News & Updates


Rev. Assoc. Prof. Kitayimbwa Appointed Chairperson of RENU

By Irene Best Nyapendi

Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Mulindwa Kitayimbwa, has been appointed Chairperson of the Research and Education Network Uganda (RENU). This happened during the recent Board of Directors strategic planning retreat, where a new era was ushered in for RENU.

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About RENU

RENU establishes collaboration among Uganda’s research and education institutions for knowledge creation, sharing, and utilization, through the provision of advanced networking and other advanced technical services.

According to Kitayimbwa, RENU was established to address through it the provision of reliable and affordable connectivity of research and education institutions in Uganda, which is being achieved.

The connectivity through RENU has afforded member institutions access to vast information and resources, facilitated communication and collaboration, enabled use of online education and research tools, allowed sharing of education and research infrastructure across Ugandan institutions, and facilitated easier dissemination of education materials  and research findings,”

Assoc. Prof. Kitayimbwa

He adds that RENU has surely become the engine that is helping many research and education institutions achieve the connectivity that they need at an affordable rate.

 “RENU now offers a broad range of services to research and education such as Learning Management System, web conferencing, eduroam, cloud hosting, and identity federation among others,” Kitayimbwa said.

Kitayimbwa in a special way appreciates Prof. Stephen Noll and other previous chairpersons explaining that it’s on their shoulders he is now to stand. He replaces Eng. Dr. Dorothy Okello whose service ended in April of this year.

He has served on RENU the Board of Directors, first as a member, then as the Deputy Chairperson, as Chairperson of RENU’s Finance, Administration and Human Resource Committee and now as the Chairperson Board of Directors.

Kitayimbwa is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs at Uganda Christian University (UCU).  He is also a priest within the Church Of Uganda.

He is a highly qualified Ugandan PhD Fellow in Computational Biology at UCU and an astute educationist, with a track record of raising $8 million in research funding from many diverse, international academic sources.

Prof. Janice Busingye the appointed Deputy Chairperson, congratulates Kitayimbwa for taking upon such a crucial responsibility. According to her, joining RENU is an opportunity to learn, and be part of the organization’s growth.

RENU is Uganda’s National Research and Education Network. It is a member–based organization, founded in 2006 and incorporated in 2008 as a non-profit organization and company limited by guarantee, to uplift the quality of education of research in the country, through the provision of reliable and affordable connectivity and other related ICT solutions tailored for education and research.

UCU welcomes over 2000 first-year students for Trinity Semester

By Irene Best Nyapendi

Uganda Christian University (UCU) welcomed over 2000 first-year students to its main campus in Mukono and its Kampala campuses in the Trinity (May 2023). The students were officially welcomed at induction ceremonies held at both campuses.

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Main Campus

At the Mukono campus, Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi welcomed the students and urged them to uphold the university’s core values of Christ-Centeredness, diligence, integrity, servanthood, and stewardship. He also encouraged them to be committed to their studies and to strive for excellence.

Vice Chancellor Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi leading the induction ceremony in Nkoyoyo Hall.

“Our goal here is to train you to be complete human beings, so you don’t just leave with the head knowledge but with the soft skills and values that make us truly human,” Mushengyezi said.

He was, however, quick to caution students about the existence of intellectuals whose knowledge has made them dangerous to the world, and who promote an ideology that can harm other human beings.

Furthermore, Prof. Mushengyezi noted that misuse of firearms is becoming rampant in the country and students should be careful to not fall victim.

Kampala Campus

The Kampala campus induction ceremony was held by UCU Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Mr. David Mugawe. He urged the students to be “people of integrity with strong moral principles guided by the ideals of honesty and authenticity.”

In addition to the induction ceremonies, the students also attended a weekly community worship service at Nkoyoyo Hall. The service was themed “Guarding the Treasure of your Soul.”

The students come from a variety of backgrounds and represent a wide range of academic interests. They are excited to begin their studies at UCU and to be a part of the university’s vibrant community.

