speaker Roger Federer, philanthropist and former tennis champion;
  • Mira Murati, Thayer ’12, chief technology officer of OpenAI;
  • Paul Nakasone, retired director of the National Security Agency and commander, U.S. Cyber Command;
  • John Urschel, a mathematician and former Baltimore Ravens guard; and 
  • Roy Vagelos, philanthropist and retired chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. and retired chairman of Regeneron

At UCU along with his wife, Catherine, Richard serves as a missionary with the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders (SAMS), based in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, USA. Prior to coming to UCU in 2020, Richard spent 43 years as a negotiator, environmental compliance manager, and community and government relations specialist in the oil and gas industry in the western United States, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. From that background, he now lectures in business and law at UCU. Dartmouth’s announcement describes this second career as reflecting “his lifelong commitment to service, his faith, and his sense of adventure.”

“I am humbled beyond belief at this award,” Richard says. “As many who know me know, I am deeply loyal to Dartmouth and to the education that I was blessed with there, and the gift of so many friendships from the Dartmouth community. As someone who has served my class as its Newsletter Editor for some 40 years, I know the many stories of achievement, character, and conscience that distinguish our class. Such a recognition could easily have gone to any of a number of my classmates and have been richly deserved. That it is coming to me is a gift beyond measure.”

Catherine and Richard Ranger during a July 2023 trip to Biharamulo and Maleba, Tanzania
Catherine and Richard Ranger during a July 2023 trip to Biharamulo and Maleba, Tanzania

Richard adds: “As a missionary, I’m also very conscious of the fact that it’s a rare missionary who is awarded an honorary degree. The four years we have spent in the company of people serving in mission and serving the needs of a broken world in so many ways have introduced us not just to colleagues, but to true heroes. I’m reminded of this every day here at UCU, which was initially founded by a missionary minister as a seminary, who got here to Uganda by walking from the Indian Ocean coast.”

At UCU, alongside UCU colleagues, Richard has taught Corporate Governance and Business Ethics in the School of Business, and Oil and Gas Law in the Faculty of Law. 

Along with Catherine, Richard has served as a mentor for individual students. Together they host a weekly cell fellowship from the patio of their campus Tech Park apartment. And for the past two years, Richard has served as site coordinator for installation of a solar thermal water heating system for the campus dining hall – a joint effort by engineering students from Dartmouth and from UCU. 

Richard Ranger lecturing in the UCU Corporate Governance and Business Ethics course for the Accounting and Finance students, 2023
Richard Ranger lecturing in the UCU Corporate Governance and Business Ethics course for the Accounting and Finance students, 2023

 “To have seen students from the two universities work together and build together across frontiers of distance and culture is simply the most rewarding job I have ever had,” Richard said. 

As a person of faith, he gives any glory for the Dartmouth award to God,  adding appreciation for the opportunity to serve at UCU. 

“Not everyone is in such a position,” he said.  “Our hope is that the highlighting of our story through the award Dartmouth is giving me will lead others to ask whether and how they might serve. Because it’s possible – and because in a broken world our hearts, hands, and talents are needed.”

Richard said he is “blessed to be able to do this work in a place that I love, in the company of the woman I love, among Ugandan friends”  in a place that “challenges us to learn every day.”

“To have an honorary degree from my alma mater on top of all of that is an incredible blessing,” he said. 


Young creatives demonstrate projects at career exhibition

Uganda Christian University (UCU) Honors College recently collaborated with Usanii Village-Africa, a non-governmental organization, the UCU Directorate of Student Affairs, and the university’s 26th Guild Government to conduct a career exhibition. Themed “Navigating Horizons; a Journey Through Diverse Careers,” the exhibition, held at the UCU main campus in Mukono, was intended to showcase ideas from different faculties and schools, in addition to linking the students to industry players. The Faculty of Engineering, Design, and Technology was recognized as the top exhibitor, with the School of Business and the School of Law following in that order. Partners Intern Kefa Senoga talked to some exhibitors.

Atwiine Barinaba demonstrating his art skills.
Atwiine Barinaba demonstrating his art skills.

I use the proceeds from the sale of the art pieces to support myself at school. The cost of the art pieces ranges from sh10,000 (about $2.6) to as high as sh2.5million (about $644). The business of selling art is not one where someone can depend solely since the money does not come in every day.

