Nearly 1,000 beneficiaries of Makerere University’s Female Scholarship Foundation [FSF] have offered to make regular contributions to finance education of more girls at the institution.
This promise followed a four-hour meeting at Makerere’s main hall in which each of the women explained how getting to the university had impacted on their lives. Speaker after speaker said their studies at university had added value to their lives and those of others.
Betty Nabifo, of St Thomas Aquinas SS in Kawempe, said she had been voted best Mathematics teacher in Wakiso in 2016. Nabifo, who joined Makerere in 2003, revealed that her work had also helped support other Mathematics teachers during in-service workshops, while she had also been able to get her four siblings to university on science programmes.
“I am grateful that I was picked to participate in the scholarship scheme, and I would like to be able to help future students in whatever way,” she said. “I’m preparing a book on Mathematics and a portion of the proceeds should go towards the Female Scholarship Foundation to help more girls join the university.”
Started in 2001, the FSF has seen 1,020 poor but bright women gain admission to the university in various programmes.
Explaining the intricacies of the scheme, the head of the Gender Mainstreaming directorate at Makerere University, Dr Euzobia Baine, said they were keen to expand the scheme to see more women undertake undergraduate studies.
“The need out there is great but we are only able to reach 20 on a fee waiver scheme, each year, while others are supported by the university through internally-generated funds and other schemes,” she said.
The FSF picks two students from each college’s admission list to reach that number. Dr Baine called for more support from alumni, explaining that if at least 1,000 graduates donated Shs 183,000 per year, this would accumulate to Shs 183m, which would support at least 24 students on the scheme.
However, the women offered to expand this further by setting up an alumni association committee to help coordinate them better and spearhead the fundraising. The 14-member committee comprises a representative of each of the years of admission by the FSF.
Subsequently, the graduates raised Shs 811,000 through a pledge bag and Shs 302,500 in an auction of a piece of clothing from Karamoja. There was also a pledge of Shs 500,000, bringing the total to Shs 1.6m in one day.
Commenting on the occasion, Dr Baine said it was a promising start, and more donors would come on board, knowing that the beneficiaries were determined to keep the scheme going to support more students seeking a university education.