Software engineer’s journey in juggling work, obtaining Masters

By Irene Best Nyapendi
Kenneth Kabinga Musasizi, a lecturer and software engineer at Uganda Christian University (UCU), chose to get a masters degree to expand his proficiency in software engineering and management of enterprise ICT infrastructure.

“I wanted to make a contribution to the body of knowledge,” said Musasizi, who got his advanced degree in IT in July. “I did research on developing architecture that reduces latency in web applications.” 

The best male student in a 2020 undergraduate graduation who started loving computers as an adolescent, Musasizi juggled his Masters studies with teaching as well as software engineering work at UCU.

Kenneth Musasizi was the best male student in 2020 when he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. He started work as a software engineer in 2021.
Kenneth Musasizi was the best male student in 2020 when he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology at UCU. He started work as a software engineer in 2021.

“As a software engineer, every day is like an emergency day, your availability is always imperative,” he said. “So, I carefully structured my engineering job to run from 9 a.m. to around 5 p.m., reserving the crucial hours from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for my academic pursuits.”.

ICT work is critical and integral in the running of a modern university. .

“We always have to make sure everything is perfect every day because there are many people using the ICT system,” he said.

As a software engineer, Musasizi has worked on numerous projects across the world in the domains that include academia, finance, health, science and research.

“I use technology to solve problems in the community,” he said. “That is what we do as software engineers.”

Full-time work while studying was tough, but he was resolute in finding a way to do it all..

“Commencing my day ahead of the usual schedule allowed me to have time for studies without compromising my professional responsibilities,” Musasizi said.

Musasizi’s success journey at UCU

Musasizi commends UCU, specifically his directorate, and workmates for making it easier for him to balance his job and Masters program.

“Since I studied and worked at the same university, I didn’t have to travel to meet my lecturers or to get learning resources,” he said. “I utilized the UCU library and the lecturers around. I was also able to study online with the multifaceted e-learning system of the University.”

Musasizi joined UCU in 2017 for a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. In 2020, he was among the special students who had a physical graduation at the university amidst the COVID-19 lockdown (Only first-class students were allowed in-person attendance on the graduation grounds.). He was awarded the best male student of 2020.

Musasizi started working as a software engineer in 2021. The following year, he started tutoring students. And this year, upon completion of his Masters, became a lecturer.

He fell in love with technology from a young age. At age 14, he had an interest in programming and cyber security.

“As a child, I always loved being on the computer and playing games on it,” he said. I would be on a computer until my parents told me to stop playing and do something else ‘productive.. So, I started learning about cybersecurity and programming.”

Musasizi is passionate about web and mobile development. His focus is on building scalable and high-performance systems using microservices and enterprise architecture.

During his free time, he enjoys exploring the latest trends in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and affective computing. He also searches for opportunities to share his knowledge and experience.

“Whether I am working on a new project or mentoring a team of developers, I strive to continuously learn and grow as a professional,” he said.


Navigating medicine journey with purpose and resilience

In the bustling streets of the Kyebando suburb of Kampala, and under the nurturing gaze of his parents, Mr. Deruku Luiji and Mrs. Asumpta Peace, Candia Godwin Ivan’s journey into the world of medicine began. 

Born in Arua, Uganda, Candia’s early experiences in life were marked by a profound loss when in the capital city suburb at age five. At that tender age, he tragically lost his younger sister to a febrile illness. It was a moment that would shape his destiny and ignite the flames of his commitment to the field of medicine.

Today, Candia stands as a beacon of hope for the people of Arua. A ministerial Policy statement for the Financial Year 2022/23 cited failure “to attract and retain specialized doctors” as a major challenge facing hospitals in the district, namely the Arua Hospital. One reason is that the district is over 300 miles from Kampala, where most professionals prefer to practice due to the vastness of opportunities and also the comparative lucrativeness of the trade.

After graduating as part of the pioneer medicine class of Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Medicine (SoM) in July, the medical doctor has now embarked on his Medical Internship at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH). Candia’s story is one of determination, passion, and a deep-rooted desire to use his skills to transform healthcare and make a lasting impact on his community.