Art can also be a service. For example, it would be a better option to hire an artist to perform the work of interior design, rather than one without any knowledge of art. I have also started private classes for children, so I can teach them the subject of art outside the classroom setting.

Okot Innocent, Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Okot Innocent, Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering

The technologies we’re exhibiting represent clean cooking solutions. Among the technologies is a stove that utilizes bi-ethanol, derived from fermented starch-producing foods like sugarcane waste, maize and sorghum. It’s considered a sustainable clean-cooking method because we get the bi-ethanol without burning charcoal or cutting down trees.

When bi-ethanol is poured into this stove, it produces a blue or luminous smokeless flame, which is ideal for cooking. By using this stove, we not only decrease reliance on burning fuels, but also mitigate gas emissions, contributing to a cleaner environment.

We are also exhibiting a gasifier, another cooking technology, where you can put in your biomass, for example charcoal, wood or briquettes. This technology produces some soot or smoke, but it is thin. When this smoke goes out, it mixes with the clean air, but the effect is less because it’s thin, with fewer particles or pollutants.

Michael Ainomugisha conducts an interview for his podcasts.
Michael Ainomugisha conducts an interview for his podcasts.

We have fruits in our stall because we can’t talk about fitness without talking about nutrition. Fruits are an essential component in ensuring a healthy and fit body. In our community, many eateries do not include fruits on their menu. We, however, prioritize the inclusion of fruits as we preach the gospel of fitness

As the UCU Fitness Club, we support our members to access their essential fruits. We support students on different fitness endeavors – some people come to us with a request to reduce their weight, while others just want to keep fit.

Our club works with different organizations to foster holistic health like mental, physical and spiritual, among their employees. Currently, our activities are primarily conducted at the main campus, but we intend to expand our presence to other university campuses in the near future.

Michael Ainomugisha conducts an interview for his podcasts.
Michael Ainomugisha conducts an interview for his podcasts.

I am showcasing an innovation of a podcast, which is best explained as an audio storytelling platform, for issues to do with mental health.

Last year, when the New Vision newspaper published an article stating that 14 million Ugandans were affected by mental health issues, they did not delve deeper into the specific impact of that on the youth. In the Ainomugisha Podcast, there’s an episode titled “Life Experiences,” where youth openly share how they overcome mental health challenges.

I once interviewed a woman who shared her journey of using alcohol as a coping mechanism to forget the challenges she was facing at the time. She also explained to us how she managed to stop taking alcohol. Subsequently, she started a sobriety platform. Our podcast aims to share such experience to inspire others who could be facing similar challenges.

Byaruhanga Joshua Morris, Bachelor of Laws
Byaruhanga Joshua Morris, Bachelor of Laws

As the School of Law, we created a user-friendly “UCU Law” app to help both legal professionals and the laypeople. The app is intended to make it easier to draft tenancy agreements and to access legal documents in text and audio format, including statutes, acts, laws and cases.

We chose tenancy agreements because it affects a majority of Ugandans who are either owners of property or tenants in the properties they occupy. Processing a tenancy agreement on the app only requires entering the necessary information requested on the portal, such as name, address, and contact details, among others.

The developers created the app with students in mind, since many of them seek accommodation in hostels outside the university. The other advantage that can be accrued from using the app is access to a statute board that allows students to easily access the statutes through the platform. 

The app, which is available for free access through the UCU International Humanitarian Law blog, also provides audio cases, which law students can take advantage in their course. 

Dickson Tumuramye, head of the Honors College at UCU

According to Tumuramye, they organized the exhibition to provide a platform for students with different innovations.

“Since we are in an era of innovations and employment, this was an opportunity for the students to showcase their work to potential employers who could either hire them or offer them placements for internship opportunities,” Tumuramye says.

He added that the organizers wanted to showcase what UCU students can do. 


No more stains for girls in northeastern Uganda

By Irene Best Nyapendi
At Kalotom Primary School in northeastern Uganda, Patricia (full identity withheld) started her menstrual cycle with no knowledge what the blood discharge was about and that it had stained her skirt. The girl, age 14, was not only confused but shattered emotionally by classmates who mocked her. 

Gerald Emmanuel Abura, the brains behind the “Pad a Girl” initiative
Gerald Emmanuel Abura, the brains behind the “Pad a Girl” initiative

“I was in class when I heard the girls and boys laughing at me, saying my dress was stained,” Patricia said. “I didn’t know. When I saw the blood, I felt embarrassed. Tears just flowed down my cheeks.”

At home, Patricia’s mother says she has no money to buy her daughter sanitary pads. As a result, the teen resorts to catching the discharge with old pieces of cloth. On days when the flow is too heavy, she stays away from school, hence missing class. 

Patricia is not alone. Hers is a story of many. 

Elizabeth (full identity withheld), a Senior Four student at St. Daniel Comboni in Napak District, also uses old pieces of cloth.   

On days when Elizabeth runs out of cloth, she relies on more frequent bathing. Additionally, for her, this first period marked the onset of a battle against cultural pressure to be a woman – get married, have babies. This, she is told, is a solution to the embarrassment of bleeding and no money to afford pads.

To finance her education but not pads, Elizabeth brews and sells local alcohol.

“My friends always tell me to get a boyfriend who will buy me pads,” Elizabeth said. “Sometimes it gets really hard and it hurts when I don’t have any spare clothes to use.” 

Students of Matany Primary listening to the UCU team
Students of Matany Primary listening to the UCU team

Lillian, a pupil at Matany Primary School in Napak, has relied on pieces of cloth from her mother’s old bed sheets every time she’s in her periods.  When the periods of the 16-year-old start unexpectedly at school, she ties a sweater around her waist and immediately returns home. 

The stories of Lillian, Elizabeth and Patricia exemplify the silent suffering of many adolescent girls for whom poverty denies the basic dignity of menstrual hygiene.

A 2020 report by Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports says one out of every four girls aged 12 to 18 drops out of school upon the onset of menstruation, leading to the increase in absenteeism rates from 7% to 28% during their menstrual cycle.

Jackline Atim, the Deputy Headteacher of Matany Primary School, is a witness to the harsh reality faced by adolescent girls.

“It is a common thing here for girls to lack pads,” Atim said. “Desperation drives some of them to consider dropping out.”

However, amidst this suffering, somehow, Good

A pupil shows off a pad she received from the UCU team
A pupil shows off a pad she received from the UCU team

Samaritans, once in a while, provide hope. One example was the recent visit to the area by students of Uganda Christian University (UCU) under the “Pad a Girl” initiative. This initiative helps financially-stressed girls in their menstrual periods stay in school by providing for them and teaching them how to make reusable sanitary towels.

Led by Gerald Emmanuel Abura, a UCU student pursuing Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration, the initiative was borne by the experience that Abura’s female classmate faced many years ago.

“My friend got up from her seat, and little did she know that her skirt was stained,” Abura narrates. “I was in shock when other students started laughing at her, instead of helping her.”

Abura’s friend didn’t return to school again. 

On March 22, Abura and 26 other UCU students visited three schools in northeastern Uganda — Matany Primary School, St. Daniel Comboni Secondary School and Kalotom Primary School. For this outreach, UCU provided transport and contributed towards meals and accommodation for the team that traveled to northeastern Uganda.

A UCU student donating household items to members of the community
A UCU student donating household items to members of the community

They taught both teachers and students how to make reusable pads, and also distributed the materials for making pads. The outreach also involved lessons on the law, menstrual health and the importance of education

The students distributed 600 reusable pads and 768 packets of disposable pads, ensuring that no girl misses school due to lack of a sanitary towel.  The charity benefited more than 300 students, over 100 community members, including 41 widows, and more than 100 church members. 

Irene Nabwire Ojambo, UCU’s head of the Counseling Department, said the “Pad a Girl” initiative extends beyond supplying pads. The initiative teaches girls how to track their menstrual cycles, empowering them to take control of their health and education.

Miriam Teko, one of the teachers at Kalotom Primary School, said: “Some parents do not provide for their children. I’m so grateful to UCU students who have given our students pads.” 

Grace Agape Asiimah, a final-year student of Bachelor of Laws at UCU, used the opportunity to teach the students about their rights. “You have a right to education. Don’t work when you should be in school.”

The UCU students also reached out to the members of the community, distributing shoes, clothes, and other household items. 

Asiimah Onyang Lillian, a mother struggling to make ends meet after her husband abandoned her, expressed gratitude for the support received.

