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Ladies Running The East African Region

Every year during the week of 8th March, the world celebrates women and some of their biggest accomplishments. In some countries that day is marked with a public holiday and celebrated with awards ceremonies as well as women themed events throughout the week.

In East Africa as we celebrate this wonderful week, it is important that we point out some of the top leading ladies that are putting their individual countries and the region on the map. In no particular order or sector of expertise, here are some of the ladies running East Africa.

Jennifer Semakula Musisi

There was a time when people thought that women were not strong enough to be put into positions of power and authority till ladies like Jennifer were given such positions. She has debunked the myths and fought tooth and nail to bring give Kampala the glow it has acquired. Mrs. Musisi is a force to be reckoned with, a lawyer by profession. Jennifer is an advocate of the high court of Uganda with training in administration and taxation from universities such as George Washington and Harvard. She is the Executive Director of the Kampala City Council Authority, a position she has held and won accolades for since 2011.

Lucy Mbabazi

Even if her story starts as it does with so many Rwandans who were born in Uganda because of the senseless slaughter which led to them being displaced. Lucy is a technopreneur who was resourceful in helping the World Food Program incorporate technology in their relief distribution to refugees in the DRC. She is currently spearheading the mVisa partnership between the Rwandan Government and Visa. Lucy attended the  Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Public Policy.

Mwamvita Makamba

One of the most known leading ladies in Tanzania, Mwamvita has worked her way up with a searing passion after graduating with an MA in International Relations at the University of Dar Es Salaam. She has been working with Vodacom since 2009 and has had several positions till now. Currently, she is the Head of Pan Africa Business Development for Vodacom Business Africa and Vodacom Enterprise Unit for Vodacom Group. Still in Vodacom International Markets, Mwamvita oversees the implementation of Corporate Social Investments and Stakeholder International Relations.

Helen Njoroge

As the founder of Tenders Kenya, Helen is passionate about creating opportunities for women especially with startups as well as employment for the Kenyan youth. Prior to Tenders, Helen was the Coordinator for the Federation of Women Entrepreneur Associations which fueled her fire to work hard and elevate fellow women while at it.

Margaret Blick Kigozi

One of the most influential women in Uganda standing strong for over the years is this doctor, mother and business lady. Dr. Maggie Kigozi as she is commonly known has inspired girls to know that they can always have it all without a lot of work and commitment. She has a degree in Medicine from Makerere University, served as the Managing Director of Crown Beverages then later as the first female Executive Director of the Uganda Investment Authority. The mother of three aspires to improve the lives of women entrepreneurs in the region.

Esther Mbabazi

At 28, Esther is famously known for being the first commercial female pilot in Rwanda. Her dream came to be when she was sponsored by RwandAir to go study in Miami Florida after training at the Soroti Flying School Uganda.

Nancy Kacungira

Her name rings power through the media world and  her TEDx talk has been watched by thousands of people whom she has inspired. Nancy has a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Design and Visual Communications and a Master of Arts (M.A.), Communication & Media Studies from Leeds University. She has worked with some of the best media houses in the region including NTV Uganda, Power FM and currently is an anchor at KTN in Kenya. In 2015, Nancy won the first BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.

There are many more women in the region that deserve to be recognised for all the work they do and their achievements which all can’t fit on a page. Keep celebrating all of them no matter what sector it is they are in.

 

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sudhir Ruparelia Businesses That Positively Changed Lives Of Ugandans

The meteoric rise of businessman Sudhir Ruparelia has been well documented over the years. His rise is one that was driven by passion, pedigree and desire to be a better person.

Born in in 1956 in Kabatoro, Kasese, a small town in western Uganda, Sudhir would overcome the political turmoil of the 1970s under President Idi Amin Dada who expelled all Asians of Indian origins, to become one of the richest men in Africa.

In August 1972, Sudhir who was only 16 relocated to the United Kingdom with his family following the expulsion of Indians by President Amin. While in the UK the youthful Sudhir would craft his business acumen by undertaking odd jobs, working in factories, supermarkets and as a cab driver.

He saved some money and returned to his 'beloved Uganda' in 1985, a few months before President Museveni took leadership of this country. With just $25, 000 he would embark on a journey that saw him establish a business empire that has diligently served this country with earnest.