“I’m glad my parents brought me here because I have seen it’s a cool university, the people in it are decent and love God,” said Jovia Kisakye, a first-year student pursuing Higher Education Certificate in Biological.

First-year students from the various schools and faculties including; Business, Education, Law, Agricultural sciences, Journalism, Media and Communication, Public Health, Engineering, Design and Technology attended the induction ceremony at the main campus.

Vice Chancellor Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi leading the induction ceremony in Nkoyoyo Hall.

The induction ceremonies are one of the two special services for the students at UCU, with the second one being the commissioning ceremony. The commissioning ceremony is held at the end of the student’s studies and marks their transition into the workforce.

Government Should Reign in the Growing Misuse of Firearms, UCU Vice Chancellor

Appeal to Government

The Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University (UCU), Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, has appealed to the Government ministry and departments responsible for security to step up supervision of private security firms and other personnel who carry firearms, in order to control their misuse. This follows recent incidents where some university students have fallen victim to incidents of wanton gun violence.

The Vice-Chancellor was speaking today at the induction ceremony for the First Year students who have enrolled for various study programmes for the Trinity (May) semester 2023, at UCU.

Advice to students

He warned the students to be careful how they live their lives, not as unwise but as wise (Ephesians 5:15) and mature citizens, and avoid exposing themselves to dangerous situations.

“Be careful as you go about your social lives and observe personal security. Be vigilant at all times and be your brother and sister’s keeper,” he said.

Unfortunately, two innocent UCU students and other citizens have been victims of the recent problem of misuse of firearms in the country.
This public menace needs to be reigned in before it gets out of hand.

Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, UCU Vice Chancellor

He said that the University is continuously improving the campus environment to ensure that it is ambient and safe for all our students so that they achieve the academic excellence they came to pursue at UCU.

Watch the Full Speech below


Why Study at UCU? 3 students share perspectives

By Pauline Luba
The language barrier, homesickness and culture shock are some of the challenges Nathanael Simbilyabo encountered as a new university student. Since Simbilyabo, a Ugandan national of the Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo, had his pre-university education conducted in French, it took a big leap of faith for him to come to terms with studying in Uganda, where English is the national language and medium of instruction in schools.

The Journey of a Congolese Student

In 2021, he was admitted to Uganda Christian University (UCU) to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication. Even the bridge course he and other international students took was challenging.  The Higher Education Certificate (HEC) program is bridge support for all international students who studied A’level from outside Uganda. 

“When I came to Uganda, I did not know English,” said Simbilyabo, adding: “I learned it in HEC. It bridged the gap.” 

Life was tough for Simbilyabo. As if learning a new language was not hard enough, he had to find ways of overcoming homesickness on top of the financial challenges that many students face. One day, he was hit by a bodaboda as he crossed the streets. In DR Congo, it is an unwritten rule that men do not shed tears – a rule he broke that day.  

However, he was eventually able to conquer the challenges and now says he would not trade studying at UCU for anything. He says the university has exposed him to learning the cultures of people from other parts of the world.

“UCU equips someone spiritually, physically and mentally,” Simbilyabo said, adding: “I love this university. It has helped me.”

And it’s not just Simbilyabo who has attested to the spiritual growth that UCU students get. Many of them cite the community hour fellowship every Tuesday and Thursday as university activities that help to cement their faith in an institution that seeks to fully incorporate the Christian gospel in its programs.

The Experience of an American Student

Carolyn Shonkweiler with her new friends in Mukono, Uganda.
Carolyn Shonkweiler with her new friends in Mukono, Uganda.

For Carolyn Shonkweiler, the five months that she has spent on the UCU campus have been more than enough for her to discover the university’s value. In January 2023, Shonkweiler was granted the opportunity for an exchange program with UCU, under the America-based Uganda Studies Program. She left Dordt University, a private evangelical Christian university in Iowa, to be a resident of UCU for one semester. 

“I was definitely pushed out of my comfort zone,” Shonkweiler said. “I didn’t know anyone; I didn’t know if they would like me. But I have really enjoyed my experience here. I have made new friends and seen the world and the culture of the Ugandan people.”