“Every day is a struggle for survival, but thanks to the UCU students, who have given me clothes, pads, soap and sugar,” she said. “I feel blessed amidst my hardships.”

Last year, the “Pad a Girl” initiative was in Buikwe, central Uganda, for the same purpose. This year’s campaign was funded by Period Equity, Kisoboka Africa – It’s possible, Compassion Uganda, UCU students and staff.


UCU emerges best exhibitor at Uganda universities fair for sixth consecutive year

By Irene Best Nyapendi
For the sixth year in a row, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has emerged as the overall “Best Exhibitor” among both public and private universities in Uganda. This year’s fair, which is the first to be held outside Kampala, attracted more than 100 exhibitors. The exhibition, in its 14th year, took place from March 21-23 at the UCU Mbale University College.  

The first runner-up was the University of Kisubi, followed by Mountains of the Moon University.

The award that UCU received as Best Exhibitor.
The award that UCU received as Best Exhibitor.

Held under the theme “Fostering Graduate Employability and Innovations,” the exhibition was organized by the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), the body mandated to regulate and guide the establishment and management of higher education institutions as well as regulating the quality of higher education, equating qualifications and advising government on higher education matters. 

Among the innovations at the UCU stall was the print version of the Ebenezer, an annual publication of stories for and about UCU. Last year’s Ebenezer was produced as a partnership between the UCU Public Relations office and the Uganda Partners, an NGO based in the USA.

Denis Omvia, the chief judge at the exhibition, outlined the criteria for selecting winners, emphasizing alignment of stalls with the exhibition’s theme, level of innovation, participation, knowledge, articulation, number of stalls and stall presentation.

Prof. Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya, the Chairperson of NCHE, commended UCU for its impeccable facilities and the support the university offered in hosting the exhibition. 

“I thank UCU for the investment you put in to ensure that this event is successful and for hosting us in these fantastic gardens of yours,” Katunguka, also the Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University in Uganda, said. “This is the first time I come to UCU and I’m impressed.” 

He emphasized that NCHE’s current challenge is how to turn student innovations into viable enterprises, stressing the need for national mechanisms to support innovation.

“Our challenge is helping students scale their innovations into small and medium enterprises, enabling them to profit from their ideas and contribute to national development,” he said.

UCU computing students showcase 'Virtual Tourism' projects.
UCU computing students showcase ‘Virtual Tourism’ projects.

The Guest of Honor, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East Africa Community Affairs in Uganda’s Cabinet, lauded the decision to host the exhibition outside Kampala. She emphasized the need for financial support for research and innovation, acknowledging the role of government funding in fostering development.

“Having gone through the stalls, I have seen a lot of innovation but they need money to research and help them improve their products and protect their innovations,” Kadaga said. 

Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the Vice Chancellor of UCU, expressed pleasure at the opportunity to host the exhibition in Mbale.

“It is a joy for us to be able to host NCHE on our grounds,” Mushengyezi said. “I thank NCHE for giving us the honor to be the hosts of the first regional exhibition.” 

Mushengyezi seized the opportunity to urge the government to extend research grants to private universities. He highlighted the need for equitable opportunities in research funding, regardless of institutional status. Currently, in Uganda, only public universities are considered for government research grants.

“We request the government to include private universities in the competition for research grants,” Mushengyezi said. “Because we have much to contribute to the country’s development.”

Children engage in Virtual Reality Adventures at the UCU computing stall
Children engage in Virtual Reality Adventures at the UCU computing stall

David Mugawe, the UCU Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, urged participants to ensure that the exhibition’s outcomes translate into tangible actions.

“We thank you NCHE for trusting us and we are glad that you are pleased with what we have been able to do,” Mugawe said. 

The Executive Director of NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol, elaborated on the process and the rationale behind selecting UCU as the host venue.

“We sent out a team to different sites in the eastern part of the country, particularly in Mbale, and it happened that UCU was the best site chosen,” Okwakol said.

In line with Prof. Mushengyezi’s earlier appeal, Prof. Okwakol recommended that the government considers establishing a national research and innovation fund that is accessible to all — both public and privately-owned institutions — echoing the need for equitable access to resources.


UCU Hosts Free Yellow Fever Mass Vaccination Campaign

According to Uganda National Institute of Public Health, Uganda is a yellow fever-endemic country with a high risk of transmission.