In various press interviews Sudhir says his first investment project upon his return to Uganda was importing salt and other basic commodities that were lacking in Uganda from Kenya. He later bought properties in Kampala from the profits he made before venturing into selling and importing beer, again from Kenya which had a relatively stable economy.

"It soon occurred to me that the greater profit was in importing beer oneself, so I became the biggest importer of beer to Uganda. You have to remember that none of the Uganda-based beer factories were operating. I imported Tusker from Kenya." Sudhir is quoted in an article that was published in Daily Monitor in October, 2012.

He says the beer business created the cash-flow he needed at the time. But because he was trading in dollars and shillings, he was inspired to start a foreign-exchange business. Crane Forex Bureau was born. He reveals that he was the 'largest dealer in foreign exchange within six months and have remained so until now.'

Sudhir continued to prosper now that economy had been liberalized by the Museveni government. The continued success of his forex business, money lending and financial consultancy saw the birth of Crane Bank, a fully-fledged commercial bank in 1995.

From the birth of Crane Bank, Sudhir has never looked back, rising to be East Africa’s richest man and number 18 in Africa as revealed by US magazine Forbes in 2012. Forbes put Sudhir’s worth at about $1.2billions.

Sudhir under his conglomerate Ruparelia Group of Companies owns businesses in real estate, education, hospitality and entertainment, banking, insurance and financial services and the agriculture sector.

Through these businesses he has uplifted millions of Ugandans through direct and indirect employment, philanthropy, inspiration, business partnerships and many other ways. For the last three decades Sudhir has been one of the largest tax payers.

Crane Bank

In 1995 Sudhir established Crane Bank on Kampala road. The Bank went on to become a major force in the banking industry winning international awards for its contribution to the country’s financial sector.

From a single brank on Kampala road, the bank grew to have 46 branches across the country employing directly about 600 Ugandans and thousands indirectly. It was a major source of credit and loans to many local businesses. As a local bank, it inculcated a saving spirit in many Ugandans which helped them grow financially.

But a turbulent and an inconsistent economic environment saw the bank struggle in 2015 making a reported loss of Ush3bn and increased non-performing loans. Bank of Uganda the regulator of the financial sector later took over its management in 2016 before selling it to DFCU Bank in 2017.

Sudhir also have other investments in the financial sector including Crane Financial Services, Crane Forex Bureau, Karibu Forex Bureau, Redfox Bureau De Change, Stanhope Forex Bureau and an insurance company called Goldstar Insurance Company Limited. These continue to employ and impact many lives of Ugandans.

Hotels and Resorts

Under the Speke Hotel Group, Sudhir has over the years established numerous high end and budget hotels in Kampala, Entebbe, Jinja and other parts of Uganda. These include Kampala Speke Hotel, Kabira Country Club, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Speke Apartments Limited, Tourist Hotel, Speke Resort and Conference Centre, Forest Cottages, Dolphin Suites among others.

The Munyonyo Speke Resort complex is a 5-star Hotel and resort which sits on 76 acres on an idyllic setting at Munyoyo on the shores of Lake Victoria. A report by Ventures Africa says this is easily the most valuable asset in his extensive property portfolio.

The resort has 59 Presidential suites, mainly because in 2007, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting took place there and 59 Heads of state were present.

Other facilities include 10 state-of-the-art conference rooms, including a 1,000-seat ballroom and 9 multi-function meeting rooms accommodating groups of 10 to 300.  The resort also has Uganda’s only Olympic size swimming pool, an equestrian centre and a choice of bars and restaurants.

The collection of these hotels offer employment to Ugandans directly at the hotels as chefs, waiters and waitress and support staff. The hotels also directly consume local agricultural produce from Ugandan farmers.

These hotels offers recreational facilities to Ugandans. Many Ugandans have held their weddings, parties at any of Sudhir hotels, giving them a good time.

Biggest flower grower and exporter

Every venture Sudhir puts his hands onto prospers. Even in agriculture the businessman has enjoyed success. He is the leading grower and exporter of flowers in the country through his Premier Roses and Rosebud, both located in Entebbe, Uganda.

Rosebud Ltd is the country's largest exporter of roses commanding around 40% of Uganda's rose-export market while Premier Roses produces the highest quality cut roses in the world.

Both companies redefined the flower growing business in Uganda by introducing unique technology and utilising modern equipment technology, such as metallic greenhouses, grading hall and leading cold-room facilities, as well as a fully computerised hydroponic irrigation system.