Shonkweiler said in the beginning, she found it hard to adjust to the food. However, after some time, she started falling in love with some of the Ugandan delicacies, such as rolex (chapatti rolled with fried eggs). She said she has enjoyed the hospitality of the Ugandan friends she has made while here and would recommend UCU to any international student wishing to study in Uganda.

Rodney Ngabirano was among the first students to apply to join UCU during the September intake in 2021.
Rodney Ngabirano was among the first students to apply to join UCU during the September intake in 2021.

Rodney Ngabirano, from Uganda, was among the first students to apply to join UCU during the September intake in 2021. At the time, due to the pandemic-induced lockdown, many institutions of higher learning were struggling to come to terms with virtual learning. However, for UCU, the case was different. In a 2022 article for Uganda Partners, Dr. Stephen Kyakulumbye, a senior lecturer at UCU, said the movement to start online learning began five years before Covid. 

At UCU, the idea for virtual learning was advanced in 2016 when five UCU faculty members were chosen for online teaching, and virtual training in Muranga, Kenya. Kyakulumbye, already known for his expertise in Information Systems Curriculum Design, relished the fact that he was among the five. And it is innovations like these that attracted students like Ngabirano because it was evident, they were joining a university with an already tried and tested setup. 

Ngabirano says he is impressed by the level of professionalism of many of the staff members who are always available for consultations, as well as the cleaners who ensure the students operate in a hygienic environment. 

The fact that UCU academics push students to put classroom theory into practice has enabled the students to test the world of work before they eventually face it. For instance, by supporting law students to take part in moot competitions, they are being exposed to the philosophy of law. Last year, UCU journalism students put into practice what they learned by producing a movie that earned a nomination for a national films award in Uganda.

The Experience of a Master’s Student

Esther Aguku at work in the Vice Chancellor’s office.
Esther Aguku at work in the Vice Chancellor’s office.

Esther Aguku, a Ugandan and the Executive Officer in the Office of the Vice Chancellor said the UCU master’s courses help to mould the students for the practical world. She graduated from UCU with a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology.

“I have been a student here and elsewhere,” she said. “I prefer UCU on any day. The class wasn’t just class; I built stronger relationships as a student. I would recommend this university to anyone seeking higher education.”


Faith and Learning team

Faith Integration in Learning and Service: UCU Seminar Explores Innovative Strategies

By Andrew Bugembe

Seminar Explores Faith Integration in Education

In a significant stride towards enhancing its commitment to Christian values in education, Uganda Christian University (UCU) is running a week-long seminar at its main campus. The seminar, led by renowned Christian educationists Caroline and Richard Seed from Theological Education Development Services (TEDS) in South Africa, aimed to explore innovative strategies for integrating faith into learning and service.

Themed “How can a Christian University integrate faith in learning and service,” the seminar served as a platform for UCU’s senior management to delve into the profound connection between academic excellence and spiritual growth.

Nurturing Compassionate Leaders Through Faith Integration

With faith as its guiding principle, UCU endeavours to equip students with the necessary tools to become compassionate and servant-hearted leaders in society.

Miria Agunyo, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Design and Technology, acknowledged the existing efforts in faith integration at UCU while highlighting the need for further enhancement. “Already we have some integration faith in our learning at Uganda Christian University, but we need to enshrine it and have a clear model that can triple beyond the courses that each UCU student is expected to do,” Agunyo emphasized.

Throughout the day-long seminar, Caroline and Richard Seed shared their expertise, inspiring senior management with innovative approaches and practical strategies. Richard, the TEDS facilitator, emphasized the need for exploring different models and encouraging staff to carefully consider the impact of faith integration on their teaching practices and curriculum.

The seminar fostered engaging discussions among attendees, as they explored ways to seamlessly incorporate faith across various disciplines, courses, and extracurricular activities. The aim is to create an educational environment where students can grow intellectually, spiritually, and morally.

