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Digital Praxis: Young innovators hold first boot camp

By Emmanuel Isabirye

10 student teams have undergone Phase one of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Digital Innovation Praxis Challenge. The phase dubbed ‘Understanding the User’ Ideation Bootcamp took place at the Hamu Mukasa Library, UCU, on Saturday, June 18.

The student teams were trained by digital innovation experts from the UCU Department of Computing and Technology in what is technically called the “structured and human-centered approach”, which involves quick and iterative building and refining of a product/service that would suit the needs of an end consumer.

Emmanuel Isabirye guides one of the student-innovators, Jacqueline Ainabyoona . Photo/ courtesy

During the training, Emmanuel Isabirye, the Co-Team Lead of the UCU Digital Praxis emphasized that “Designing innovations without understanding the user can be socially harmful, time-consuming and cost-inefficient,” he said.

Jacqueline Ainabyoona a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT), who is doing a project in Digital Agriculture says she learned the value of empathy; putting herself in the shoes of the user in crafting her “My farm” solution, which embraces crowd-farming to enable those who cannot afford to set up farms to rear cattle on a shared basis.

Hereafter, the teams will then be guided to do research, analysis & further rethink their innovations. At the end of the first phase, every student team shall have a well-researched problem, a theoretical solution that meets the user’s needs, and a visual sketch of the solution.

Student-innovators learning during the boot camp. Photo/ Courtesy.

Phase two will consist of prototyping and testing, where the teams shall develop a working prototype that innovatively solves the identified problem. The prototype shall be the proof-of-concept from the teams. Hereafter, the teams will advance to stage 3.

In phase three, a widely-publicized event shall be organized for the student teams to pitch their innovative solutions to the identified problems. The three best teams shall be selected and awarded cash gifts to further improve their projects.

The final (fourth) phase will consist of marketing the student’s innovations to attract potential funders for possible scaling up of the innovations.

An illustration chat.

Vice-Chancellor in Norway for NORHED project launch

By Veronica K. Masinde

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi has visited NLA University College in Norway, with a team of academic staff from the School of Journalism, Media and Communication (SJMC), headed by Prof. Monica B. Chibita (the Principal Investigator). The visit is to consolidate the NORHED II partnership between Uganda Christian University (UCU), NLA University College, University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa) and the University of Rwanda.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi (standing), addresses the delegation, during a meeting at NLA University.

A key objective of the visit is to officially launch the NORAD funded project, which will support joint research project teams, improve library and teaching infrastructure; and also, the launch of a Ph.D. degree in Journalism, Media and Communication at UCU, as well as an MA in Journalism and Communication at the University of Rwanda.

The current project is a follow-up on the NORHED I project that ended in 2019, from which UCU through the School, formerly Department of Mass Communication, received a Shs 4.7bn ($1.3 million) grant for staff capacity building.

It must be noted that the UCU SJMC received a grant worth UGX 8.4 billion, under the NORHED II, to start a Ph.D. programme in Communication and media studies in 2022. The PhD will be the first of its kind in Uganda, and the first of a very few within East Africa, to bridge the training gap at that level within the region.

Additionally, the programme will strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in the developing world, to produce higher quality graduates, research and to promote a more inclusive educational landscape.

“This [grant] means a lot to us [as a faculty], UCU and the East Africa Region. A quality Ph.D. programme will ensure quality graduates and will contribute to a robust research culture,” said Prof. Chibita, during an interview she gave the New Vision newspaper, in January 2021, upon UCU winning the grant.

Courtesy of the same grant, the University of Rwanda, has managed to roll out the first Master’s degree in Media and Communication in the country- Rwanda.

Other project team members (from UCU) on the visit include Dr. Annette Kezaabu, the Head of Postgraduate Studies and Research in the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, and Joseph Kiva who is a Lecturer in the same School, and project teams from all the partner universities.

SSRC Symposium at UCU: Scholars speak out on experience

By Jimmy Siyasa

“It can be scary for your work to be criticized by other scholars; you never really outgrow that fear. But we have to be okay with others finding loopholes in your research work.”