Rosebud’s Ravi Kumar said they export about 15 million flower stems every month and about 150 million stems of flower annually. This contributes millions of shillings in terms of taxes. Sitting on 46 acres, Rosebud employees hundreds of people. The same is said of Premier roses.

Schools and a University

Sudhir has over the years said that his knack for education inspired him to massively invest in quality education. He has a primary school, Kampala Parents School, which follows a local curriculum but is run under international standards. Its good performance has continued to be a benchmark for many schools.

His other international schools Delhi Public International School-Naguru and Kampala International School Kampala (KISU) have established good record offering international curriculums following an investment workth $150m.

Kampala Victoria University has risen from its former shadows to be one of the leading private universities in the country. The Jinja road based University is research driven, attracting schoolars from over 30 countries in the world.

It has the most unique classroom facilities and tools, most of which you can’t find in public universities. With these investments, you cannot ignore Sudhir’s contribution to the education sector.

He has not only employed hundreds of Ugandan teachers but has offered a place for Ugandan children to acquire knowledge and proper career guidance from professional educators.

Real Estate and Property Development

Through Meera Investments Ltd and Crane Management Services Limited (C.M.S.), Sudhir has become the biggest and wealthiest landlord in Kampala. In the decades since its establishment in 1994, Meera Investments, has built a reputation with its innovative ideas in real estate, particularly in property development and construction, throughout Kampala.

Crane Management Services Limited is a highly professional property management company, in operation since 1996. It has a rich asset base and forms part of a financially sound group having diversified business interests. It manages of the Ruparelia properties in the entire country.

These two companies have made Sudhir an enviable property mogul. They have been spearheaded a vast property acquisition and expansion in the recent years. Hundreds of engineers, architects and thousands of manual laborers have been employed by these two companies.

Some of Sudhir’s most known properties in Kampala include Crane Chambers on Kampala Road; City House on Luwum/William Streets; Raja Chambers, Baumann House; Police HQ, and Development House on Parliamentary Avenue; and Platinum House on Market Street.

He has recently added Kampala Boulevard on Kampala road and Speke Apartments on Wampewo avenue adjacent Jinja road.  All buildings that housed the now defunct crane bank belong to him. All his hotels are housed in his properties. He is reporteded to own a quarter of Kampala’s prime land and properties.

Philanthropy

The businessman shares his blessings with the unfortunate Ugandans through his Ruparelia Foundation. The Foundation has undertaken numerous Corporate Social Responsibility activities across the country.

From education, sports, general welfare, poverty eradication, improving livelihoods, supporting the welfare of wildlife and preservation of the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, corporations, with the government, non-governmental organizations and individuals, the Foundation has done it all. 

Is Busoga Tourism Initiative Failing Tourism In Busoga?

Busoga Tourism Initiative was recently named the most active tourism cluster by the organizers of this year’s Ekkula Pearl of Africa Tourism Awards. This however surprised many industry players who believe the tourism cluster has hardly been active ever since it burnt its fingers with everything it touches crumbling as soon as it opens.

Busoga Tourism Initiative has kick started tourism projects like Busoga tourism expo, Kagulu rock climbing challenge and Bishop Hannington Kyando martyrs day celebrations. All these projects died in their infant stages.

When BTI’s inaugural activity, the 2012 Busoga tourism expo, failed to have its second baby step before eventually going into limbo, some gave the cluster a benefit of doubt, thinking it was just a failure on its part to attract back its sponsors.

Indeed, BTI bounced back in 2013 with the Kagulu rock climbing challenge, which was massively attended but went down after its second edition of 2014, which was embroiled in a cash bonanza fight.

This followed President Yoweri Museveni’s pledge of Shs100m, which money was handed over to Mr. Edward Kafufu Baliddawa, BTI’s chairman. The money, which was meant to develop Kagulu, apparently was diverted into other ‘things’, sparking off fights that saw the climbing challenge paused to this date. And Mr. Baliddawa’s BTI has never accounted to the people of Busoga how he spent this money.

Edward Kafufu Baliddawa, BTI’s chairman

Amidst strong criticism, BTI was able to soldier on by organizing the 2014 Bishop Hannington, Kyando, which was the second martyrs’ celebrations organized by the cluster. However, even this hit a dead end that very year when it was discovered that Mr. Baliddawa had allegedly forged a land title for Kyando in the names of BTI. There are similar claims about Kagulu.