UCU Candia’s Early Influences and Ambitions

From a young age, Candia’s love for medicine was evident. The loss of his sister instilled in him a profound belief that he should dedicate his life to saving lives. As he matured, particularly in his early 20s, his fervor for leveraging social impact to enhance healthcare grew stronger. His passion for medicine was not only a personal calling but also a response to the pressing healthcare needs of his community.

His decision to pursue medicine was influenced by a deep-seated desire to help others and his passion for science, which he recognized as an ever-evolving field. He notes that part of the seed was planted in his high school days at St. Mary’s College Kisubi “which had such a resourceful library.” 

“That is where my love for science grew much more, especially in the biological field,” he said.

If not for medicine, Candia contemplated a career in Software Engineering, a testament to his versatile interests and the breadth of his intellectual curiosity.

Candia’s pursuit for quality medical training brought him to UCU, where he would embark on a rigorous five-year journey filled with challenges and triumphs. He revealed that he had been closely following the law school and based on that success believed the medical school could be the same. 

The rigorous demands of the medical school curriculum meant immense mental energy to maintain this pattern for five years. Candia’s love for learning made the journey more manageable, and he credits his ability to balance his work and social life, as well as engaging in discussions with peers, for making the learning process easier.

In the midst of study rigor, Ivan remembers the weekend activities reserved for some adrenaline rush drawn from watching Premier League football in his hostel room.

Charting a Future in Medicine

Now, as he embarks on his medical internship and plans for the future, Ivan is uncompromising in his commitment to serving his community. His next steps include gaining more experience through work and pursuing a master’s degree in plastic and reconstructive surgery. His vision extends beyond personal success; he aspires to collaborate with other healthcare workers to conduct extensive health education within his hometown of Arua. 

This initiative aims to influence social habits, which are the primary contributors to disease and illness. Candia’s ultimate goal is to ultimately roll out free or at least affordable community health services. 

“If everything proceeds as planned, I intend to organize screening camps and eventually establish a nonprofit health facility to serve the Arua communities,” Candia says. 

Candia’s faith is an essential part of his life and work. As a Christian, he draws inspiration from the teachings of the Bible, where Jesus healed the sick and helped those in need. These teachings drive him, giving him a sense of purpose and meaning in his work as a medical professional.

One notable aspect of Candia’s journey was his leadership role at the UCU School of Medicine (SoM). This experience helped him develop crucial skills, including time management, communication, presentation, confidence, and critical thinking. These skills were instrumental in his academic excellence and continue to shape his professional life as a medical doctor.

Being the first medicine graduate in his family, the story of Candia Godwin Ivan serves as an inspiring testament to the power of determination, purpose, and faith in shaping a future where healthcare reaches the most vulnerable. 


UCU African Diaspora Studies Center in offing

By Irene Best Nyapendi

Fulbright Specialist Scholar, Dr. Afia S. Zakiya, is leading a team charged with establishing the Kodwo E. And E. Maxine Ankrah Center for African Diaspora at Uganda Christian University (UCU). The center, under the Directorate of Postgraduate Studies, will promote the study of the African Diaspora, defined as a population scattered across regions separate from the geographical place of origin.

“I am a daughter of Africa,” Zakiya says. “I am committed to the global liberation of African people and the rescue, restoration, and teaching of our history and culture.” Zakiya was born in Mississippi, with strong roots in the United States’ southern states where  many people of African heritage were formerly enslaved.

She highlights the necessity of African-centered knowledge and education in fields like Africana/Black and Diaspora studies, among other fields, to relay the story of people of African descent from an authentic, historical perspective.

“A request came from UCU to the Fulbright program for support to build the Ankrah Center for African Diaspora studies, along with other tasks, such as reviewing courses,” Zakiya says.