Caroline Seed, the TEDS facilitator, highlighted the transformative power of integrating faith in education. “Integrating faith in learning and service is not just a mere concept; it is a transformative force that has the power to shape the hearts, minds, and souls of the students,” Seed expressed. She further emphasized the significance of nurturing compassionate leaders guided by strong moral values and a genuine desire to serve others.

Rev. Canon. Prof. Christopher Byaruhanga, Dean of the Bishop Tucker School of Theology, commended the seminar for providing a remarkable opportunity for senior management to deepen their understanding of faith integration and its profound impact on students’ lives.

Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, underscored the seminar’s role in shaping the next generation by integrating faith and instilling good morals. “By integrating faith into every facet of education, Uganda Christian University staff gets the opportunity to shape the next generation of leaders who will be guided by strong moral values and a genuine desire to serve others,” Bulyaba stated.

A Renewed Commitment

As the seminar concluded, senior management reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the valuable insights gained from the discussions. Uganda Christian University looks ahead to strengthening its position as a Christian institution that nurtures academic excellence while instilling a lifelong commitment to faith and service.

By prioritizing faith integration, UCU aims to develop compassionate leaders who will positively impact their communities and society at large. The university’s holistic approach to education goes beyond academic achievement, fostering students’ overall growth and character development.

As Uganda Christian University continues its steadfast dedication to faith integration in education, it is poised to make a lasting impact on individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole.

Cricket project

UCU proves insect value in nutrition and alleviating food waste

By Irene Best Nyapendi
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) Faculty of Agricultural Sciences has teamed up with crickets – the insect and not the sport – in a successfully piloted food chain project that alleviates hunger and malnutrition.  The ‘Food Waste-2-Cricket Feed’ enterprise produces cricket feed from food waste and then turns the insects into a nutritious food supplement.

The UCU agriculture research team, led by Geoffrey Ssepuuya, a senior lecturer, established that there is a daily production of 768 metric tons of food waste in Kampala.

Crickets, Acheta domesticus
Crickets, Acheta domesticus

The project aimed at developing a processing protocol for converting food waste to a safe and shelf-stable cricket feed. It was funded by the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST). Florence Agwang, the grants officer at UNCST, says the undertaking was especially viable because the country has long struggled with waste management. 

“If this project succeeds and is able to get support from the government, we shall be able to greatly reduce the problem of waste in Uganda,” Agwang says.

How cricket food is made

The project involves collecting food waste from the UCU university dining hall in addition to remains from restaurants, hotels and markets.

Collected food waste such as bananas, rice, etc. is heat treated, dried, ground into powder and mixed according to predetermined formulation proportions into feed for the crickets. The crickets are reared in aerated food containers and provided with hide-outs because the crickets are nocturnal (comfortable in dark places).

In a bid to ensure sustainable cricket production in the country, the project is working towards continued production and distribution of this low-cost “protein and micronutrient-rich cricket feed.” The developed cricket feed is nutritious with a performance similar to that of broiler starter mash. With the formulated feeds, the crickets require 8 – 10 weeks to mature, while with local feeds, crickets take about 12 weeks to mature. 

Benefits of cricket

Crickets can be used to enrich the diet with protein and other nutrients when added to daily meals. It is a common practice in Uganda to eat fried insects such as crickets and grasshoppers. In this project, crickets, which have more protein than fish and beef, are ground to be mixed with staple flours for porridge and food. 

Geoffrey Ssepuuya holding the cricket feed. With the formulated feeds, the crickets require 8 – 10 weeks to mature, faster than on normal food waste where they will take about 12 weeks.
Geoffrey Ssepuuya holding the cricket feed. With the formulated feeds, the crickets require 8 – 10 weeks to mature, faster than on normal food waste where they will take about 12 weeks.

“Instead of consuming cassava bread that is only about 2% protein or even less, communities can supplement it with crickets which are 50 – 65 % rich in proteins,” Ssepuuya says. “So, with the feeds now available they can rear the crickets, dry them under the sun, grind them into powder and add the protein-rich powder to their food.” 