Insiders at Busoga Kingdom say Mr Baliddawa was chased from Kyando.  The same people have threatened to take the former MP to court over Kagulu forged land title. This was unearthed after it was discovered that Mr. Baliddawa had clandestinely registered BTI as a personal company.

Previously, BTI had been started as an association that brings together parliamentarians from Busoga to promote their area as a tourism destination. Its leadership had Speaker Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga as the Patron and Mr. Baliddawa, who was the Kigulu North MP, as the chairman.

However, without the knowledge of the Speaker and Busoga parliamentarians, Mr. Baliddawa went ahead to register BTI as a personal company, adding relatives as other directors.

 According to the company file with the registrar of companies, BTI’s directors include Mr. Baliddawa, John Wamulo (Mr. Baliddawa’s uncle), Margret Nandhase (Mr. Baliddawa’s relative), Mawazi Bulagala (Mr. Baliddawa’s relative), Symphony Tours & Travel Ltd (Baliddawa’s company registered with his wife) and Advanced Tours & Travel Ltd (another of Baliddawa’s companies).

This perhaps explains why there has always been a rift between Busoga tourism officials and BTI, with the former preferring to work parallel to BTI activities. In fact, in 2015, when Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) was focused on partnering with regional tourism clusters to develop and promote domestic tourism in the country, it got stuck in Busoga in that an urgent meeting was held on October 21, 2015.

“During the consultative meeting held at Jinja Nile Resort, all stakeholders acknowledged all the work done by BTI and agreed to join this tourism cluster for the development of tourism in the whole of Busoga region, and also endorsed the patron and the chairperson of BTI Hon. Edward Baliddawa.

They made special recommendations as well which included:-

  • Choosing an interim committee ofBTI with a representative from each of the following groups (cultural leaders, district leaders, site owners, hotel owners, tour operators, youths, NGOs & women plus Media). Attached is a list of the said committee.
  • Holding an annual general meeting so that they stakeholders are officially initiated into BTI.
  • Change of the Constitution ofBTI to be all inclusive • They endorsed all the founding members as well.
  • All matters concerning tourism development and promotion in Busoga sub region should be channelled to BTI,” reads a letter written by UTB CEO Stephen Asiimwe to the Speaker and BTI Patron.

“This is therefore to request you Rt. Hon to champion streamline the underlying factors so that we can make budgets and work plans for the next financial year 2016 / 2017.”

BTI’s Baliddawa launched a book but some journalists dragged him to court saying he stole their work

Members of the interim committee included; Simon Kaita, the Jinja tourism officer to represent district leaders, James M. Mbatia, the manager Mada hotels Uganda to represent hoteliers, Nyesigawe R. Johns of Crater Lakes Safaris to represent tour operators, Bulagala Mawazi, to represent the youth, Namansa Juliet Faith to represent NGOs and women, Moses Zikusoka to represent the media, Chief Waguma Yasin to represent cultural leaders, and Godfrey Yuwju to represent tourism site owners.

The committee managed to have its first two meetings at Nile Resort hotel but after they lost enthusiasm after it became clear to them that Mr. Baliddawa wasn’t willing to change BTI’s constitution and make the cluster all embracing. Instead, he was bent on discussing what activities they can do together. Eventually, members lost morale and began boycotting the meetings.

Since the 2014 Bishop Hannington celebrations, BTI has never held any tourism activity while tourism clusters like that of Buganda, Lango and Ankole have been so active.

BTI’s awarding comes at a time when it just recently undusted itself to launch a travel book called the Best of Busoga. But even the book is under contestation after two Ugandan journalists sued Mr. Baliddawa and BTI for copyright infringement.

Details.In their suit filed on January 24 in the Commercial court, Simon Musasizi and Edward Echwalu claim that Baliddawa didn’t write the book, Best of Busoga, as he claims.

Strengthen Agricultural Extension Workers, Leaders In Bunyoro Ask Government

Bunyoro leaders have called on Government to strengthen agricultural extension workers country wide if Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) to make an impact in communities. They claim that OWC workers only distribute seeds and inputs without giving farmers extension guidance.

OWC replaced National Agricultural Advisory Services Organization-NAADS. It was established by President Museveni in July 2013 with a view to eradicate poverty and facilitate growth of household income, mainly through agriculture.