However, despite the introduction of the yellow fever vaccine in the routine immunization schedule in October 2022, the national coverage has remained low at 29%. This poses a high risk of yellow fever outbreak in Uganda

To further contribute to the efforts towards curbing spread of the yellow fever virus, Uganda Christian University (UCU) in collaboration with Uganda’s Ministry of Education and Sports and Mukono District Health Office, has organized a free yellow fever mass vaccination campaign.

The vaccination campaign that started today, Tuesday, April 2nd is expected to run until Monday, April 8th, 2024. The primary objective is to vaccinate at least 95% of the eligible population aged 1-60 years against yellow fever.

Both UCU and the neighboring communities are receiving the vaccines at the university clinic, Allan Galpin Health Center.

Kakooza Abdul Wahabu, Nursing Officer at UCU’s Allan Galpin Health Centre and in charge of the vaccinations, urges all eligible members of the community to embrace this vital vaccination campaign. “Community members should not miss the yellow fever vaccination. This is because clinicians often mistake yellow fever symptoms for those of malaria, leading to undiagnosed cases” Kakooza said. 

It is essential for individuals seeking vaccination to carry and present either a school ID or a national ID.

For more information and the vaccination schedule, individuals can visit the UCU Allan Galpin Health Centre. Let us join hands in combating yellow fever and ensuring a healthier future for everyone.

Compiled by Irene Best Nyapendi and Jimmy Siyasa

Edited By: Harriet Adong, Consultant at UCU’s Communication and Public Relations Department

UCU Students share thoughts on lent

Lent is a 40-day period of fasting for Christians, from Ash Wednesday to Easter. This year, Easter will be celebrated on March 31. Fasting is most recommended for healthy persons with elderly and very young children often exempt. The practice is frequently categorised as absolute (food and beverage), solid food (consuming only liquids) and partial (choosing one food to abstain). At Uganda Christian University (UCU), selected students have chosen to fast. Some shared their experience with Pauline Luba.

Bitungi Martha, Bachelor of Laws, final year
Bitungi Martha, Bachelor of Laws, final year

To me, fasting is a period where one gets closer to God. It’s that time when you want to revive your spiritual life, you want to give everything to your God, you want to talk to Him and you also want to listen to Him. So, I do this with my friends and it’s nice to share this belief with them. The Lent period has strengthened our bond. We take it as a time of giving and a time of listening to God. 

Rev. Mika Mugs Samuel, Bachelor of Divinity, first year.
Rev. Mika Mugs Samuel, Bachelor of Divinity, first year.

The lent season gives one a humbling experience. And with that experience, it enables one to control their desires, to enable them develop a deep devotion and relationship with God. So, it is important for people to participate in activities of lent, such as fasting and self-sacrifice. 

Egati Eric, Bachelor of Divinity, First year.
Egati Eric, Bachelor of Divinity, First year.

To me, fasting has been the norm ever since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I fast during the lent period and ensure that I don’t do anything that could tempt me. On the health side of it, fasting has contributed to me reducing weight. The last time I weighed myself, I was told I was almost overweight, so fasting has helped keep my weight under control. 

Alinda Catherine, Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management
Alinda Catherine, Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management

The fasting period has drawn me closer to God and I’m learning to know more about myself. I think the Lent period should be taken seriously since it helps to draw people closer to Christ. It’s also an opportunity which makes people get to discover more about their spirituality and learn more about their faith. 

Natukunda Joan, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, third year
Natukunda Joan, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, third year

During the fasting period, I have been able to do more and I have also learned how to talk to God better. The thing that I found challenging about fasting while on campus is that that is the time people who are not aware that you are fasting invite you for meals. Therefore, it calls for a high level of self-control.

Sanyu Rebecca Nina, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, third year
Sanyu Rebecca Nina, Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, third year

Sanyu’s Lent Experience at UCU

I have enjoyed this Lent season.  I take breaks during my fast. The fasting is somewhat challenging, given that it is happening at a time when we have classes. However, the bottom line is that fasting can help one get closer to Christ.  I would like to get closer to my Saviour. I think the university could improve on the quality of the Lent season for students by bringing up more related sessions during the community worship and sessions of prayer.


Showcasing Innovation, Creativity and Talent at UCU’s Career Exhibition Day

On Saturday, March 16, Uganda Christian University (UCU) hosted an engaging and educative Career Exhibition Day aimed at providing a platform for students, faculty, and university staff to showcase their multidisciplinary research and innovation projects. The event also served as an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to demonstrate their achievements and network with industry professionals.