Those words constituted the closing remarks of Dr. Emilly Maractho, convener of the 2022 Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) symposium themed “Ideology, Identity and State Formation in East Africa”, held at Uganda Christian University (UCU). Emilly is the Director of Africa Policy Centre (APC) at UCU. She noted that the debates and discussions- laced with incisive criticism of some papers- that ensued during the symposium were crucial and relevant, especially to the scholars who had presented.

Emilly also reminded fellow scholars that academic criticism and/or rejection of one’s research should not be taken in bad faith, but instead, embraced as “cause” for the researcher “to go back and revisit your research”.

The two-day symposium started on February, 24-25, 2022, and attracted scholars from at least four universities including: Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Uganda Martyrs University. They presented various papers, both complete studies and those underway; 14 papers were presented all together, on divergent topics, but all converging at the general theme.

Day two of the symposium started with a percipient keynote address by Prof. Apuuli Phillip Kasaijja, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Makerere University. He dissected the sub-theme “Resource-based Conflicts in Uganda”, crowning his presentation with a call upon the scholars in attendance to work hand in hand with policymakers in order to ensure that their research findings eventually, directly inform policy in the country.

Prof. Apuuli Phillip Kasaijja was a keynote speaker at the symposium. Photo/ Andrew Bugembe.

“People are doing a lot of original research. But it will not be helpful if it does not influence policy. It should be able to…,” said Prof. Kasaijja, arguing that part of the cause of this trend is an ‘unhealthy’ division between academics and politicians. He urged the two to forge common ground for coexistence because the former do research that the latter [ who don’t do research] need [because it is backed by empirical data] to make informed policies make policies.

The air inside the UCU Principals’ hall was rife with upbeat intellectual discourse as the different scholars presented their studies for peer-review, and therefore, scrutiny.

Jimmy Siyasa caught up with some of the scholars to learn their experience from the symposium and reflections on its significance and relevance to Uganda’s academic and policy landscape. [Photos by Andrew Bugembe]

This is a very important conference. I am very grateful to the convener because it is very important for us scholars to meet and share our experiences on our journey as academics, but also on how to impact policy and practice in our country. Other scholars [from other universities] should take the initiative to be part of such arrangements because it is one of the best ways to mentor the younger generation of scholars.

Dr. Resty Naiga, Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Makerere University

The symposium was fantastic and a great opportunity to meet some of the scholars we had taken long without meeting. It was also a good introduction to the research of other scholars and insights from their fields of study. It really rejuvenates and helps us to also shape our own thoughts. I noticed that some of the people here are rich in methodology and different things, although, interestingly, much of the work presented was related. Generally, there was a lot to learn from each presenter. We have left different people challenged to revisit their work and to work harder, while encouraged that they are on the right track. We hope these papers will be published eventually, and the knowledge disseminated because we have agreed on polishing the works for publication.

Dr. Robert Ojambo, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of History and Political Science.Kyambogo University

First of all, I love the UCU environment. Perfect. I thought Makerere was the highlight of everything [a University should be in Africa], but this is a beautiful space [for thinking and studying]. As far as the conversation in the symposium is concerned, I felt at home because the scholarly topics and faces I interacted with were familiar. The debates were top-quality debates. So, I am happy, I enjoyed every bit of it and was not disappointed at any point.

Yosef Sintayehu Jemberie, Ph.D. Candidate at Makerere Social Research Institute (MISR)

Fascinating papers! Fascinating presentations. The keynote today [Day two] was on-point for me. High-level engagement! I was inspired by some of the young people, the students inside the room who were asking very critical questions without feeling intimidated by the PhDs and Professors present. It was good watching some of the students I mentored present papers. When we come together from different backgrounds, we have a larger conversation, otherwise, we are always talking to each other and there is nothing new. For me what excited me was hearing from people coming from elsewhere [other universities]. We should think about organizing research panels in order to generate synergy that often comes in handy when writing grant proposals as a panel as opposed to individual effort.