A report on the progress of the program for Bunyoro region presented by the Kibaale district production officer Peter Ssetayi, indicates that the program is facing a lot of challenges which include delayed delivery of inputs, planting of inputs in wetland, lack facilitation and transport for extension workers, inadequate extension works and supply of poor quality inputs among others.

Ssettayi said extension workers are crucial in assisting farmers to make right choices on top of learning new technologies.  The report also indicates that farmers receive little inputs while others do not utilize the inputs they receive.

It further indicates that instead of supplying the inputs to parishes were farmers can easily access them, the inputs are delivered to farmers at the sub county headquarters which are located at a far distance from the beneficiaries.

However, Ethel Bakisula the NAADS senior procurement officer admitted to the challenges but promised that government is working had to address them. She urged different stakeholders monitor and advocate for the program to ensure its progress.

Hoima Residents Irked By Continued Arrest Of Missile Man

By George Busiinge

30-year-old Anatoli Kiiza, a resident of Kiryangobe village in Kitoba sub-county, Hoima district was arrested almost two weeks ago by security operatives in Hoima.Albertine region Police spokesperson, Julius Hakiza told the media that the suspect was detained at Hoima Central Police Station to ascertain the motive behind the manufacture of the said missile.

According to sources, Kiiza was later transferred to the anti-terrorism unit in Naguru, Kampala. This is the second weapon to be invented by Kiiza. The first missile allegedly made by Kiiza was confiscated by police in 2012 as he was planning to test it at Lake Albert.

His mother, Margaret Biferamunda says this was the seventh time his son has been arrested. James Mugenyi Mulindambura, the district councilor for Kigorobya Sub-county and Jackson Wabyona, the Hoima district FDC Chairman, want government to take on Kiiza such that he develops his innovations.

They say that Banyoro used to be inventors but were disorganized by the British colonialists adding that arresting Kiiza signifies that government is not ready to help Banyoro to restore their inventions.

Mulindambura explains that Kiiza is not the first Munyoro to invent such weapons, disclosing that in 1980s one Mwesigwa Mutarama of Kigorobya sub-county in Hoima district was killed by the Milton Obote government after they found him making landmines to support President Museveni’s NRA struggle.

They demanded the Minister of Bunyoro affairs Earnest Kiiza and otherleaders to intervene and help Anatoli meet the president.

Sugar Cane Poaching Threatens Masindi

By George Busiinge

Poaching has traditionally meant the illegal capture of wild animals,but it is now a new word in the sugar industry. Sugar cane poaching has emerged among big sugar millers. It refers to a practice in which emerging millers target established factories by buying sugar cane from out-growers supported by established factories.

Competition over sugar cane had in the past been limited to Busoga region in eastern Uganda where Kakira Sugar Works complained about new millers eating intoits 8,500 out-growers.But other big factories such as Kinyara Sugar in Masindi, western Uganda, face a similar challenge.

The competition has been extended to Masindi with sugar cane beinghauled all the way to sugar mills in Buganda and Busoga. The millers exploiting Kakira, Lugazi and Kinyara factories' out-grower system are reportedly paying morefor sugar cane hauled from Masindi.

It is common for travelers to northern Uganda to encounter long haulage trucks loaded with sugar cane from Masindi. Earthfinds could not reach Kinyara Sugar Limited's Corporate Affairs Manager, Kirunda Magoola, for a comment about the threat to their out-growers. 

But Masindi Resident district Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakuhuma has in the past called for an end to sugar cane poaching. Nyakuhuma said the practice could be a recipe for disaster for Masindi if Kinyara Sugar operations were affected.

Sudhir, Parents Agree On Future Of Kampala Parents School

In an assessment meeting with parents of Kampala Parents School, a primary school based in Naguru, renowned businessman Sudhir Ruparelia, the owner of the school, said the school is focused on maintaining and improving on its performance and is not being swayed by malicious rumors on social media platforms that the school is going to close.

Unverified news on different social media suggested that Sudhir Ruparelia, whose bank, Crane Bank, was sold to dfcu after Bank of Uganda took it over last year, was selling the school due to financial hardships. The businessman in the same meeting told parents that “social media doesn’t run the school” and asked them to only trust “formal memos” from school management.

The businessman who owns Kampala Parents School, Delhi International Public School, Kampala International School and Victoria University Kampala explained that the primary school is managed independently and is in sound health. He asked parents to stop listening and fueling rumors.