Hon. Francis Katabazi Katongole, Member of Parliament for Kalungu East Constituency, graced the occasion as the Guest of Honor, highlighting the significance of such initiatives in nurturing students and fostering innovation to feed into Uganda’s development efforts.

Hon. Katabazi in his remarks, encouraged students to see beyond the anticipated salaries for true wealth. He highlighted the importance of identifying societal problems as business opportunities and encouraged starting small with innovative solutions. “Come up with an idea from the problems around you. Start it small, grow it and learn from your mistakes or failures,” Katabazi said. He also emphasized the need for proper adequate self-packaging, product packaging and the significance of having and sharing business cards for effective marketing.

The Industrial and Fine Art team presents to the Guest of Honor, Hon. Francis Katabazi Katongole, Member of Parliament for Kalungu East Constituency.

The Head of UCU Honors College, Mr. Dickson Tumuramye, shared that this is an opportunity for students to showcase their innovations, which often go unnoticed within their respective faculties and schools. Mr. Tumuramye noted that the exhibition aimed at showcasing the uniqueness, creativity, and innovativeness of UCU students in the current competitive world.

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the diverse range of projects showcased by students from various faculties.

The UCU Law students presented an app revolutionizing document drafting. What once took lawyers days to create, such as tenancy agreements, can now be accomplished in under a minute using this cutting-edge technology. This breakthrough application not only saves time but also enhances efficiency in legal practice.

Richard Mutebi, a third-year Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounts student, who spearheads “Ink Pad Solutions,” a student-led initiative showcased their products such as student and staff planner notebooks. Recognizing time management and productivity issues among peers, the group developed a student planner to alleviate coursework deadline pressure and enhance productivity. The planner includes schedules, activity time allocations, focus targets, and reflective tasks. “With positive feedback from fellow students, we are looking forward to further iteration of our solution to incorporate and or take care of this feedback. Thereafter, we envision inclusion of this solution into the university’s admission package,” Mutebi said.

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Richard Mutebi showcasing his staff planner to a member of UCU’s staff.

The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences presented an innovative solution to food waste by utilizing it as cricket feeds and having crickets as a sustainable protein source. They also showcased various initiatives from promoting the cultivation of Nakati (a local consumable vegetable in Uganda) to showcasing innovative urban gardening techniques, to maximize crop yields in limited spaces. Additionally, alternative protein sources like crickets were exhibited, alongside sustainable farming methods such as hydroponics and solar drying technologies.

An illustration by Agriculture students showcasing urban farming techniques.

Winnie Namutosi, an assistant lecturer at the faculty of Agricultural Sciences explained that using hydroponics refers to growing crops without necessarily using soil. “We offer hydroponic nutrients available not only today but also on regular occasions at our faculty. This caters for individuals interested in planting methods that do not require them to touch the soil,” Namutosi said.

Students from Faculty of Engineering and Design showcased innovative renewable energy and material solutions. Bak Kau Nak, a third-year student from the Faculty of Engineering presented concrete bricks made from recycled paper waste, with superior strength and affordability compared to traditional concrete blocks. By repurposing discarded materials, he offers a practical solution to waste management while advancing eco-friendly construction practices.

“Our paper waste concrete blocks are cheaper and stronger,” Nak said. “We use what we do not want any more like paper waste to make the concrete blocks.”

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UCU Students from the Faculty of Engineering and Design showcase their concrete blocks.

The team from the Faculty of Industrial and Fine Art, exhibited a wide array of artworks, ranging from computer graphics like e-art (drawing using a tab and different programs on a computer) and physical art. They also exhibited sculptures, woodwork, paintings, semantics, art works for interior, animations 2D, graphics 3D, and cartoons. fashion pieces showcasing from the drafting stage to the final cloth.

Reagan Okello a finalist pursuing a Bachelor of Industrial and Fine Art exhibited soft and hard drinks glasses made from dumped bottles ready for use.

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Some of the items exhibited by art students.

Students from the School of Journalism, Media, and Communication showcased their multimedia projects, including films, short informative videos and podcasts covering sports and lifestyle.

