The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs. Janet Museveni has thanked the MasterCard Foundation for the support it has provided to Uganda over the years which has enabled many disadvantaged youths to get access to education at various levels, and also for the more inclusive financial services it has enabled across the country.
The First Lady was meeting Reeta Roy the President and CEO of Mastercard Foundation together with Samuel Adela the Programme Manager, Education and Learning at the MasterCard Foundation whom she hosted at State House Nakasero on 4th January 2019. The meeting was also attended by delegations from Makerere University, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
They talked about the various organizations and projects supported by the MasterCard Foundation and how to strengthen the future collaboration and cooperation under the MasterCard’s new Young Africa Works Strategy whose goal is to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to secure dignified and meaningful work.
Mrs. Janet 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.
She highlighted some of the areas that Government of Uganda could partner with Master Card Foundation including training Instructors in Technical Institutes to gain hands on skills so as to effectively offer quality skills development which she said is the current focus of the country. She also advocated for more support to RUFORUM to enable it do more research and strengthen agricultural value chains and markets and to Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity’s Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA) to enable scaling up of the training model on Skills, Production, Enterprise Development and Academics (SPEDA) offered to rural communities and which not only skills the youth but creates jobs for them too.
Mrs. Museveni also requested the MasterCard’s President to consider supporting some NGOs that work with the youth to fight HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and sexuality problems and even those involved in promoting maternal, child and adolescent health.
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 among which are the Scholars Program at Makerere University, RUFORUM’s TAGDev program and Forum for African Women Educationists (FAWE)’s Tertiary Scholarships program.
MasterCard’s President and CEO Reeta Roy said the Canadian Organization now operates in 33 African Countries and that through its partnership with BRAC they have impacted over 1.2 million people in Uganda through education and financial inclusion in the last 10 years.
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”, she said and thanked the leaders in Uganda’s Institutions for working closely with MasterCard to achieve its vision for Africa.
The Education and Sports Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Alex Kakooza thanked MasterCard’s boss for choosing Uganda as one of the countries to invest in. He said that the Skilling Uganda programme aims at matching the skills imparted to the students with those required in the world of work.
The new Chairperson of Makerere University Council Lorna Magara thanked MasterCard’s President for her passion for Africa’s transformation.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University expressed thanks to Mastercard Foundation for lifting the suspension over Makerere University and re-assured them 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-based University, he said the role of Makerere is to help communities come out of Poverty.
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 its President Reeta Roy for the support to African Youths and institutions.
Prof. Kabasa the Principal of Makerere University COVAB said 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). He added that it 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.