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Failure is an opportunity to learn’ – UCU alumna, Prim Tumuramye

By Dalton Mujuni, Yasir J. Kasango and Ivan Tsebeni
Prim Kesande Tumuramye, a Uganda Christian University (UCU) alumna and former UCU employee, was recently elevated to the position of Communications Specialist for Compassion International Africa.
Compassion International is a Christian charity organization that is committed to rendering support to vulnerable children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Prim’s new job includes laying strategies and supporting others in the communication processes, as well as supporting the African countries that they serve. Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania are among these countries.
Prim said that her experience at UCU as a student and later a staff member better enabled her to strongly espouse Christian values that have been pivotal in her profession.
“I think it would have been a hazardous if I had attended a liberal public university given that I was coming to the city for the first time,” Prim, a native of the western region of Kabale, said. “UCU gave me a safe landing and grounded me with Christian Values.”
Prim, 37, married and with children, has a career path that was deliberate but often rocky.
Prim is the only child of a strict mother who gave up a teaching job to conduct a small business yielding more money. She recalled how reading books took the place of being with other children in the household and how a charitable couple graced her with school fees. She attended Mother care Primary School, and Kigezi High School for elementary and High school respectively.
Mostly working from home during Uganda’s covid-related lockdown, Prim took a break in July to discuss her career moves within Compassion International, starting in 2006.
After completing her UCU final semester examinations in April 2006, Prim sought an opportunity for Child Development worker in partnership with Compassion International. Her mother felt the application would be futile since Prim did not yet have her university diploma in hand, but Prim persevered.
Robert Mugabe, the then Child Development project director in Kabale, gave her transport to the interview in Rukungiri District in Western Uganda as well as arrangements for her to spend a night with some relatives there. One of the interview panelists convinced the others that since Prim was educated at UCU, the transcript would be forthcoming.
“If this young lady says she is from UCU and she is scheduled to graduate on August 30, 2006, you can take her at her word,” said the panelist, Canon Sam Ruharo. Prim started working in August before her graduation.
In 2007, she was promoted to Project Director of the Child Development Center (CDC). She worked for two years as the Project Director.
In 2009, UCU Bishop Barham Constituent College advertised that they needed a suitable candidate with work experience, aged 35 years and above to work as a public relations officer. Despite Prim’s young age at the time, she applied and was hired.
Her Job at UCU Bishop Barham was her turning point in the mass communication profession since from the onset, her interest had been law.
“I had studied Mass communication by default since my passion for law had died with the inconsistencies that surrounded my admission,” Prim said. “I had been so depressed for being kicked out of the Law course and never loved Mass communication but I picked myself up when I started practicing Mass communication at UCU.”
In 2010, when the UCU main campus advertised the vacancy of Assistant Public Relations Officer, Prim got the job. Prim’s luck followed her unceasingly, in 2013, the then Public Relations Officer of UCU transitioned into a government employee, leaving a vacuum that she luckily filled. She played the acting Public Relations Officer role so well for 11 months and when the university advertised the office, there was no better person to fill the space than her.
She worked as UCU public relations officer until December 2017. Prim was good at multi-tasking, while working at UCU she was a lecturer for the Faculty of Journalism, Media and communication. She also wrote a column for the Observer News Daily.
In December 2017, she sought a new experience of work at Compassion International Uganda as the Public Relations Specialist. In 2021, she was elevated to Communication Specialist, Compassion International Africa.
Prim’s advice to others pursuing jobs is this: “I went into this process without fear for failing because I know failure is an opportunity to learn – not the end of life. Luckily the interviews were conducted virtually leaving room for me to enhance my confidence. There were many people but only by the Grace of God I made it to the top in Africa.”

UCU slashes functional fees

By Ivan Tsebeni

With less than a month to the end of Trinity Semester exams, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has issued a fees structure with functional fees reduced from Ugx983, 000 toUgx 618,000. The reduction sets a difference of about Ugx365, 000 which is said to factor in the lockdown.
The changes were announced by the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, Mr. David Mugawe through the memo that was released on July 7.
Mugawe said tuition will remain unchanged since teaching and learning continued online.
“Students are encouraged to pay their tuition fees before the deadline on August 2,” he said.
He added that students’ portal shall not be activated without full fees payment, urging them to send their fees payment slips to registration@ucu.ac.ug/new.
“For students who had paid boarding fees, the unutilized portion of the money shall be credited to the student’s respective account,” he said.
This is the third time UCU is considering fees reduction. This is however attributed to the unusual situation brought about by the surging Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am happy the university has considered the prevailing condition caused by Covid-19 and it has reduced functional fees,” said Brian Nyangor, Bachelors of Economics and Management student.
Nyangor, however, urged the University to allow students who have high fees balance to sit for exams and they pay later.
The Trinity Semester exams are slated for 9 – 19th August, 2021.