Forging a Path Towards a Vibrant African Diaspora Experience at UCU

The Ankrah Center, named after Professor E. Maxine Ankrah and the late  Lay Canon Kodwo E. Ankrah, serves as a forum to bring persons of African descent together, fostering global connectivity. The Ankrahs worked actively with the Anglican Church in Uganda and taught at Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology and UCU. Ankrah’s desire was that Africa be reclaimed and that all Africans and the Diaspora one day be reconnected.

Dr. Zakiya envisions an evolution in which African minds are decolonized, resulting in the rediscovery of Africa’s history, culture, and interconnectivity. 

She believes there is a need to confront the often-present degrading narrative about African humanity and experiences. The Ankrah Center wants to support endogenous knowledge creation strategies that are grounded in African worldviews, ancient and contemporary as they have evolved in the interest of African people.

“The Center will offer courses, seminars, exchange programs and create a network of partners in Africa and across the Diaspora, and the communities they serve, for UCU students to be involved in throughout the year,” Zakiya says. 

She forecasts a Center that will elevate the study of African history, language and culture.

“It will be exciting for those who become involved with the Center to have the chance to have exchanges — physical and other ways — with those young and older, the elders of the family many don’t know, their lost brothers and sisters from the African Diaspora,” she says, adding that UCU’s African Diaspora studies will be the first of its kind in the country.

During her visit at UCU in July and August, Zakiya said she had a productive collaborative experience.

Zakiya’s pride in African heritage has its roots in her upbringing. She was inspired by her parents — John and Ida Smith — as well as some of the most talented African-centered scholars, activists, and Pan-Africanists.

“They instilled in me a sense of pride in being African and taught me not to feel like I come from an inferior race,” she said. “They inspired me to learn more about who we are as a people, and they instilled in me the need to contribute to the upliftment of our race with an African consciousness.”

Zakiya has lived and worked in over 22 African countries, is a former Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science and works in cultural heritage and ecology. She is eager to use her talents to support new and reclaimed indigenous knowledge for the Ankrah Center.

UCU is reviewing Zakiya’s report with an expected launch of the center in 2024.


The Graduating Students, October 2023. Uganda Christian University.

Dear Sir/Madam,
The Second Part of the Twenty Fourth Congregation of Uganda Christian University for the
purpose of conferment of Degrees and awarding Diplomas will take place at the Main Campus
on Friday, 13th October 2023.
Your eligibility for graduation at this ceremony depends on the following:
(1) Clearance by Wednesday, 4th October 2023 with all the University departments using
the Clearance form from the Academics Block.
(2) Display of your name on the notice Board of the Academic Block, all UCU social media
platforms and website on Thursday, 5th October 2023. (No student’s name will be
displayed before he/she has cleared with all University departments as required in (1)
above and he/she will not be eligible to graduate)
You will be required to pay a Graduation Fee of Ug. sh. 300,000 for Masters and Bachelors
students and Ug. sh. 270,000 for Postgraduate Diplomas and Diploma students, PhD
students shall pay Ug. sh. 950,000. Payment of this fee must be done through the bank.
Your Clearance form and UCU 1D/ Passbook will be required at the faculty/School when
picking your gown and hood and when obtaining your transcript and certificate immediately
after graduation.
Students can pick Academic gowns & hoods from their respective Faculties/Schools starting
from Wednesday, 27th September 2023. For further inquiries contact the reception at the
Academic Affairs office. You are invited to attend Commissioning Service on Thursday, 12th
October 2023 in Nkoyoyo Hall at 2pm.
Students whose results are submitted to the faculty after the Senate Meeting will not be
considered for the October 2023 graduation, but can apply to graduate at the next graduation
in November or December 2023. Students writing their dissertations/field work/project
reports MUST have submitted their final copies for grading by the last day of the semester
Thursday, 17th August 2023.
Ensure that you received and submitted to the office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor for
Academic Affairs a filled copy of the Transcript Information Sheet/form with your correct
names and birth date which will be used on your transcript and certificate by 22nd
September 2023. The same information can be sent directly to the Transcripts Office via mail
(transcripts@ucu.ac.ug). A penalty will be levied for transcripts and certificates returned
for correction due to incorrect names or birth dates provided.