Dr. Pamela Kanakhwa, Lecturer Department of History, Archaeology, and Heritage Studies at Makerere

This symposium was excellent because it has brought us together, and the focus on “State, security…” was very clear and relevant. The presentations were great and everyone participated. This symposium is going to take us a long way into academia, specifically exiting gaps in the available literature. Most researches were empirical, others desk studies, but were all informing policy and existing gaps we have in knowledge as a country.

Dr. Specioza Twinamatsiko, Lecturer, MUST

For me, this was a fascinating experience. I would like to thank the Africa Policy Centre at UCU for organizing this symposium. My major highlight is the experience of sitting in an interdisciplinary conference: People have different approaches to research. So, this was very fascinating and exciting for me. Secondly, I am happy to have disseminated my finding about the experiences of children living with violent caregivers. I am grateful that I was able to attend.

Herbert Twinamatsiko, Ph.D Candidate, MUST

The symposium brings to us the academic engagement that we have been missing for a long time. It has enabled us to; sit down, discuss, theorize, and think beyond the boundaries, and critic one another’s work. That is my major highlight. It was an opportunity to interact with fellow scholars and I think we should have it more often. It is a platform to speak a common language; when you speak to most of the people out there sometimes, it is like you are speaking Greek; because you are talking about theory, methodology, informing policy, etc. It is like you are speaking to the wrong audience. But here, you are able to engage, wrap your head around concepts and how they can be applied in real life, societies and our community for their betterment.

Dr. Ronald Kalyango Sebba, lecturer in the School of Women and Gender Studies Makerere University

As Africa Policy Centre, this is why we exist; to do research that informs policy and therefore, these were insightful and relevant discussions. I am happy with this meeting and that it happened. I have gotten to meet and know people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their field. I hope that we are not going to stop this conversation here and I look forward to the time when we can have an annual symposium.”

Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho, Director, APC, UCU

Background

The symposium convened the inaugural Uganda Fellows of The Africa Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa (NextGen), both programs of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), courtesy of APC, UCU, which collaborated with the former institution(s). The APC is a Think Tank at UCU which aims at advancing research and evidence-based policies in Africa, whereas the SSRC is an independent, international non-profit organization that fosters innovative research by supporting scholars through its Africa-related programs.

The symposium brings together former Uganda-based grantees of the two programs to present and receive feedback from their peers on their latest research projects. Open to the wider university public, the symposium shall involve paper presentations from the alumni.

UCU clergy reflect on former Archbishop Janani Luwum

Today, February 16, 2022, marks the 45th Anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Janani Luwum. The former Archbishop is celebrated for upholding biblical truth and justice to his very last breath, at a time when standing by the truth was lethal. Jimmy Siyasa caught up with clerics serving at Uganda Christian University (UCU), to reflect on his ministry and Christian legacy:

First, he embodies what it means to have faith with conviction. That someone could die for something that they believe in; justice, biblical truth, faithfulness to the Gospel. That is what we believe he died for. Second, in the face of death at gunpoint, he did not renounce what he stood for. And, whenever we celebrate Janan Luwum, it is an invitation to reevaluate our Christian conviction. As we celebrate him, let us go and be Christians of conviction.

The Rev. Eng. Paul Wasswa Ssembiro- UCU Chaplain
The Rev. Walter Ocen (L) interacts with the Rt. Rev. Henry Luke Orombi (R). Photo/ Jimmy Siyasa

Just like some of his contemporaries of the 20th century such as; Martin Luther King of USA, Maximilian Kolbe of Poland, Dietrich Bonhoeffer of Germany, and Oscar Romero of El Salvador, Janani Luwum demonstrated the need to remain a servant leader even within a life-threatening context. He advocated for social justice and confronted the totalitarian, authoritarian, and narcissistic regime of then the President of the Republic of Uganda Idi Amin Dada. His consistent and persistent love-driven approach to advocacy for the fundamental, inherent human rights and dignity of Ugandans, unfortunately, led to his brutal murder by Amin. Yet, even in his death, Janani’s legacy, service, sacrifice, dedication for the welfare of “others” remains alive, tall and firm. However, the most important question to ask is: How will his legacy affect the present leaders in Uganda and beyond, to advocate for an inclusive, equitable, just, and compassionate society that promotes collective human flourishing rather than egotistical individuals’ flourishing?