“It will go on for many years to come; parents should not be alarmed,” the businessman assured parents whose were concerned that the school is closing at a time when the first term of the year was just commencing. The businessman assured parents that everything is being done to maintain and improve the school academic performance.

How Sudhir acquired Kampala Parents School

Kampala Parents School was the first private school in Uganda according to KasoleBwerere the man who started the school on Namirembe road, Old Kampala. Bwerere started the school in 1975 during the tumultuous days of President Idi Amin. He many years later sold the now prospering and famous school to Sudhir Ruparelia in 2004.

The manner in which Sudhir Ruparelia acquired the school has been questioned over the years with many people suggesting that Ruparelia grabbed the vibrant school when Bwerere failed to pay a loan he had acquired in Crane Bank.

But Bwerere in an interview with EagleOnline explains that it was a mutual transaction for which he was paid fully and in cash.  He denied ever talking to journalists or anybody complaining that Sudhir Ruparelia stole or grabbed his school. He says that he was a willing seller to a willing buyer.

“I went out as a willing seller and Mr. Sudhir (Ruparelia) came out as a willing buyer. Among the three possible buyers, Sudhir had the best offer. He was to pay all the money at once unlike the other two who wanted to complete payment after years; possibly from the fees from my pupils. We sat down (myself and Sudhir) and agreed on terms. He paid me cash… cash down. So all these saying that Sudhir grabbed my school I just don’t have any idea of where they are getting that from.

I never had any loan with Sudhir nor did I own any account in his bank at the time. I only got to know Sudhir through Kasagga who brought him to me as a buyer of the school and he fully paid me. Unfortunately the key witness (the late Zzimwe) is no longer around. However, his friends; Kirumira (Godffrey), Mudunga is close friends are all aware. I don’t demand anything from him. In fact he saved me because I had loans that I had failed to pay the loans.” Bwerere said clearing the air surrounding the transaction.

Gadgets Every Traveler Needs In 2017

There are people that were blessed with intellect that surpasses the ordinary, people that easily see through how something works and create an even better accessory. These very people create gadgets that will make traveling such an easy breezy hat you even forget the fatigue that comes after; some of these gadgets are very important especially when it comes to long journeys. 

Fitness Tracker

You love traveling but also are a regular gym buddy which makes it hard to keep up with your exercise regiment; not all the places you will travel to will have gym access meaning you will need something to keep you on track. Gadgets like fitbit, samsung’s smartwatch, and Apple’s 8th generation iPod Nano are among some of those gadgets fitted with fitness apps which can help you stay on track while traveling. 

Smart Suitcase

Its 2017 so forget about losing your luggage or being told that you over packed your way beyond the flight limit. Of course it being a smart suitcase doesn't mean it will carry itself through the check in section at the airport but it means it will help you charge your phone, tell you what your luggage limit is, only be unlocked by your phone and even make it easy for you to track your property whilst on your journey. You can find these smart suitcases on Amazon. 

Solar Charger

This one of the best inventions one can have especially when traveling to remote areas where it will be hard for you to charge your other vital gadgets such as phones and laptops. Solar chargers are not as new but because very few people realise how important they are. All you need is to put it in the sun for a day and you have charging power for almost a day depending on how many gadgets you have. Be careful not to purchase the roadside ones, look through tech shops and solar energy centers for genuine products. 

E- Readers and Tablets

For anyone who loves reading books, you can go through a 600 page in hours meaning you are going to need a new book to replace the excitement of the previous, so you will need to carry your “preciouses” wherever you go and they can be quite many. E- readers like Kindle can give you over a 1000 books all easily accessible whilst your Tablet can act as a surrogate laptop, camera worktop and phone for any urgent business ideas. These can be easily found in gadget shops around Uganda at variable prices. 

Unlocked Mifi

The growth of social media and other modern communication tools makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your family even if you a thousands of miles away from them. All that needs internet connections and with so many service providers who can avail you with portable mifis, it makes it easy for you to get in touch. It is only easier to move with one across borders if you unlock it. 

Portable Bluetooth Speakers and Headphones

Everyone needs music in their life wherever they go. So why not get yourself portable speakers/ headphones for the time when you need a theme song, maybe going for a run or when you are watching a good movie and need good sound. Check Jumia for the best prices. 

Solar LED Lights

These are so easy to find around Kampala so you do not have to stress yourself on where to find these since they are almost available at every petrol station. These lights can shine can last up to 16 hours if fully charged. 