Undergraduate students, who do not graduate due to failed/incomplete courses, must report
& register for those courses at the beginning of the semester in which they are next taught.
They will be required to pay 1/5 of tuition and 1/5 of all other fees; per course. For
Postgraduate students who do not complete their studies by the expected year, a payment of 3/4 of tuition and all other fees must be paid for every extra semester/module at registration
until the maximum time of study.
Be reminded that you have a minimum and maximum time from the year you first registered
in which you must complete your studies, see your Academic Regulations Handbook for
details. Note that you automatically discontinue your studies when the maximum period for
your study expires.

UCU Graduation: Important Dates to Remember

    Prior to picking your certificate and transcript, requirements, please ensure that you have
    complied with the following;
     Possession of a clearance form duly completed and signed. This is available at the
    reception of Academics office
     The graduation fee receipt. Payment of graduation fee can be done at any Stanbic or
    Centenary Bank Branches.
    Picking of documents from the faculties will begin on Friday 13th, October 2023. Please note
    the collection dates here below:
     Tuesday- 11:00am – 3:00 pm
     Wednesday- 11:00am – 3:00 pm
     Thursday 11:00am – 3:00 pm
    (i) Fulfill all the requirements mentioned in 1 above.
    (ii) Bring a duly signed authorization letter, and the ORIGINAL passbook and Identity Card of
    the graduand.
    (iii)Presentation of the ORIGINAL Identity Card of the appointed representative
    The University prints on the certificate and transcript, name(s) as stated on your 0 and A
    level results slips at the time of registration, and Bachelors for the Postgraduate students.
    Any discrepancies in spelling have to be notified to the Central Academic office a month
    before graduation. Please be informed that the original certificate is printed ONCE for
    each graduand and no original replacement will be availed in the event of loss/damage
    after issuance of such document to the graduand.

Certification of the mentioned documents is done at a fee of Ug. Shs. 5,000/= per copy
payable in the bank as shown in l(ii). Original copies MUST always be presented at the time of
request for certification. Also Note that you are NOT SUPPOSED TO RESIZE the certificate
issued to you.

    Any further inquiries can be referred to the following: The Deputy Vice Chancellor’s Office
    Uganda Christian University Tel: +256(0)312350883 Email: registrar@ucu.ac.ug

Accident shattered Okoth’s leg, but not his dreams

By Pauline Luba
When Joshua Okoth was asked about his favorite swimming style, he stared into the sky and, without any hesitation, said: “Freestyle.” He explained further, his choice: “It’s for yourself.” 

Okoth was ushered into swimming first as a pastime. He was 12 years old when he went swimming with some of his childhood friends in Entebbe, central Uganda. Initially, Okoth had no intention of getting into the water. However, his friends encouraged him to do so. Once he gave it a try, he did not look back.

This 3.5-minute video, produced by UCU alum, Chris Mutch, shows Okoth in the pool.

For many who know about Okoth’s life history, seeing him as a swimmer is nothing short of a miracle. At eight years of age, one leg was amputated. Okoth was involved in an accident and the only way for his life to continue was to have the leg removed. When that was done, to many, they thought his life would be confined to a wheelchair. But Okoth had other thoughts. With the help of an artificial limb today, he goes about most of his duties.

When he learned how to swim in 2012, it took Okoth another eight years for him to consider taking it up as a competitive sport. He was a student at Nabumali High School in eastern Uganda, when the school opened its swimming pool. 

The 23-year-old remembers being part of the congregation at Nabumali High School when one of the coaches recognized him and asked if he would like to join the swimming team. As expected, he was at first hesitant about the invitation. It took a lot of convincing before he decided to give it a shot. When he did, it took him three weeks to overcome the phobia. Okoth was assigned a special coach who guided him through the basics of swimming in a competition.

And now he is a proud swimmer.

 “I don’t think of anything when I get into the water,” Okoth said, adding: “It’s a game I enjoy.” 