The most common sources of proteins such as meat, milk and chicken are not affordable to many Ugandans, yet it can now be redeemed from eating crickets. 

What others say about the cricket project

Dr. John Livingstone Mutyaba, Head of Agriculture (Postgraduate), explained that rearing crickets can be a new source of income for farmers through rearing and selling them. Crickets (Acheta domesticus) lay hundreds of eggs, which makes them multiply in a very short time.

Mutyaba says unlike what some commonly believe, crickets are not demanding in terms of housing and food.

The biggest challenge is feed in addition to proper management of heat and humidity. This is because crickets are more comfortable in dark places, and during cold days, they need heat.

There also is a need for labour and sufficient space to dry the crickets when they reach maturity. This is because they are best when dried before consumption.

Crickets in their breeding tray feeding on food waste. They lay hundreds of eggs which makes them increase in a very short time.
Crickets in their breeding tray feeding on food waste. They lay hundreds of eggs which makes them increase in a very short time.

The project is also supporting research by students like Derrick Kizito Okettayot, a fourth-year student of Food Science and Technology. To Okettayot, crickets are a delicacy.

“When I was young, we used to pick a few crickets hiding under the grass, roast and eat them,” Okettayot recalls. “I used to eat them in small quantities because they were rare, but I am so glad that I have now learned how to rear crickets, and I can now have enough of them.”

He adds that one can even blend crickets with fruits to make a protein shake.

“This is a win-win solution when we use food waste to feed the crickets and later feed on the crickets, so the food waste comes back to us in a different format to benefit us and the insects,” Dr. Rose Mary Bulyaba, the dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Science says.

UCU VC in Florida

UCU Vice Chancellor elected to International board, during Conference in U.S.

By Jimmy Siyasa

The Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University (UCU), Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU). The election happened during a board meeting that sat amid the 3rd Annual HLU Conference, held yesterday, at Florida Gulf Coast University, Southwest Florida, U.S.

This makes UCU one of only two African universities, so far, including the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania,  with representation on the prestigious board with up to 10 Directors from different countries, including U.S., Germany, Russia, China, and Belgium, among others.

On HLU Annual Conference

Prof. Mushengyezi travelled to attend the 3rd annual HLU Conference held on May 15- 17, 2023, hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), based in Southwest Florida, U.S. It is gathering of Rectors/ Vice Chancellors from various countries around the world, to reflect on emerging challenges facing institutions of higher learning, and how to mitigate or solve their effects. 

Additionally, the meeting also affords interaction opportunities for member universities to exchange best practices and update one another on innovations going on their respective campuses.

Prof. Mushengyezi with Prof. Dong-sung Cho Chairman, The Institute of Industrial Policy Studies, Switzerland. President, Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU).
Prof. Mushengyezi with Prof. Dong-sung Cho Chairman, The Institute of Industrial Policy Studies, Switzerland. President, Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU). Courtesy.

UCU- Pepperdine University relations

Before attending the conference, he was invited by President Jim Gash to Pepperdine University in Malabo, California, from May 10-13, 2023, for a both courtesy and partnership-oriented visit. Pepperdine is seeking to strengthen ties with UCU in student and staff exchange, and working closely with the Judiciary in Uganda in the practical training of Law students.

UCU and With Prof. Aysegul Timur, President of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).
UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Mushengyezi shares a photo moment with Prof. Aysegul Timur, President of Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). Courtesy photo.

World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI) Ranking

The HLU has also established a new ranking system for its member universities called World’s Universities with Real Impact (WURI)

WURI evaluates the university’s real contributions to society, highlighting creative and innovative approaches to universities’ research and educational programs.

Member universities have to join the WURI ranking system to be assessed. The WURI ranking focuses on 6 criteria: Industrial application, Value-Creating, Social responsibility, ethics and integrity, Student Mobility and Openness, Crisis Management and Progress during the Forth Industrial Revolution. 

