Over 1,600 A’level scholarship beneficiaries of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme at BRAC turned up to attend the biannual leadership congress.
The third leadership congress, which was organised by BRAC Uganda is aimed at inculcating transformative leadership concepts into young people, prepare them to be socially responsible and be able to contribute to the economic development of the country.
The three-day event took place at Uganda Martyrs’ SS, Namugongo recently under the theme; Empowering leaders of social good. Leadership role models such as Ethan Musolini, a motivational speaker and young social entrepreneurs such as Esther Kalenzi, Brenda Katwesigye, Eve Zalwango, Elizabeth Kasujja, Stephen Katende, Thomas Nsubuga, Isma Kayiza and Martin Muganzi were brought in to speak to the scholars.
Purpose of the congress
The programme manager of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme at BRAC, Francis Tabu, said the leadership congress is one of the activities under the scholars programme organised after every two years to equip the beneficiaries with leadership skills to prepare them for service to their country.
The programme beneficiaries are those that are academically talented, but economically challenged and come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
About the programme
Tabu said through the programme, the organisation was able to support the leadership development of the beneficiaries through various congresses, leadership camps and support mentoring programme for the students through training of teacher mentors in the 105 schools, where the students are placed.
“We want to inculcate into these young Ugandans certain values that are deep-rooted in them by conviction so that they can apply them in their daily lives to be able to contribute to the social economic transformation of the communities they come from,” he said.
“We want them to use the skills and knowledge acquired while undergoing this programme to go back to their communities and contribute towards solving community problems. This is because they know where the gaps are, the community needs, but we also want them to aspire in professions in which they can meaningfully contribute to change,” Tabu added.
The secondary level scholarship programme is a partnership between Mastercard Foundation, a global foundation based in Toronto, Canada and BRAC. In Uganda, it was rolled out in 2013 and launched by then education minister Jessica Alupo, with the goal of achieving socialeconomic transformation of communities, through provision of high quality education.
The objective is to select 5,000 young Ugandans to access and complete quality secondary education and also be supported to transit into universities. Scholars are given school fees, all scholastic materials and pocket money.
“We have achieved the objective of selecting the beneficiaries, we already have 5,000 scholars on programme, out of these, and four cohorts on the programme have graduated from secondary education. A total of 1,606 students completed their secondary education and currently, we have 3,394 enrolled on the program in the 105 secondary schools,” Tabu added. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
BRAC empowers Ugandans
Founded in 2006, BRAC Uganda is implementing a number of projects across the country, which are greatly impacting the lives of young men and women. Some of these projects are in education, health, financial services and agriculture. The organisation’s operations in the country have grown to 159 branches across 80 districts.
They have more than 213,072 microfinance members and 102 branches of the small enterprise programme. The organisation works with over 3,000 staff, with almost 98% being nationals, few expatriates, and close to 80% are women who hold most of the leadership positions.
Uganda is one of BRAC’s biggest setups outside Bangladesh. The country representative, Hasina Akhter, who has held this position for about one-and half-years, gave Vivian Agaba insights into their different programmes
You have many projects that are contributing to the transformation of lives of Ugandans. What are some of them?
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars programme is one of our biggest education and youth programmes. Apart from the scholarships, we also do youth empowerment programmes, where we work closely with not only young adolescent girls, but also boys.
We provide them with support and life skills as well as alternative livelihoods, particularly girls and young women who dropped out of school or have never been to school. We are also integrating boys known as male champions in several of our livelihood programmes, by first creating linkages between them and the job market.
These trainings are done after thorough market assessment through the balances of demand and supply. This is made possible through partnerships with business owners, already existing government programmes and other development partners and stakeholders. We also provide micro enterprise support to groups, particularly women groups under the youth programme.
We implement the Early Childhood Development Programme, where we target children under the age of five. The programme aims to ensure that children are taught using child-friendly pedagogy of learning through play, and incorporate social and emotional learning with the emphasis on play, make, share and think in safe places referred to as play labs.
BRAC is also dedicated to fight gender-based violence (GBV). We are closely working with the gender ministry and World Bank on the SCOPE project particularly in the project target areas such as Kamwenge and Kabarole.
We are educating the people susceptible to GBV about the dangers, preventive measures and controls of violence. BRAC is reaching out to the possible offenders through information and educational materials on the consequences of GBV. We also provide psycho-social support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence. CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY
How Mastercard Foundation scholarship changed Onzia’s life
By Vivian Agaba
After completing her Senior Four, Judith Eyoa Onzia had no hope of going further with her education. She knew this was the end of her education journey. She had lost her father.
Her mother, who was a peasant could not single-handedly take care of her seven siblings, along with 10 other dependents. To make matters worse, towards the end of every term as examination would get closer, the school would send her home for school fees.
“This lowered my esteem so bad that I had no hope of going further with my education. I was stranded,” she says. “I knew my education journey would end in Senior Four despite being among the top five in my class always,” she added.
But as luck would have it, one afternoon, the school headmistress where Onzia was studying from called her and informed her about the scholarship opportunities at BRAC. Without hesitation, Onzia began chasing and applying for the scholarship and lucky enough, she got it the very first time she applied.
“The moment it was confi rmed I had won the scholarship, I promised to study hard and have since then been on the top of my class,”she says.
She got the scholarship in 2013, joined Makerere High School Migadde, performed well and was able to join Makerere University still on MCF scholarship where she pursued a bachelors degree in Economics and will be graduating in 2019. “My next step is pursuing a Master’s degree in economics and I am looking for a scholarship to go and study. I want to be among the people who make policies which economically infl uence this country. She says the journey has so far been so good. She has taken on leadership roles such as chairperson of the debate club. She also travelled to UK to attend the university summer school and has also developed connections and speaks on conventions.
“My esteem is high. I am always looking out for opportunities to speak to young people who are in bad situations like I used to be, to encourage them to have hope, dream big, always do their best because no one knows what will happen tomorrow or who is watching their story.” CLICK HERE FOR MORE ON THIS STORY