UCU Okoth Aims to Inspire Others Through His Journey

He is constantly inspired by his parents whom he says he wants to make proud, as well as his friends, especially USA acquaintances who keep encouraging him in his pursuit. Okoth says he is who he is because of God’s love. 

Okoth learned how to swim in 2012.
UCU Okoth learned how to swim in 2012.

“I want someone in my condition to know that everything is possible. I dream about a world where the underprivileged are not discriminated against,” says Okoth, a year-one student of Uganda Christian University (UCU), where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance. 

He had initially wanted to study to become a pilot, but Okoth says the high fees for the course turned him away from his earlier dream. He now hopes to qualify as an accountant, so he can practice accountancy in the airlines sector. 

Okoth’s life goal is to see more support offered for people, and, indeed, athletes with disabilities. While growing up, Okoth says he faced many challenges, given his physical disability. Getting to school was hard, he said, because he had to use a wheelchair, yet his family was also in a state of financial instability. Okoth now is an advocate for schools to provide facilitation for students with physical challenges like his, who can bring glory to the institution through sports.

Okoth is the third born of six children of Emmanuel Onyango, a commercial driver, and Aidah Nabulo, a housewife. He attended Vision Nursery and Primary School, Manjasi High School for O’level and Nabumali High School for A’level. All the three schools are in eastern Uganda.


July graduation top male student is social entrepreneur

By Yasiri J. Kasango
Wilson Wanyama, an alumnus of Uganda Christian University (UCU), has long had a desire to be a social entrepreneur. In 2021, when he learned of an undergraduate program known as Bachelor of Development and Social Entrepreneurship, he saw a chance to bump up his dream.

After Bukede College Kachonga for his Ordinary and Advanced Level, Wilson joined Nkumba University for a degree in Business Administration. When attaining his second degree in Development and Social Entrepreneurship at UCU in July, he not only improved his chances of being a successful entrepreneur,  but he excelled above all faculty/school male graduates.  

Wilson Wanyama is the top male student of more than 1,000 of the July 2023 graduating class – the 24th graduation, part 1, at UCU. 

Wilson was already working to elevate Kabale communities in the Kigezi sub-region where he lived. He participated in organizing communities for development.

“All I have been doing was in development circles, supporting communities to develop, caring for the needy, running and managing organizations, mobilizing communities to better themselves,” said Wanyama.

As a result, he thought that his business administration degree did not equip him with the abilities required in his intended sector of community development, and that what he was doing in his community was unrelated.

Wilson had a passion to serve and make change, but lacked certain skills to better  his community. He said he “needed  specific skills in this area of development.” He found those skills in the UCU curriculum within Development and Social Entrepreneurship in the School of Social Sciences. 

“I always wanted to be a social entrepreneur,” said Wanyama. Social entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals, startups and entrepreneurs develop and fund solutions that directly address social issues.

Wanyama’s Journey of Success at UCU

At the July 28 graduation on the UCU Mukono campus, Wanyama was the only degree recipient from the program of Development and Social Entrepreneurship. In five years, he hopes to have his PhD.  

Employed in a private sector position, he balanced work and studies, never missing a single lecture or even coming late for his lectures.

“It’s a personal effort in preparing for what the university was putting before us, receiving what the university had to give us, being attentive to what we required to listen in and also once required to be available,” said Wanyama.

“I had a portion time for work and studies and avail myself whenever I was needed,” Wanyama said. “Therefore, planning was key in achieving success in both areas.”

Wanyama says UCU lived up to its stellar reputation for quality learning and job marketability. He applauded UCU for the institution’s values and culture, validating his choice to enroll and encouraging others to do the same.


Eritrean emerged as the best performing student at UCU

By Kefa Senoga
Yohana Eyob Ghebrekristos always held the notion that her dream would not become a reality through magic, but rather, by sweat, determination and hard work. She has had dreams of a career in dental surgery. 