The Rev. Walter Ocen- Graduate intern at Chaplaincy attached to UCU School of Medicine

Archbishop Janan Luwum is an outstanding figure and influential leader in the Church of Africa, more so in Uganda. I refer to him as a martyr in the Church of Uganda. Luwum was a suffering servant of prayer and intercession for his Church and the world: He is a servant of peace and cried out to God for peace to reign, even under the brutality of Amin’s reign.
Only a courageous believer like Luwum could stand the face of Amin with outstanding confidence, courage, and faith in God to overcome the evil arrows of the enemy ” Satan” himself. Luwum gives us a picture of how God was ready to use Joshua to lead His people to occupy the land of Canaan (Joshua 1:6&9).
Janan is a figure of peace-making. He never was willing to reveal any persons and sacrifice them to Amin but he gave himself to face death only for others to have peace. The sermon on the mount by Jesus declares blessings for those who are peacemakers and who face persecution (Matt.5:9,10).
We Christian leaders of today should standout have such in Ministry. He teaches us to stand for the truth, and nothing but scriptural truth.
Religious leaders should be faithful to the Word and not accept any bribes or change statements for their selfish desires or due to fear of any brutality or death. Nothing whatsoever should separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:37-39). Therefore, his death on that fateful day became a seed to the Church in Uganda and worldwide, but most importantly, the start of the downfall of Amin and his evil reign. Today, Christians are still being strengthened in the Word because of his testimony.

The Rev. Capt. Esther Wabulo- Church Relations officer

The annual celebration took place at the National Ceremonial Grounds – Kololo, under the theme, Hope beyond affliction (Lamentations 3:21-24). The Most Rev Dr. Stephen Samuel Kaziimba Mugalu, Archbishop of Church of Uganda will be the Main Celebrant while Rt Rev Wilson Kitara the Bishop of Kitgum Diocese will be the leader of Service. His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni the President of the Republic of Uganda was the Chief Guest.

Background

Janani Luwum was born in 1922 in Mucwini, Chua, to Eliya Okello and Aireni Aciro. His father was a convert to Christianity. Janani was sent to school and eventually became a schoolteacher.

In 1948 Janani accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Saviour.  His conversion was so deep that he gave up teaching to join Church ministry full-time.  He became very active in the East African revival movement and became a lay reader, then a deacon, and then a priest in 1956. He taught at Buwalasi Theological College and later became its Principal. In 1969 he was consecrated bishop of Northern and in 1974 Janani Luwum became Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire (Eastern DR Congo).

Archbishop Janani Luwum was killed on February 16, 1977.

Excerpt from Church of Uganda based on the accounts of the Late James Kiefe (American Church biographer), Bp Festo Kivengere, and other recorded testimonials.

Ankrah officially hands over premises to UCU

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU), formally received the Ankrah Foundation premises on February 03, 2022, during a handover ceremony witnessed by a UCU delegation headed by the Vice-Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi. The handover postdates a lease agreement signed earlier in November 2021, between UCU and Ankrah Foundation Limited, currently headed by  Prof. Eleanor Maxine Ankrah, who is the Managing Director of the Foundation. 

As part of the ten-year-long, renewable lease agreement, UCU will now utilize the facilities for various purposes including establishing resource centres, accommodation spaces for students, office spaces, and more. Prof. Mushengyezi who was UCU’s representative signatory also officially received keys to the estates during a handover ceremony held at the home of Professor Maxine, located on Besania hill, Mukono. He noted that the generous offer by Ankrah Foundation would enrich UCU’s service provision to her major stakeholders in many ways and, therefore, was highly appreciated.

Prof. Mushengyezi receives the lease documents from Prof. Eleanor Maxine Ankrah. Photo/ Jimmy Siyasa.

 “Today is a happy day at UCU and at the Ankrah Foundation because we have officially received the property and all the keys and copies of titles to facilitate the transfer of the lease to UCU for 10 years,” he said. 