UCU, a founding member of the HLU

UCU is a founding of the Hanseatic League of Universities (HLU), an alliance of international universities, colleges, schools, & higher education institutions that seek innovation in research & education under a shared mission of working together to address the real impact of higher education on societies and industries worldwide.

The leadership of the university continues to pursue both local and international partnerships with universities all over the world for the benefit of students, staff, researchers and the broader communities of stakeholders. One notable such is the US-based Council for Christian Colleges, which facilitates UCU’s Uganda Studies Programme, which annual study-abroad opportunities for students from various U.S-based colleges. 


Former UCU student tops Uganda bar examinations

By Pauline Luba
Ordinarily, when a student studies Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics at A’level in Uganda, chances are they will opt to pursue a course in medicine at university. That was not the case with Emmanuel Okia. He says even before he completed A’level, he knew his heart was elsewhere. 

Turning Point

The turning point in Okia’s career journey was a presentation made when he was in high school. For A’level students, Okia’s school, the elite St. Mary’s College, Kisubi in Uganda, invites professionals to explain to students what it means to pursue a career. On the day Okia attended the career talk, Ugandan lawyer Mathias Sekatawa made a mind-blowing presentation, arguing why a career in law was the best that could happen to anyone.

“Sekatawa’s speech is what convinced me to go for a career in law,” Okia said. 

Of the bar course

And he is soon realizing that dream. Okia recently completed his Diploma in Legal Practice at Uganda’s Law Development Center (LDC). At the most recent bar examination that LDC conducted, Okia emerged as the best student, with a Grade Point Average of 4.9 out of 5.0. A bar examination is a written assessment that a student must pass if they are to get a certificate to practice law as an attorney. To practice law in Uganda, all lawyers must acquire a Diploma in Legal Practice.

And what other better way to launch into the law profession than with the man who swayed Okia away from a career in sciences? The 24-year-old has just completed a clerkship in Sekatawa’s law firm, MMAKS Advocates.

Emmanuel Okia often topped the law class.
Emmanuel Okia often topped the law class.

The news of Okia topping his class in the bar examination could easily shadow the fact that his journey to the helm was not as straightforward as many would think. First, he failed to meet the requirements for the pre-entry exams to get admitted for a Bachelor of Laws at Makerere University in Uganda. 

“I had scored (lower) points in UACE, which meant I didn’t qualify for the Makerere pre-entry exams,” Okia said, noting that, however, he was able to sit for the exams at Uganda Christian University (UCU), which he passed. 

During a virtual interview with Uganda Partners, Okia said for a large part of his studies at UCU, he often topped the law class. He recalls spending long hours revising and benefiting from UCU’s arrangement of the lecturer–tutor format of teaching. In the lecturer-tutor set-up, after class with the lecturer, the students would also meet the tutor, who would break down the issues learned and explain how they apply in the practical world. Okia said if one didn’t understand the lecturer, then they would understand the tutor, which was a great aid to overall academic excellence. 

On student/ campus life

He is grateful for the fact that he was able to form close bonds and friendships with classmates he met at the university. From that bond, he was also able to get a fiancée. Okia and Christine Leah were part of the same discussion group and eventually became friends for life – and more. After years of dating, Okia proposed to his fiancée early this year. The two are planning for their marriage later this year. 

He considers his keys to success as the discussions he was involved in and having good lecturers who were also practising lawyers. 

Okia is the son of Alex Okurut, an accountant, and Esther Katalikako, the headteacher of Kakoro Primary School in the eastern Uganda district of Pallisa. He attended Nkonkonjero Primary School and St. Mary’s College Kisubi for his O’ and A-level. Both schools are located in central Uganda. While at Kisubi Okia says he was a leader in many school clubs. At UCU, among the leadership positions he held was being the vice-chairperson of the Moots Committee in 2019. At LDC, he was the student leader in charge of academic affairs. 

As Okia looks forward to contributing to jurisprudence in the country, he also wants to have a firm grip on accounts-related issues. He is currently pursuing a course for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. 