She is one of nine pioneer students of Bachelor of Dental Surgery at Uganda Christian University (UCU) where she emerged as the overall best student out of 1,006 students at the previous graduation. She had a CGPA of 4.71 of 5.0.

Yohana began university studies from her home country, Eritrea. However, due to some difficulties at her university in 2018, she traveled more than 1,000 miles to relocate to Uganda to cement her dream.

Yohana dressed in her medical attire.

“I studied at the Orotta School of Medicine and Dentistry for a couple of years, but due to some challenges that our school was going through, I decided to relocate to Uganda to continue with my studies,” Yohana said.

Since arriving in Uganda in 2018, Yohana considered herself fortunate to be admitted at UCU. She shared that she has enjoyed the privilege of being taught by highly trained professionals at UCU.

“I’m so excited and extremely honored to be the best performing student,” Yohana said. “UCU has been amazing, and I was very fortunate to join this esteemed institution. Its reputation of producing well-rounded professionals really attracted me to UCU.”

She appreciates the university for equipping her with both academic knowledge and spiritual values that she believes will guide her as she ventures into the working world. Yohana says UCU has also provided an opportunity for her to grow in her faith. 

As a dentist, Yohana notes that it is her role to identify a gap in relation to oral health literacy in the community and then use every opportunity to educate the community about oral hygiene, noting that scholars have affirmed that good oral health leads to good general health.

Looking ahead, Yohana aspires to specialize in orthodontics and dental surgery, with hope of opening up a dental clinic to serve underprivileged communities.

Yohana’s Advice to UCU Aspiring Medical Professionals

Yohana with her parents and siblings on the graduation day at UCU
Yohana with her parents and siblings on the graduation day at UCU

To her fellow students in the medical field, Yohana offered valuable advice, emphasizing that the medical profession requires unwavering hard work, determination, and sacrifice.

“Don’t underestimate the course; it’s a journey that demands your best effort. And in the end, the rewards will be worth it,” she urged.

As Yohana eagerly awaits her internship, her father, Eyob Ghebrekristos, expressed immeasurable joy and excitement upon her accomplishment.

“We are so excited and proud of Yohana, and we all came from the United States to be here and celebrate Yohana’s graduation,” he said.

He believes this was possible because of Yohana’s nature of hard work and discipline together with support from the family.


School of Business organizes entrepreneurship camps

By Kefa Senoga
In a bid to instill a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship among students, the Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Business (SoB) has introduced an International Entrepreneurship Summer Camp to understand what it means to do business in Uganda. 

According to Aston Aryamanya, one of the coordinators of the program, the camp was initiated as a result of UCU’s collaboration with Hanze University in the Netherlands. He said the camp is fully funded by the Hanze University Foundation.

Christa Oluka addressing participants at the opening of the camp
UCU Christa Oluka addressing participants at the opening of the camp

“One of the key areas of our collaboration with Hanze is entrepreneurship and promoting practical skills; this is where the idea of starting up this camp emerged,” says Aryamanya, a lecturer in UCU SoB.

From the ideation stage, Aryamanya said SoB has been working with the team from Hanze. However, for this particular camp, the students from Hanze will not participate, though they will be expected in the subsequent ones. 

To get the students to participate in the camp, which took place from August 21 to September 1, a call was sent out to those in SoB to submit proposals, which they had to defend before a select committee.  

UCU Nurtures Business Talent

Out of the exercise, 17 students were selected, with representatives from all courses in SoB —Business Administration, Human Resource, International Business, Tourism, Procurement, Accounting and Finance, Economics and Statistics.

Aryamanya said at the end of the camp, held on the Mukono campus, all the participating students were expected to come up with bankable and fundable business proposals.

“The key issue we are addressing in this training is educating the students to value their customer or consumer, to get to know what they need, what their problems are and how they can be addressed,” Aryamanya explained. 

At the camp, the students were expected to visit the country’s body in charge of investment, the Uganda Investment Authority, to understand the policies that govern doing business in Uganda. Experts from the country’s business registration agency, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) were also lined up to talk to the students about patent rights, copyrights and registration. Also, the students were expected to visit the country’s taxman, Uganda Revenue Authority, as well as the Uganda Industrial Research Institute for further mentorship.