They also presented insights into film production techniques, camera usage, and workflow. Nathaniel Simbilyabo a final-year student pursuing a bachelor of arts in Journalism and Communication showcased his photography portfolio, demonstrating the school’s commitment to nurturing versatile media professionals.

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A UCU journalism student demonstrates his podcasting technique, focusing on sports and lifestyle.

Other schools also exhibited, such as the School of Education, Social Sciences, Divinity and Theology, and the Faculty of Public Health Nursing and Midwifery.

In recognition of their outstanding work and showcase, the UCU Faculty of Engineering, Design, and Technology was recognized as the best exhibitor. All the other exhibitors were acknowledged and appreciated.

Compiled by: Irene Best Nyapendi

Edited By: Harriet Adong, Consultant at UCU’s Communication and Public Relations Department

university Vice Chancellors exchange gifts

Pictorial: UCU and St. Paul’s University, Kenya, move to strengthen and implement partnership

On March 13th through 14th, 2024, Uganda Christian University (UCU) hosted a team from St. Paul’s University (SPU), Kenya, led by Rev. Prof. James Kombo, the Vice-Chancellor. The visit was marked by warmth and excitement as both institutions shared experiences and further explored potential collaborations.

While at UCU, the visitors had an opportunity to tour UCU premises including the School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, the Archbishop’s Palace at Namirembe Hill, UCU Kampala Campus, and UCU main campus in Mukono (a few minutes away drive from Kampala – Uganda’s Capital City and central business center). It was a chance for them to learn more about UCU’s history, culture and operations.

Associate Professor Aaron Mushengyezi, UCU’s Vice Chancellor, expressed happiness at hosting the Kenyan counterparts, highlighting the similarities between the two universities. Assoc. Prof. Mushengyezi while addressing the team from SPU said “You are all warmly welcome to Uganda – the Pearl of Africa and specifically to Uganda Christian University. It is fulfilling that both UCU and SPU share similar values, teaching approaches in addition to being Christian founded and run institutions”.

“We are privileged to host you. When we share about our institutions, what we do, how we do it including the teaching approached and what we believe in all presents the institutions more like twins” Assoc. Prof. Mushengyezi added.

Rev. Prof. James Kombo, SPU’s Vice Chancellor thanked the UCU team for the warm welcome. “This was a planned trip, we were all eagerly looking forward to it. We thank God that two days ago we arrived safely in Uganda and you have all accorded us a high level warm welcome” Prof. Kombo said. He also extended and invitation to the UCU team to visit their university in Nairobi soon.

Michael Mungai, Head of Corporate Affairs at SPU, also expressed gratitude for the hospitality shown by the UCU team. He reechoed the longstanding partnership between the two universities and thanked UCU for their fellowship. “I am greatly honored to be at UCU. I feel at home and I thank God that you (UCU) are standing on the faith of Jesus Christ.”

This visit and engagement are not only geared towards strengthening the bond between UCU and SPU but also provided opportunity for potentially transformative future collaborations between the institutions while also engaging institutional partners. Both institutions look forward to working together for the betterment of service delivery and receipt in the education sector especially as we continue to contribute to community development.

Some of the focus areas for both universities

The two universities have resolved to explore and implement the partnership agreement in the following areas:

  • Cultural exchange, which involves reciprocal hosting of delegations on the campuses of the respective universities
  • Joint conference
  • Capacity-building opportunities for staff
  • Student internships, among others

Details about the previous visit:

Compiled by Irene Best Nyapendi and Jimmy Siyasa

Edited By: Harriet Adong, Consultant at UCU’s Communication and Public Relations Department


Scholarship recipients narrate struggles to keep in school

In June 2022, Uganda Christian University launched “For Just 10k,”a campaign intended to raise financial support for students who are facing economic distress. One of the organizations that responded to that call was the Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre (UYLC).  Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, the chairperson of the board at UYLC, noted that they wanted to go beyond just contributing to school fees to supporting students through mentorship. Irene Best Nyapendi talked to some students who are recent beneficiaries of the philanthropy of UYLC.

Carolyne Anyango Ohanga
Carolyne Anyango Ohanga – Divinity and Theology

Carolyne Anyango Ohanga has always desired to be an Anglican priest. For that to happen, however, she must attain a bachelor’s degree in divinity, which she is currently pursuing at Uganda Christian University (UCU). She joined UCU after completing a diploma course at Uganda Martyrs Seminary, Namugongo, near Kampala.

Financial challenges warrant Anyango to consider it a miracle that she is still in school. Even just completing her diploma course at Uganda Martyrs Seminary was an amazing achievement. 

Anyango, a Kenyan citizen, preferred to study in Uganda, where tuition is generally less compared to her country. While a student at Uganda Martyrs Seminary, Anyango one day packed her bags ready to abandon school, because she saw no hope in securing money for tuition. 

However, she narrates that just before she left, she shared her financial challenges with the institution’s principal. And she was offered a scholarship.

Even for her first semester at UCU in 2022, Anyango faced challenges in paying the full tuition. She started studies after paying only sh200,000 ($51.22), which is about 13% of the tuition fees required for the semester.

As the examinations approached, Anyango presented her challenges to the office of the Dean of the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology, who referred her to the UCU Financial Aid Office. The office secured partial tuition. To pay the balance, she had to mobilize her friends, who contributed towards her need. But still, that was not substantial to clear the tuition balance. Anyango eventually sat the exams without clearing full tuition, but only after securing permission from the university on the promise that she would pay the fees balance later.

For the semesters that followed, Anyango would receive donations from well-wishers, including financial assistance from the UCU Guild Fund.

As she started her final semester in the course, Anyango says she had lost hope in finding any funding for her tuition. However, she discovered a call for Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre (UYLC) scholarships, to which she applied, and was successful. 

Praise Kogere
Praise Kogere – Business

Kogere, a final-year student of Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance at UCU, has been raised single-handedly by her mother, a primary school teacher. 

For the times when her salary was inadequate, Kogere’s mother secured loans to pay her children’s fees. However, last year, Kogere’s mother was unable to meet the tuition obligations of her children since her loan dues had accumulated. Therefore, much of her salary went into servicing the loans and paying the debts she had accumulated. That unfortunate incident coincided with the withdrawal of Kogere’s sponsor who had been paying her tuition since Senior Five.

Kogere knew there was no money, but she still reported to school. The money she earned from her holiday job as a house-help was what she used for paying hostel dues at UCU. A scholarship from UYLC enabled Kogere to write her final-year examinations. 

Phoebe Grace Nalwadda
Phoebe Grace Nalwadda – Business

For Nalwadda, paying fees had never been a challenge for her family, until the unexpected demise of her father in 2022. Nalwadda, a final-year student of Bachelor of Procurement and Logistics Management at UCU, says she was left without the financial support she had always relied upon. 

A relative who had promised to meet her tuition obligations could not pay the fees beyond one semester. As Nalwadda was trying to figure out where to get money, a friend brought her attention to a scholarship application call by UYLC. She applied. 

“When I received a call that I had been selected for the scholarship, I shed tears of joy,” she said. “I was so surprised and when I shared the news with my mum, she was the happiest person.”

Rannie Ashaba
Rannie Ashaba
UCU student Rannie Ashaba – Business

The weight of the financial burden that Rannie Ashaba had to deal with at one point, she said, created anxiety, confusion and divided concentration in class. “Where will money come from?” was the question that consistently entered her mind. Despite all the challenges, Ashaba’s Grade Point Average has never been less than 4.3 out of 5.0.

“Early this semester, I was thinking about applying for a dead semester,” she said. However, that will not happen as she has been one of the lucky recipients of a scholarship courtesy of Ubuntu Youth Leadership Centre.

Ashaba, pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration and Accounting, said when she was five years old, her parents separated, leaving the burden of caring for her to her mother. However, tragedy struck in 2009 when her mother passed away.

In 2021, her maternal aunt took her in, pledging to cater for her academic needs, with some help from Ashaba’s grandmother. During the times they lacked, Ashaba applied for tuition top-ups and scholarships from the UCU Financial Aid office.

Last year, Ashaba’s aunt got a health complication which forced her to stop working and commence costly therapy. To date, the 27-year-old says, her aunt has not been able to pay her tuition since she is out of employment.

“I have faced obstacles to an extent that I learned to ignore some of them,” Ashaba said.

Drawing from personal experience, Ashaba urges other students facing financial challenges to share their troubles with people.

“A problem shared is a problem halved solved,” Ashaba said. “Also, keep searching for opportunities because there is always a second chance awaiting you, so don’t think about giving up.”

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