Robot innovators

How UCU Students Created a “Blue Light” to Enhance Road Safety

By Irene Best Nyapendi
A personal, grim reality inspired Uganda Christian University (UCU) student, Anei Agany Mabui, to invent a robot to curb road crashes. 

Students explain “why” the innovation

“One time I took a patient to Mulago hospital, and I couldn’t get a bed for him because most of the beds were occupied by patients from motorcycle accidents,” said Mabui, a South Sudanese student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. “I decided that I needed to do something to think of a solution to reduce the risks of road accidents.”

With the help of two coursemates, Mabui developed the model robot to alleviate collisions at traffic junctions. Mabui, Marvin Kauta and Gary Mathew Nkuraija developed the prototype with equipment that UCU Partners donated to the university’s robotics laboratory.

According to Dr. Olivia Kobusingye, an accident and emergency surgeon, more than 40 per cent of the financial budget allocated to the hospital’s trauma center is spent on treating victims of motorcycle crashes. 

“Our aim is to reduce motorcycle accidents at traffic light junctions in Uganda,” Mabui said.

He observed that at the traffic lights junction, accidents are a result of the mad dash after the lights have turned green for the motorists to go. “There are three colours on the traffic lights, whereby red signifies stop, orange means get ready to move and green signifies move. When the green lights go on, it allows both motorcycles and vehicles to move at the same time, but because of the huge volume, it causes collisions.”

The students reasoned the solution to avoid collisions was adding a fourth traffic light, which is the blue light. “So, when the blue light goes on, it signifies that only motorcycles can move, to avoid congestion of both cars and motorcycles moving at once,” Mabui said.

The project gives a basic idea of how to reduce traffic accidents on major roads and road junctions with traffic lights. The Uganda annual police crime report 2022, registered 20,394 cases of road accidents. Of those, 4,534 died, 15,227 had serious injuries and 1,712 sustained minor other injuries.

The students also derived inspiration for the project from the 11th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) set by the United Nations to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Emmanuel Isabirye, the students’ instructor in charge of innovation, said UCU has a dedicated practical training program and research laboratory for robotics, data science, artificial intelligence and mechatronics. 

One of the robots was developed by the Computing students based at UCU.

“I am so proud and happy to see my students innovate and create an impact in the community,” Isabirye said. He said Mabui, Kauta and Nkurajja hit two birds with one stone: that is the 9th and 11th SDG. The 9th SDG aims at building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.

“We appreciate Uganda Partners for their timely intervention through the donation of equipment,” Isabirye said. “The students have been wanting to experiment with their ideas, but they didn’t have the equipment to make the prototypes”. Isabirye hopes innovations will become a culture for university students before they graduate.

Student innovators are grateful to UCU Partners

UCU Partners donated an assortment of items including sensors like infrared sensors, ultrasonic sensors, led bulbs, batteries, Arduino boards, breadboards, jumper wires, glue and servo motors. The project was entirely a brainchild of the Department of Computing and Technology students. 

“We are implementing what we learnt last semester and through that knowledge, we have come up with something impactful,” Kauta said.

Nkuraija said during their study, they looked at the Kampala-Jinja Road as their case study because of the high number of accidents on the carriageway. During heavy traffic, cars and motorcycles follow each other so closely, many times resulting in accidents. He said with automation, it is possible to ensure a certain level of safety on the road.

“We are basing on improving the traffic light system through using automation to reduce stampedes and accidents on the road,” Nkuraija said.

He called on motorists to embrace the project once it is offered to them, so that the road is safer for them, their passengers and other road users.

The student solution to end fatal crashes on the road is a significant step towards the integration of technology and electronics in pursuit of optimizing limited resources.

Prof Nyende publishes book

UCU professor reinforces need for deep understanding of Bible

By Pauline Luba
Uganda Christian University (UCU) Prof. Peter Nyende’s first love was football. In the 1980s, as a young boy at Kenya’s Jamhuri High School in Nairobi, he was part of the national team that represented the country in the under-14 football competition in South Korea. Nyende’s interest in the game made him harbour intentions of playing it at a professional level. However, his father thought he should pursue a “more serious career.” 