Some participants during camp sessions.
Some participants during camp sessions at UCU

While addressing the participating students and the SoB staff during the opening of the camp at the UCU business hub, Christa Oluka, the Director of Academic Affairs at UCU, asked the participants to embrace the opportunity provided to them at the training if they wanted to create, and not seek jobs. 

Oluka urged the team to find ways of solving community challenges without necessarily duplicating what already exists. She expressed optimism that future camps will involve students from beyond SoB to be able to help them embrace the idea of entrepreneurship.

The Associate Dean of the SoB, Elsie Nsiyona, asked the students to identify what they have so that they can beverage their competitive advantage. 

Bulya Maria Anthony Cindy, one of the students who attended the camp, noted that she expected to learn a lot about the processes of business development and to be guided on the journey of generating ideas and bringing them to life.

Brian Muwanguzi, another student, expressed excitement about the diverse opportunities the program offers. He noted: “This kind of program allows us to explore various sectors and uncover unique ideas.”

Early this year, top managers from UCU and Hanze signed a partnership that was expected to lead to the setting up of an innovation hub at the UCU main campus in Mukono. 

At the event, Vincent Kisenyi, the Dean of the UCU SoB, said the hub would widen the school’s scope of operation in training and empowering students by creating an avenue of engaging with the outside community.

In April last year, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the UCU Vice Chancellor, visited Hanze University, where he established stronger ties with the institution’s administration.


‘UCU made me a full package doctor`

By Irene Best Nyapendi
Studying a course for five years is not for the faint hearted. The 23-year-old Beatrice Birungi is one of the 45 tenacious students who pioneered the grueling Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery training at Uganda Christian University (UCU), completing it this year.

Birungi was overjoyed as she graduated at the UCU Mukono campus on July 28. 

Graduating as a doctor was a dream come true for Birungi. Since her childhood, she has always thought doctors were “cool,” and now she is one of them.

However, being a doctor meant more to her as she grew up seeing her uncle save lives during the Ebola pandemic in Bundibugyo (2007-2008), western Uganda. She aspired to be like her uncle and work on the front line to save lives and make a difference.

Birungi narrates her journey as a UCU Medical student

When Birungi had just joined SoM in 2018, everything was new and complicated during that first year. She was encouraged to join discussion groups to help her discuss and process the concepts with her colleagues, which greatly helped her. 

In 2020, Birungi lost a father and a close aunt, increasing difficulties. 

“My father was the breadwinner. He catered for all my tuition and other fees, as well as upkeep. There were struggles along the way after he died,” she said. “It was hard getting over the loss of my father, but my classmates helped me to overcome it.” 

Despite obstacles of finances and grief, she remained focused on her studies. When she finally saw her name on the graduation list, she felt triumphant. She scooped a first-class degree, with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 4.64 out of 5.0.

“I was more than excited when I saw my name on the graduation list. When I showed my mother, joy continued to flow as she also called other members of the family to inform them that I was graduating,” she said.

Birungi believes the School has made her “a full package doctor” who will give her patients “both physical and spiritual healing.”

“At UCU, I was given a holistic education through some of the foundation studies, such as Understanding World Views,” she said. “They literally made me a full-package doctor—they not only gave me medical knowledge but also knowledge about the real world and the spiritual aspect.”

She sees her profession as an opportunity to preach the gospel during her interactions with patients. She hopes to use the conversations to share the gospel as well.

Birungi, once shy, believes that by helping her patients know Christ, she will have a bigger impact on them because once they believe in Jesus, they will understand that He can heal them.

“I want to make an impact by bringing the spiritual side of medicine to the world,” she said. “I want to help others see Christ in the way I treat, talk, and work with patients.”

It was through chats that she learned that people can smile in the midst of medical healing.

She said she will be “a healer not only for the physical but the spiritual as well.”

Birungi said the first thing she does when she receives a patient is talk to God. 

“Usually when I receive a patient, I say, God, I know I have a lot of knowledge in this brain, please help me organize it so that I can help this person,” she said. “I know it’s you who can actually heal them. Then I start attending to the patient.”

Her memorable moments at UCU SoM, which is based in Kampala, include participating in the sports gala and community worship away from the busy hours in class. She gives attribution to many.

IMG 0451 2
Birungi having a light moment with Travor Wasswa a few hours before the UCU commissioning service.

“Above all, I attribute special thanks to God, my family, and my classmate Travor Wasswa, who always took time to discuss with me. This greatly boosted my academic performance,” Birungi said.


Former UCU guild president returns to study theology

By Pauline Luba
Uganda Christian University (UCU) student, Philip Mugume Baitwa, attests to the fact that life is  partly made by the caliber of friends we choose.

At 15 years of age, and while a student of Mbarara High School in western Uganda, Baitwa sought to befriend classmates who he thought would inspire him to social and academic heights. He succeeded in making friends, but did not succeed in gaining positively from the friendships. 

Influenced by substance abuse, pornography addiction and juvenile delinquency, Baitwa says he was violent and a bully by senior four. He led many student strikes at school.  

“I was lost,” said Baitwa, who was raised by a Christian grandfather, a canon in the Anglican Church in Uganda. While engaged in negative life choices, Baitwa said there were times he felt uncomfortable that he had separated himself from the religious teachings that his grandfather emphasized. 

“Every time I was lost, there was a voice in my head telling me I was in the wrong, though I ignored it,” Baitwa said.

How He Discovered His Calling in Divinity at UCU

The 34-year-old eventually listened to the voice that was showing him the right path. He is now a year-three student pursuing a Master of Divinity degree at UCU.

He said his turning point came when he joined Valley College High School in western Uganda for A’level after many people spoke to him about changing his ways for the better. 

In 2010, Baitwa joined UCU to pursue a Bachelor of Laws, a course he says was largely influenced by his father’s desire.

“My father did not study his dream course — law — unlike his brothers,” Baitwa said. “And that saddened him. Someone, however, told him that if he got a son one day, he could live his dream in his son.” Baitwa’s father, Enoch Tumusiime Baitwa, instead studied a certificate course in veterinary medicine. 

Upon admission in 2010, Baitwa already had it in his mind to contest for the position of Guild President at UCU. He had been a student leader before. While in Kitwe Town Primary School in western Uganda, Baitwa was a time-keeper, health leader and eventually became the school’s top leader. 

In 2013, he was successful in the guild elections. One memorable thing about Baitwa’s leadership was changing the semester for voting for student leaders at UCU from January–May to September–December. And to justify the change, the Baitwas reasoned that in the January-May semester, many of the students are either on holiday or in internships so they would not participate in the voting of their leaders. They, thus, preferred the September-December semester, that had every student at school.  

After graduating from his law course in 2014, it did not take Baitwa long to realize that despite the law degree, his heart was elsewhere. “I didn’t like sitting behind a computer for long. I’m an outgoing person and I like to socialize,” Baitwa said.

In 2020, Baitwa said he experienced what many describe as the “call to Christ.” He began to have constant communication within himself, directing himself towards Christ and the service of God. Finally, in 2021, he returned to UCU to study divinity. 

Many friends and family members, however, rebuked him for the decision, with some calling it “foolish.” Even some of his church leaders, he said, could not readily believe the decision he had taken. 

“Theology is the queen of all subjects,” Baitwa said of the reason for the switch.  “We see it in all other courses. The legal framework is from the Bible.”

Baitwa hopes to combine his knowledge of the law with that of divinity once he graduates, to be able to “fill the legal gaps in church.” The father of three children — three years, one year and a three-month old baby — says his ultimate life goal is to see people live for God’s purpose, regardless of what career they are pursuing.

To give his family a livelihood during the time he is in school, Baitwa trained his wife — Peace Mugume — on how to handle investments and how to run the family farm.

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