The Jesuit Refugee Service Uganda (JRS) has partnered with Makerere University’s School of Education to provide scholarships to female students. The scholarship starts this academic year with 28 beneficiaries for three years.
Christina Zetlmeisl, the Uganda country director for JRS, said the beneficiaries would be refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable Ugandans. The scholarship covers tuition and functional fees. It also includes dignity fees for items like sanitary pads or special considerations/ needs.
The number of beneficiaries will increase in subsequent years and so shall the package, as the discussions are still continuing. Zetlmeisl said that with more funding from their donors, more categories of support such as language and cultural adaptation assistance for refugees and asylum seekers will be added. She disclosed that JRS conducts free language and cultural adjustment trainings and recreation at Nsambya, Kampala.
“This is still a pilot; though JRS has been in Uganda since 1993, this is the first time we are doing this. We are learning and will continue discussions to improve and add more assistance in the package. We are very flexible,” she assured.
Zetlmeisl signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of JRS at Council Room, Makerere University on December 1, 2022. University secretary Yusuf Kiranda signed on behalf of the university. John Mary Kisembo, the director of urban programme at JRS; Prof Anthony Mugagga Muwagga, the principal, college of Education and External Studies; and Prof Mathias Bwanika Mulumba, the dean of school of Education, signed as witnesses.
Kiranda expressed gratitude to JRS, saying the scholarship boosts Makerere’s corporate social responsibility as an institution that promotes inclusion and diversity. He also presented a short paper on ‘Importance of public-private partnerships in provision of higher education’ in which he argued that even under a PPP arrangement where the private sector brings in relatively higher efficiency, the cost of education as a public good should be met by the state.
Mugagga explained that although JRS is a Catholic organisation, the scholarship will not discriminate against any religious affiliation. The scholarship will not make distinction between students offering arts and those offering sciences; what is important is that the student is training to be a teacher, he added.