UCU classroom and real-life experience propel student into media job

By Fiona Nabugwere and Joseph Lagen
Lucky Reuben Ereu had a long-time dream to work at a media house. This dream led Ereu, then a first-year student of Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication, to 106.1FM Next Radio, to pitch a proposal for a radio programme.
The year was 2018. Ereu had high hopes in his proposal because Next Radio had just been launched, so he knew there were slots in the radio’s programming.
Ereu, age 23, did not just impress at the proposal pitching. He also was asked to present for a radio show called Crazy Town. The show is a fun, weekly show that features young inspirational personalities to show youths ways of creating sources of income while still in school. It airs every Sunday, at midday. He also is one of the content creators at the radio station.
“My confidence levels have improved because of my work at the radio station and the presentations we always have in class,” he said.
Courtesy photo of The Crazy Town presenters (left-right) Mark Munanura, Simran Merali and Lucky Reuben Ereu
Courtesy photo of The Crazy Town presenters (left-right) Mark Munanura, Simran Merali and Lucky Reuben Ereu
Ereu is excited about the practical projects they undertake at school because they offer him opportunities to improve what he is already practicing at Next Radio.
“The UCU focus project that we did last semester opened my eyes about how news is produced, especially using mobile phones,” he said. “Before, I thought producing a news bulletin was so complex, but now I know that I can do it.”
Because of such projects, Ereu’s performance at Next Radio improved tremendously to the point that he and his teammates were rewarded with performance bonuses at the end of 2020.
“I use my monthly allowances for upkeep at the university and the performance bonus we received at the end of last year was what I used to pay my hostel fees,” said Ereu, whose first appearance on air was as a presenter on a TV teens show for NTV Uganda, said. His stint at NTV Uganda, which was in 2018, lasted three months.
He said former students of UCU, who are employees of Next Media Services, are always willing to guide and mentor him.
One of the projects that Ereu is proud of having participated in is the 77 Percent campaign, a DW magazine for Africa’s youth. DW is a German public state-owned international broadcaster. The 77 Percent magazine focuses on reports, personal stories and debates on big issues that matter most to the African youth.
Ereu, now a final-year student at UCU, says the three years he has spent at Next Radio have enabled him gain skills in operating radio and television equipment. Additionally, he says the Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication has all the necessary equipment to enable students to practice what they learn in class. The skills Ereu has acquired, he says, have enabled him to get assignments for projects at the university. He says he videographed the university graduation in 2018 and that he currently does photography work for the E-learning team of UCU.
Passion for videos, photographs
Ereu shot his first film in 2012, while in Senior Two, using a friend’s mobile phone. He continued to shoot videos and take photographs using borrowed phones until he acquired his own smartphone a year later. Having noticed the passion he had for shooting videos and taking photographs, Ereu’s grandfather gifted him his first camera in 2017. That was the same year he began shooting videos for commercial purposes, during his Senior Six holidays.
Ereu charges between sh200,000 (about $57) and sh400,000 (about $114) for birthdays and personal photoshoots. He also creates social media video clips for clients at sh80,000 (about $22). He usually posts some of his works on his social media pages: @simplyluckie on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.

UCU’s relentless fight against Covid-19

By Ivan Tsebeni
With staff and students embracing Covid-19 vaccination, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has continued to sensitize her community to take heed to the Ministry of Health guidelines in order to defeat the deadly pandemic.
Stickers are pinned on every notice board and doors to help in the sensitization of the community against Covid-19 spread.
“We closed the University’s physical operations to decongest the population as per the Government directives,” Dr. Geoffrey Mulindwa, the Director Medical Services said.
Mulindwa cautioned that the third wave may be more hazardous than the first and second ones.
The University started Covid-19 Vaccination on March 15, just nine days after the vaccine was imported into the country.
Sensitization campaigns, according to Mulindwa, have kept the rate of infections within the community slightly lower.
He however cautioned the public to take extra care not to contract the virus and also seek medical advice in case one develops signs and symptoms of Covid-19.
“Whether one is vaccinated or not, one needs to maintain the standard operating procedures,” he said.
Mulindwa added that UCU is well equipped with preventive methods and gadgets to curb down the spread of the virus.

Covid-19: Guild leaders sacrifice allowance to feed students stuck in hostels

By Ivan Tsebeni

When the 23rd Guild Government took over leadership last year, they vowed to ‘Build the Bridge to the New Normal’ and that is exactly what they have done.
Out of their July and August 2021 guild allowances, they have contributed over 980,000 shillings to buy food stuff for students who remained in hostels due to the lockdown. Some of the students are from neighbouring countries.
“We agreed to sacrifice these allowances to feed our colleagues who remained in hostels due to unavoidable circumstances,” said Guild President Kenneth Agaba Amponda.
The guild Officials developed a Google list which they shared with students to ensure transparency in their selection.
“The only way we could identify the real affected students was through a Google list which we believe reached almost all the students,” Amponda said.
The food assortments were handed over to students on Saturday, September 4 at the Guild Offices.
According to the Guild Speaker, Calvin Olupot Bahati, they used the money to buy food items such as: rice, sugar, beans, posho, spaghetti, salt and cakes.
He added that much as the items donated may seem a drop in the ocean, the act had a bigger positive impact.
The Director of Students Affairs, Bridget M. Mugume, thanked the student leaders for showing a kind gesture to their colleagues.
A Second Year Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration student, Anna Bonsuk, said that she could not travel back to her home country, South Sudan.
“I’m happy that the guild has thought about us during these hard times. Being in a foreign land amidst the lockdown is the worst experience one can ever dream of,” Bonsuk said.

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