Prof. Mushengyezi also noted that due to the pivotal role of the couple- Prof. Maxine and her Late husband Canon Ankrah Kodwo in the establishment of various socioeconomic development fora in the Church of Uganda, it is important that UCU- being Church-founded maintains a good relationship with the Foundation. “It is significant for UCU and the Ankrah Foundation to work together so that we can move forward and preserve that vision which was started by Canon Kodwo and Maxine,” he emphasized.

Prof. Maxine mentioned that the partnership with UCU is one sure way to “stay linked to the Church,” an entity that not only her husband cared for so much, but one that both of them desired to serve, as missionaries.

David Mugawe, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Finance and Administration, who spoke on behalf of the rest of the UCU top management delegation assured the Ankrah Foundation management that UCU would exercise good stewardship of their leased property. “As UCU, we are grateful for the partnership. We want to pledge to Professor [Maxine] that we will take care of the property, value it and use it to the glory of God,” Mugawe said. 

UCU intends to renovate and turn into a students’ hostel a section of the estate, which was formerly a hospitality center. Bridget Mugume Mugasira, the Director of Student Affairs at UCU said the facility will offer “excellent accommodation for students”. She added that her office would work hand in hand with the Facilities and Capital Projects Directorate, headed by Eng. David Kivumbi, who was also present, to have it ready for use by Trinity Semester 2022.  “We are immediately starting to renovate the building so that it is available for use in the May Semester. I encourage students to prepare to book rooms there,” she said. 

An interior view of a lounge of the Ankrah facility to be renovated and turned into a guest house. Photo/ Jimmy Siyasa.

Early this year, the University administration appointed Prof. Maxine to serve as a visiting Professor in the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies. The appointment is but one of many courtesies UCU is extending to Prof. Ankrah, not only as part of the agreement but also and most importantly, in honour of her Late husband Canon Kodwo. Together, the couple has, since their arrival in Uganda, contributed significantly to socio-economic development with the Church of Uganda. They did so through various development fora, notably Planning, Development and Rehabilitation (PDR), a project through which they established schools, hospitals, and churches, among other Church-owned facilities.

The Vice-Chancellor believes that Prof. Maxine’s scholarly association to UCU will elevate the University’s profile given her sound, global reputation as a scholar. “With that docket and with the Ankrah Foundation Thinktank, we see her poised to lift the image of UCU worldwide because of her reputation all over the world and her connections,” he noted at the handover.

Prof. Aaron (Centre) and Prof Maxine (L-3rd) pose with the UCU delegation of some of the top management staff, including the DVC for Finance, David Mugawe (L- 2nd), DVC for Academic Affairs, Rev. Assoc. Prof John M. Kitayimbwa (R- 3rd), the DOSA, Bridget K. Mugume (R- 2nd), Director for Facilities and Capital Projects, Eng. David Kivumbi (R- 1st) and the Senior Legal Officer, Samson Wanamboka (L- 1st). Photo/ Jimmy Siyasa.

USP students share UCU experience

Since September 2021, Uganda Christian University (UCU) has welcomed two groups of American students through the Uganda Studies Program (USP). The first group of nine students returned home in December. The second group of 11 students arrived in January 2022. Coming from five North American-based universities, they are studying Global Health (GH) with a Social Work Emphasis (SWE). Their arrival on the Mukono campus in August 2021 followed 18 months that USP was suspended due to Covid-19 concerns and the subsequent lockdown measures that included no in-person learning in Uganda. During a four-month stay, the first smaller-than-usual group of USP students were engaged in more online learning than those from the pre-virus cohorts. Jimmy Siyasa caught up with some of the USP students to learn their expectations and experience, so far.

Yiji Kim

Yiji Kim- Trinity Western University, British Columbia, Canada
“I like all the greens and the animals I have seen. The people are very kind and generous, and the university tries to implement Christian values, whether it be through the dress code or the people and students that attend class here. I hope to learn to be very open and to adapt and later use what I have learned here to shape my future endeavors.”

