Since 2001, the Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate in partnership with the Carnegie Cooperation of New York, has supported academically bright girls from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to access university education at Makerere University, thus contributing to the increased undergraduate female students’ enrolment at the University.
In 2012, in addition to the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate got new partners to fund the FSF such as the MS JD Global Education Fund, DFCU Bank, Standard Chartered Bank Limited, Joshua Mugenyi Foundation, some Local Government Districts of Uganda and Individuals of Good Will.
Through this support, over 900 female scholars have graduated and are selflessly serving mother Uganda as Lawyers, Chief Executive Directors, Programme Mangers, Bankers, Lecturers, Teachers, Medical Doctors, Church Ministers, Mothers, Big sisters, Social workers and many others. These ladies are clearly the testimony of what Uganda as a country, Africa as a Continent and they would lose if these girls had failed to access University education due to lack of fees and other support that the Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation has offered since the year 2001.
Numerous bright but socio-economically disadvantaged girls in Uganda still face challenges in accessing higher education. Many girls from less privileged, geographically disadvantaged districts and locations, girls from refugee/displaced communities, ethnic minority groups and girls with various disabilities still face financial challenges in accessing university education.
On 10th March 2018, over 250 alumni of Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation (FSF) turned up for the First Breakfast Meeting to develop a sustainability approach towards the Female Scholarship Foundation as well as propose a way forward on how they can support their fellow socio-economically needy bright girls to attain higher education at Makerere University.
The FSF Alumni Breakfast meetings are among several activities that will be organised prior to an official launch of the Resource Mobilization Campaign dubbed “Drop a Coin and Forever Change a Life”. These meetings are geared towards instilling the spirit of philanthropy among the FSF alumni, maintaining an active and periodical engagement of the FSF alumni, tracking alumni progress and status through database updates, encouraging FSF Alumni voluntary commitments to contribute towards the FSF, encouraging FSF Alumni to mobilize people in their networks and reach out to institutions and organisations which can financially support the Foundation towards sustainability.
During the interactive sessions that were held in the Makerere University Main Hall, the FSF Alumni selected an FSF Alumni Executive Committee, chaired by Ms.Adong Agnes who is an FSF Alumni, to oversee the Alumni participation throughout the processes and procedures of realizing the objectives of the Resource Mobilization Campaign in conjunction with the Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate.
This Committee is also responsible for engaging the FSF Alumni in activities that are focused on developing the FSF Alumni Association. In the same meeting, FSF Alumni also proposed various ways that could be utilised to mobilize for resources among which included;
• Revitalising the FSF Alumni Association with specific annual subscription fees
• Making individual FSF Alumni honour pledges
• Instituting mobile telephone lines linked to a bank product for convenient financial donations
• Printing and distribution of flyers and other appropriate information packs about the FSF
• Publication of testimonies of the FSF Alumni
• Mobilizing and reaching out to fellow FSF alumni through cohort-specific leaders
• Encouraging fulfilling individual pledges on either daily, monthly and annually towards the Foundation
• Reaching out to potential funders, sponsors and partners at the local, national regional and international levels
• Upholding accountability and transparency
According to the Ag. Director of the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, Dr.Euzobia Mugisha Baine, in 2017, the Carnegie Corporation of New York together with the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate agreed to develop a strategy for mobilizing resources to sustain the scholarships with the involvement of the FSF Alumni to support additional girls from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to access university education at Makerere University.
“We looked at how the project can sustain itself and we decided to come up with the resource mobilization campaign. I believe we have the numbers from the FSF Alumni and this is one of our greatest strength. We are loved and this equally is strength for us. We have a family and this is gold. Coming together as a family, nothing can fail us. If we decide to take this initiative by the horn as a family we shall succeed. Let us give what we have and support a life. I know each one of us has moved up the ladder but at one point someone somewhere gave a hand. Let us join our hands together for the betterment of our disadvantaged girls,” she said.
So impressed with the immense turn up of the Alumni, the Ag. Director, encouraged scholars to take the lead in the Resource Mobilization Campaign activities when she said, “Your coming is a demonstration of our own strength, we need your support and we need your ideas. However little it is we can make a change. Mobilize resources and give to the cause because you are a living testimony."
Dr.Baine revealed to the scholars that the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate is working on a bank product that can easily be accessed by everyone on their mobile phones from anywhere in the world and be able to fulfil their commitments. She assured the Female Scholarship Foundation Alumni of the University’s commitment to take the project to greater heights. On behalf of the Directorate, Dr.Baine pledged to engage different partners and sponsors.
The Deputy Director (Teaching, Learning/ Research & Innovations) in the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, Ms. Frances Nyachwo appreciated the Alumni for showing interest in brightening the future of their fellow womenfolk. She thanked the FSF Alumni Executive Committee Members for dedicating their time to voluntarily serve the FSF Alumni Association to ensure successful results during the resource mobilization campaign period.
Quoting the famous words of Dr. Loretta Scott, Mr. Eric Tumwesigye noted, ‘‘we cannot help everyone but everyone can help someone”. This initiative starts with us. Before we call for help from someone, lets us have as starting point. We need people to realize that there is a gap when we have at least done something. We therefore invited you as champions of this drive and we trust that you can make an impact that will live in people’s hearts for long,” said Mr. Eric Tumwesigye the Female Scholarship Foundation Desk Officer in the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate.
The fruitful Breakfast Meeting saw the Female Scholarship Foundation Alumni raise over Ug. Shs 37,833,700 Million from individual cash money contributions, pledges, sale of T-Shirts echoing the Resource Mobilisation campaign message, and from auction of a Karimojong item donated by Ms. Lydia Moru an FSF Alumni. In addition, Ms.Kayezu Evelyn pledged to pay full tuition for one academically bright girl from a disadvantaged socio-economic background to access university education at Makerere University for her entire period of study. Ms. Lydia Moru also a Female Scholarship Foundation Alumni pledged to mobilize all the Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation Alumni from the Karamoja Sub-Region, located in Eastern Uganda.
Among the over 250 Female Scholarship Foundation Alumni that turned up for the breakfast meeting, 162 made on spot financial commitments between ranging from Ug. Shs. 60,000 – Ug. Shs. 2,400,000 annual contributions to the Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation.
Article by: Makerere University- Public Relations Office and Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate.