Reeta Roy the President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation on 4th January 2019 met a delegation from Makerere University, RUFORUM and Ministry of Education and Sports at the State House, Nakasero, Uganda. The convener of the meeting was the First Lady of the Republic of Uganda who is also the Minister of Education and Sports.
In her welcome remarks to Reeta Roy, the First Lady Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni thanked MasterCard Foundation, through the President and CEO, for investing significantly into the Ugandan economy through the various Organisations and projects that that the Foundation supports such as; The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) under the TAGDev Program, Makerere University under Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) under the Tertiary Scholarships, among many others.
Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni said that the MasterCard vision feeds into the general policies of the Government of Uganda and that the Government’s strategic plan of Skilling Uganda is in line with the Mastercard Foundation’s “Young Africa Works” strategy which was launched in Kigali, Rwanda in 2018, announcing an ambitious goal to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to secure dignified and meaningful work.
The MasterCard Foundation is a funder, a convener, and a catalyst for change. The Foundation believes that the change will be driven from within the continent and in particular at country level by the character, hard work, and ingenuity of the people on the continent. The Foundation has made significant investments in Uganda a total of approximately US$336.9 million directly and in part to Uganda through 24 projects running in Uganda.
In his remarks, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu the Executive Secretary of RUFORUM thanked the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports for hosting the RUFORUM Secretariat, a network of 105 Universities in 37 African Countries, at Makerere University. He said that, through the support from Mastercard Foundation, RUFORUM has been able to Pilot new models of agricultural education and entrepreneurship training at two partner universities (Gulu and Egerton) and TVETs, scaling successful approaches across the RUFORUM member universities in Africa. In total US$27 million dollars has been invested in the eight year TAGDev project at RUFORUM with eight million dollars going directly into the programme in Uganda. He thanked the Foundation through Reeta Roy for the support to African Youths and institutions.
On his part, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University expressed thanks to Mastercard Foundation for lifting the suspension over Makerere University, and re-assured Reeta Roy that with the new measures in place, female students will be safe at the University. He acknowledged that it is in the best interest of the University to have more girls attain university Education. He also noted that more than 30% of faculty staff at Makerere are female and that through the affirmative action, the ratio of female students graduating is now higher than that of the male students. Being a community-bassed University, he said the role of Makerere is to help communities come out of Poverty.
The First Lady applauded Makerere University for implementing one of the most successful models that not only skills the youth but creates jobs for them too. The SPEDA model, now in its eighth year, is embedded in five pillars through formal and informal approaches. These pillars are Skills, Production, Enterprise, Development and Accreditation (SPEDA) and they address the third function of the University as stipulated in the 2001 Universities and other Tertiary Institutions Act, to disseminate Knowledge.
Prof. Kabasa the Coordinator of the project said that SPEDA is a model of transformative education which addresses gaps in education and extension systems to transform households from fragmented to businesses. This model uses the skills of the University stakeholders and gives opportunity for it to be rolled out beyond Makerere University because it not only looks at employability but also at job creation among the youth.
Reeta Roy thanked the delegation but specifically the first Lady Hon. Janet Museveni for the warm reception and commitment to changing the plight of the youth through Education. She said that the MasterCard Foundation greatly appreciates the work of its partners who are the source of their Knowledge.
“So much of what we have learnt and tried to address as a Foundation has come from communities with very practical and demand driven challenges” said Reeta Roy as she thanked the delegation for working closely with Mastercard to achieve its vision for Africa.
The Frist Lady concluded by making a call to all partners to continue working together to support a very critical demography in Uganda, the Youth.