Kate Miller

Kate Miller- Messiah University, Pennsylvania, from the state of Maryland
“The campus is beautiful. We have met some really nice people and experienced great hospitality. And I hope to learn more about myself and how my own culture influenced me when I see how different this culture is. I have a practicum site I go to and they have been very hospitable and I am learning a lot. I chose UCU because I had heard of the Uganda Studies Program and that they offer great practicum sites, and an opportunity to engage Ugandan culture.”

Sara Max

Sara Max- Wheaton College, Illinois, from the state of Virginia
“The first thing I have noticed is how welcoming and friendly the people are.  It is amazing how beautiful the campus is and how constantly the people [cleaners] are working to keep it clean.

Over my time here I hope to learn how to excel in another culture and how to be comfortable in an environment that is foreign to me.  I also hope to build relationships with Ugandans and to understand their culture. Actually, the main reason I came here was one, to experience a new culture, and secondly, to draw closer to God because I feel like the fullness of his beauty and of his closeness is found in so many cultures, and in turn, learn more about God through Uganda.”

Lydia Liz Rivera

Lydia Liz Rivera- Southeastern University – Florida She is from Puerto Rico, and lives in Florida
“I love that there’s so much diversity; the many tribes, regions and cultures. I really want to learn a language. I am taking Luganda for a class and, hopefully, instead of it being a challenge in itself, it will be a learning experience. I chose my university because I knew they had the USP program. I always wanted to study abroad in an African country, and Uganda stood out for me. I wanted to experience a diversity of cultures.”

Natalia Vander Zanden

Natalia Vander Zanden- Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, and lives in Minnesota
“It’s exciting to be here! I feel privileged to have traveled. I have never been to Africa; it is my first time being out of America. I chose the USP program because I wanted to have a global health perspective in a different country. And, I was also drawn to the fact that UCU is a Christian university. I am from a Christian university back in the US, and so, I wanted to be around as many Christians as I could be.”

Jake Thorsteinson

Jake Thorsteinson – Dordt University, Iowa, from Canada, Alberta
“I chose to study under the USP program because it offers a great cultural experience, where you are pushed into the Ugandan culture and you get to learn as you go. The program is hands-on and highly interactive, unlike others. The other programs that I saw either have more of the North American setting that we are used to or they are a little more limited in interactivity; for instance, they would never let us go out into town shopping, unsupervised.”

Mattie Shoenfeld

Mattie Shoenfeld – Gordon College, Massachusetts, from Kansas
“I am excited to be here because I have been looking forward to studying abroad. I felt like I wanted to be somewhere new, where I wasn’t as comfortable with the culture; where I could also learn something new. And, I like UCU because it has put systems in place to keep us safe from the pandemic.”

Hanna Smith

Hanna Smith- Wheaton College, Illinois, from Arizona
“I have been looking forward to coming here for a long time. I am excited they allowed us to come. I was concerned about how the pandemic in Uganda would impact travel plans and the safety of everyone here. But,I was ready to follow the protocols – wear a mask, and do everything to make me safe. The campus does a great job, making students feel safe here.”

Laura Nagg

Laura Nagg – Wheaton College, Illinois, from Pennsylvania
“For the time we have been here, I have noticed that the people are so hospitable. I like the outdoor part of it. It’s such a beautiful campus, with nice weather; and that we can sit out here and observe nature all the time. Hearing the birds sing in the morning when you wake up is just amazing.”

Allyssa Milligan

Allyssa Milligan – Wheaton College, Illinois, from Illinois
“I am enjoying meeting the people and studying at the university. I love the library. My home institution (Wheaton College) collaborates pretty well with UCU, and that’s how I was able to get connected. I hope to grow in my faith first and get to understand other cultures. I also hope to grow in my knowledge of global health.”

Changing of the guard: UCU Guild Government hands over office

By Israel Kisakye

The 23rd Guild Government of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) has handed over the office to its successors. Outgoing Guild President Agaba Kenneth Amponda handed over a file and other instruments of power, including the stamp of the Office of the UCU Guild President, to the in-coming Guild President, Racheal Sserwadda. On November 24, 2021, Sserwadda was voted into office in a virtual election. 