Background & Formation of the Bible Scholar

By the time, as the teenager started his A’levels at Jamhuri, his interest had shifted to economics. However, he says as time went on, he had a deep sense of God’s calling to serve him fully in the church. By 19 years, Nyende was fully committed to serving God in the ministry. While growing up, Nyende was an active member of the church and in the Christian Union in school.

“I felt a deep sense of God’s call in my life,” Nyende related during an Uganda Partners’ interview in his UCU-Mukono campus residence.  “That made me abandon the other ambitions I once had.”

However, when he applied to join a theological school, he was told that he was “too young and too bright” to immediately venture into the priesthood. He was advised to first study something else that he was interested in before joining a theological college. 

The cover photo of Nyende’s new book

The cover photo of Nyende’s new book

Again, Nyende’s father did not approve of his son’s choice of a career in the church over work as an economist. Later, Nyende’s father warmed up to his choice, noting that it must have been God’s plan. Nyende went to Daystar University, also in Kenya, for his undergraduate degree, with a major in Bible studies. He then undertook training at an Anglican college in Nairobi and was ordained in 1998. Thereafter, Nyende obtained a Master of Pastoral Studies from Ridley Hall in Cambridge and a Master in Theology in the New Testament from Edinburgh University. 

Currently, the 53-year-old is an Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology of UCU. He also is a canon in the Anglican Church and a commissioned evangelist with the Church Army Society of Africa. Nyende has an interest in biblical theology and the interpretation of the Bible in African contexts. 

He says the “word of God must make sense in the context of the hearers.” Nyende has to date published 12 research articles and 2 book chapters. This year, he has hit another milestone, with his latest publication, a 288-page book, The Restoration of God’s Dwelling and Kingdom

In the book, published by the UK-based Langham Publishing, Nyende presents the central story of both the Old and New Testaments as the restoration of God’s dwelling and kingdom in the world. “He traces this narrative through its many stages of development — creation and fall, God’s covenants with Israel, exile — to its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus, the church and the new Jerusalem,” says a short profile of the book on the Langham Publishing website. 

Though mainly written for theological students and teachers, the book can be read by anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of the Bible. Nyende says he began writing the book in 2019 and had completed it by December 2022. He was lucky to land a deal with Langham Publishing to have it published in 2023.

From Nairobi to Kampala

For a man who studied, lived and worked in Kenya, how did he end up as an academic at UCU? In 2014, he says he was approached by the Dean of UCU’s Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology to join the university community. Through the Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Uganda, the Archbishop of Kenya was informed of the need for Nyende at UCU. Nyende says when he was informed of the request, he accepted and applied to join the UCU family, which he did in 2015. He says he has been able to witness how the Church supports activities of the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology, enabling the preparation of well-trained pastors.

Prof Nyende publishes book
Prof Nyende inside his study.

As an expert in the interpretation of the Bible, when Uganda Partners asked him how the challenge of the misinterpretation of the Holy Book can be dealt with, Nyende said to properly interpret the Bible, there is a need to understand the context in which a section was written, why it was written and what prompted the writing.  There is also the need to understand the whole Bible as one book. 

“The Bible is one book. One cannot read one book (or a chapter in the book) in isolation from the books before and after if one is to understand the Bible properly. Although it is made up of 66 books, they are interlinked,” Nyende explained. 

Born in Butere town of western Kenya on June 15, 1969, in a family of 10 – seven boys and three girls – Nyende’s academic journey got rocky when his father retired just before he began his university education. However, he says by that time, he was old enough to know that the responsibility of completing school lay with him. He says he made money teaching English privately to students and also raised some funds from friends and the church. 

Nyende has been married to Josephine Njoki Marete for 17 years, and they have two children – 13-year-old Brodie, a student at Vienna College, and six-year-old Arabel, a pupil at Seeta Junior Primary School. Nyende says he visits his home country at least three times a year and usually enjoys the Christmas holidays with members of his extended family there.

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