Smart Padlock

All it needs is an app on your phone and you will be able to secure your luggage as well as track it through the journey. 

Credit: travel.jumia.com

 

Victoria University Focused On Pertinent Knowledge And Skills Transfer, Says Dean Science And Technology

Not many people know Dr. Terry Kahuma as a teacher and academician having rose to national fame as the executive director of Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), a government agency mandated with ensuring that products and services offered to Ugandans are of the right usable quality.

He has however worked with defunct Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) as an engineer in different capacities including taking on managerial roles.

Dr. Kahuma who holds a PHD in engineering started as an assistant lecturer before moving to Nigerian Universities as a lecturer. He now takes on his new role at Dean Faculty Science and Technology at Jinja Road based Victoria University. In the the below he explains his plans for the university and Uganda as a nation. Read on. 

Dr Kahuma, It’s indeed an honour to meet you today. It’s also interesting to know that you are now working with Victoria University. Please share with our readers what you do at Victoria University.

 I am Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology at Victoria University. My responsibility is to ensure that there is efficient and timely transfer of pertinent knowledge and skills to the students to enable them contribute to national growth, while earning themselves a decent livelihood through gainful employment or entrepreneurship and economic self-sufficiency.

I must also ensure that the university obtains value to enable the investment grow steadily, as well as looking after the provision of adequate facilities and remuneration for genuine work performed by the teaching and support staff in accordance to approved policies. My position seeks to build professionalism in the students and an early linkage to industry through internship, as well as supporting research and innovation in the development of viable social, commercial and industrial applications.

What excites you about being at Victoria University?

The university has an excellent location in the Central Business District, making access by students and stakeholders easy using the cheapest means of transport. The building currently hosting the university is beautiful, spacious, meticulously finished with state-of –the –art materials and features, and the overall working environment is lovely and enabling while being secure and modern with appealing décor and upholstery.

It has an enormous underground parking together with clean and functional lifts. In addition, the university has friendly and co-operative staff,  well - equipped laboratories, well-stocked library with ICT operating systems, lecture rooms and offices all of which are essential for serious work and research. All this is exciting as a workplace.

What uniqueness do you bring to the leadership at Victoria University?

A record of work at four universities outside Uganda, field experience in electrical engineering of 10 years in a major parastatal, managerial experience of 10 years as Executive Director of a government agency, and private consulting work of five years. This is a unique mix which give balance between theory, practice and managerial experience at a top level. It will definitely enrich my classroom interaction with my students and my contributions in administrative work towards the growth of the university.

There are a number of other colleges and institutions that offer Computer science and IT. Why should a parent send their child to do the programme at Victoria University

Victoria University has a competitive edge over other universities in three key areas in teaching IT.

Firstly the IT infrastructure is quite extensive, modern and used on a low student ratio, mostly one to one usage mapping, so there is intensive, personalized full-time availability of well-networked and administered computers, which enables quick learning and more complete grasp by the student.

Secondly, the callibre of lecturers is well trained and experienced to deliver the courses, which are IEEE compliant, based on the latest guidelines for degree programmes, developed and agreed by the joint task force on computing curricula within the IEEE computer society. The lectures are delivered in a hassle-free environment using smartboards. All students have a free laptop provided by the university.

Thirdly,  there is a programme of internship under which students are attached to the IT sections of serious enterprises to acquire field experience. This enables our students to appreciate industrial application of systems and software covered in class, and they move on to innovation of more advanced applications due to contact with such experts.

What is the future of ICT?

ICT as a field of study is very secure, and it will gain relevance in all fields of human endeavor in the future. All machinery, manufacturing processes, media systems, health programmes and procedures, entertainment, transport, engineering, warfare, mining, agro-processing, education, sports, communication, supermarkets, policing, research, social interaction, banking, advertising, film  etc are underpinned by systems using ICT to control, protect, calculate, compare, tabulate, synchronise, determine, regulate, report,  etc. Thus a student with qualifications and competence in ICT is assured of opportunities for employment or self-employment for a long time ahead.

Do you have any hopes of offering certified programmes in ICT?

Certainly. Victoria University is determined to equip its students with necessary specialized skills in the ICT and other areas to the highest level in keeping with the needs of industry and the job market.