At the handover ceremony, conducted on January 14, 2022, the outgoing team was given certificates of recognition for their services to the university. The event was graced by Uganda’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and National Guidance, Chris Baryomunsi, who pledged support towards enhancing the university’s ICT services. See the pictorial below.

Uganda’s Minister of ICT and National Guidance. Chris Baryomunsi (left) interacts with UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi (right) and students.
Uganda’s Minister of ICT and National Guidance. Chris Baryomunsi (left) interacts with UCU Vice Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi (right) and students.
UCU staff and Minister Chris Baryomunsi during the launch of the TV screens purchased by the outgoing guild government.
UCU staff and Minister Chris Baryomunsi during the launch of the TV screens purchased by the outgoing guild government.
Minister Chris Baryomunsi hands over the prestigious Orombi Award for outstanding performance to former Guild President Agaba Kenneth Amponda (right) who was accompanied by his mother, Ms. Akankwasa Jackline Kibingo.
Minister Chris Baryomunsi hands over the prestigious Orombi Award for outstanding performance to former Guild President Agaba Kenneth Amponda (right) who was accompanied by his mother, Ms. Akankwasa Jackline Kibingo.
Minister Chris Baryomunsi hands over the Social Change award to former guild minister of finance Musa Ssemakula. The Social Change Award is given to a person who has passionately been committed to making a positive impact in the community.
Minister Chris Baryomunsi hands over the Social Change award to former guild minister of finance Musa Ssemakula. The Social Change Award is given to a person who has passionately been committed to making a positive impact in the community.
The Director of Students Affairs (DOSA), Mrs. Bridget Mugasira, awards a certificate of appreciation to Mercy Kanyesigye, UCU’s former Deputy Minister of Finance.
The Director of Students Affairs (DOSA), Mrs. Bridget Mugasira, awards a certificate of appreciation to Mercy Kanyesigye, UCU’s former Deputy Minister of Finance.
The chaplain, the Rev. Eng. Wasswa Paul Ssembiro, presents a certificate of appreciation to Dorothy Akatukunda, the former Justice of the Tribunal in the outgoing Guild Government.
The chaplain, the Rev. Eng. Wasswa Paul Ssembiro, presents a certificate of appreciation to Dorothy Akatukunda, the former Justice of the Tribunal in the outgoing Guild Government.
Outgoing Guild President Kenneth Amponda presents an award to Vice chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi at the ceremony.
Outgoing Guild President Kenneth Amponda presents an award to Vice-chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi at the ceremony.
Outgoing Guild Government officials at the handover ceremony.
Outgoing Guild Government officials at the handover ceremony.
Minister Chris Baryomunsi (second-right), Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi (second-left), Director of Students Affairs Bridget Mugasira (right) and Agaba Kenneth Amponda (left) arrive for the handover ceremony.
Minister Chris Baryomunsi (second-right), Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi (second-left), Director of Students Affairs Bridget Mugasira (right) and Agaba Kenneth Amponda (left) arrive for the handover ceremony.

Sserwada or Bravo: Who will win the Presidency?

By Brian Muduku Derrick 

With the Guild elections edging closer, the political atmosphere at Uganda Christian University is intensifying with each passing day. Particularly, the fight for Guild President is steep as it has shaped into a battle between a lady and a gentleman.

Mirembe Racheal Sserwadda is vying for Guild Presidency

Mirembe Racheal Sserwadda

She is in her third year pursuing a Bachelor of Law at UCU.  She has a five-point programme by which she hopes to serve students.  From her telling, it will cover: The education system, students’ health, security, accountability within the Guild Government and formidable leadership.”

Sserwadda says that she wants to leave a legacy at the university.” My love to leave a legacy and impact positively on people in the community made me come out and run for this office.” she said. 

Lesson learnt so far: I have had to exercise emotional intelligence as some people are not as welcoming, ” she says. 

Main challenge so far:  The people in the other camp keep shaking tables with unnecessary accusations. Also, trust issues from some people within my camp is a problem,” she says. 

Plan-B: In case she loses, Sserwadda intends to collaborate with the ruling guild government in order to serve the students’ interests. 

Academic background: Sserwadda went to Hormisdallen Primary School and then later to Kings College Budo for her Secondary school education. 

Ayebare Phillip Bravo

Ayebare Phillip Bravo is a student in his third year pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration. He says he intends to continue the legacy left behind by the outgoing guild government. “I looked at the manifesto of Mr Amponda who is the Current Guild President and borrowed some ideas from there,” he says. 

Motivation: My passion to lead and to help others made me stand for this post. 

Ayebare Phillip Bravo is vying for Guild Presidency

Lessons: Ayebare says that he has learnt to relate with people during the campaigns.” One must have a vision. Being on good terms with the community is essential so that they can be helped,” he said. 

He adds that the opposing team has given him some challenges.” They have spread fake rumours about me, but that will not derail me. I shall continue working,” he said. 

Plan-B: Should he lose, Ayebare intends to carry on with life as a student at the university while doing what he can to support the leadership.

Academic background: He went to Greenhill Academy for Primary and later proceeded to Naalya Senior Secondary School.

UCU Chancellor Kaziimba commissions School of Dentistry equipment

By Dalton Mujuni and Jimmy Siyasa
The Most Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Chancellor of Uganda Christian University (UCU), on Thursday, October 21, 2021, commissioned medical equipment donated to the UCU School of Dentistry (SoD) by MidMark.

The commissioning served as an act of appreciation and official acknowledgement of use. More significant, perhaps, is that this ceremony signified that the SoD has overcome the threat of being closed down by regulators who in 2020 cited the facility for inappropriate infrastructure. The SoD’s new state-of-the-art equipment elevates the training facility, enabling it to nurture all-round dentists. 

The UCU Chancellor Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu prays over dental chairs donated by Midmark.
The UCU Chancellor Rt. Rev. Dr. Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu prays over dental chairs donated by Midmark.

In his remarks, Kaziimba expressed gratitude to the management of Mengo Hospital for accepting to house the University’s School of Dentistry. He called for respect towards the dentistry profession, saying whereas dentists do a great job in keeping teeth healthy, in Uganda, dentists are not as respected as other medical professionals and are even sometimes given demeaning nicknames.

At the event, UCU’s Vice Chancellor, Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, said more than $700,000 (over sh2.5b) had been injected into setting up the modern facility. Mushengyezi said the regulator, the National Medical and Dental Practitioner’s Board, recently inspected and declared the school capable of training dental professionals.

Mushengyezi also commended MidMark for donating equipment worth sh1.46b ($397,855)  through UCU Partners, a US-based non-profit charitable organization that raises public awareness about UCU in the United States by seeking material and spiritual support for students through sponsorships.

Kaziimba unveiled the equipment donated by Midmak during the event. The equipment includes dental chairs, Phantom Lab damies, LED dental lights, a separator tank assembly, powervac P7 base, power air oil-less compressors and a Midmark M3 Steam Sterilizer.

“Dental equipment is very expensive, and so to be able to have five dental units, that is a very great boost for us as a School,” says Dr. James Magara, dean, UCU’s SoD. “We are grateful to Midmark for a very generous donation that they gave to us, which is setting us on our way to begin training students in the clinical practice of dentistry.”

Dr. James Magara poses with dentistry school students.
Dr. James Magara poses with dentistry school students.

UCU SoD not only trains native students, but also those from other countries around the continent. The equipment arranged through the Uganda Partners NGO and coming from North America was long awaited when it arrived over the summer. Hence, Dr. Magara believes “the impact of the [Midmark] donation is going to be felt throughout Africa.” 

David Magara (not related to the dean), a fourth-year student of Bachelor of Dental Surgery, said: “This technology makes us unique, compared to students in other institutions, given that we will be equipped with the necessary skills to meet the demand of the international market.” 

The UCU School of Dentistry started in 2018 as a department under the School of Medicine. In 2020, the department morphed into a school of its own. The school currently offers the Bachelor of Dental Surgery, with 24 students and 10 staff members.

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