Share some tips for success for prospective students and their parents

The key to success is realizing the existence of opportunity, and then moving in to grab that opportunity through the acquisition of the following: knowledge, capacity to analyse correctly,  skills, discipline, contacts, exposure, determination, doggedness, broad vision to expand means of attaining objective and avoiding tunnel vision, networking, capacity to bear setbacks and move on, capacity to raise performance targets, keeping with the leading pack.

What is in store for 2017?

2017 will see a broadening of our course coverage to embark on engineering programmes, particularly electrical engineering and telecommunications engineering. The aim of this initiative is to enable Victoria University to enlarge the skills base of our students to serve in wider sectors of the economy where opportunities exist for practical engineering professionals.

We would like our graduates to have skills that remain pertinent to the economic broadening of the economy and to participate in engineering design, operation, construction, repair, installation, maintenance, power system control, generation, transmission, distribution etc. This expansion will happen in other disciplines like health sciences, humanities and business studies as well.

Any closing remarks for our readers?

Victoria University is your university. It shares your vision of a growing and developing nation, and its duty is to train the required manpower for this development. The efforts taken in constructing, manning and equipping this university goes beyond the profit motive. It is an overriding desire to contribute in the development of our country. So I appeal to students and parents to join the VU family, participate in our programmes and together we move the nation forward. Thank you.

We Will Focus On Research - New Victoria University Dean, Faculty Of Health Sciences

Dr. Krishna N. Sharma- New Dean - Faculty of health sciences, Victoria University, Kampala is a renowned academician, celebrity physiotherapist and prolific author. He travels across the world to teach. He is the youngest author to write 120+ books (20+ bestsellers) and holds 3 world records. To know more about him, visit- www.drkrishna.co.in 

You are new to Uganda tell us about yourself?

Well! I am an academician from India. I am basically a physiotherapist who did his Masters and PhD in India. I have been working in Africa for more than three years.

I served as the Dean at St. Louis University, Cameroon and Vice Principal at Jeevan Jyoti Institute of Medical Sciences, India. I joined Victoria University, Kampala Uganda as the Dean- faculty of health sciences.

I have keen interest in teaching, research and writing. I teach in many countries and hold 3 world records for writing more than 120 books and more than 20 bestsellers. My books are available worldwide on various bookstores and online stores like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble etc. 

What excites you about being at Victoria University?

Academic Freedom and a chance to be a part of history! See… Victoria University has a lot of potential. We have one of the best infrastructures and human resource. I hope you have already visited it… and if have not, you must. You will be surprised to experience an international structure right in the heart of the Kampala city. Infact I sent some pictures to my friends abroad and they could not believe that it’s Africa.

So if I am associated with such a university which doesn’t compromise with the quality and gives you an academic freedom to bring up new ideas and allows you to go as far as possible in terms of quality assurance… what else does an academician want? 

What uniqueness do you bring to the leadership at Victoria University?

We are going to work a lot on research and publications. We are upgrading the teaching methodology with the latest schools of thoughts in pedagogy. We will focus on the fruitful research… the research that will bring positive change in Uganda and abroad. This year we will have our own journal and publication so once the students graduate from here, they will already have their published research paper and book. These will give an added value and recognition to them. Apart from this, we are going to move towards online education through our e-academy. We are planning to offer many free courses too as a part of our corporate social responsibility. 

Why should someone study Nursing, Midwifery at Victoria University not elsewhere?  

Instead of telling you why someone shouldn’t study elsewhere, I would rather prefer to tell you why you should study at Victoria University.

When you send your kids to our university, we act like guardians. By the time you leave them on campus, they become our kids and we do everything to shape them from all the aspects. We don’t teach students just to pass the exams or score well, but we prepare them to compete in their field. Honestly speaking, we academicians are not the real evaluators of the student. The real evaluators are the employers. When a student goes in the field to work, at that moment what matters is the performance and not the scores or grade.

Here at Victoria University, we provide quality education in high-tech classes. We provide them free laptops and free internet to experience the international standard and work culture. As I said earlier, our focus is to build up student’s skills and profile to above standard. Imagine a student from elsewhere with just a degree; and a student from Victoria University with a degree, published research papers, published book on his or her name, and couple of international workshops/ seminars/ conferences. I hope, in this case even you yourself would choose Victoria University. 

Is a career in Environmental Health necessary?

This question is like “is a career in military necessary?” See… no matter who we are, the fact is that we all have to live in an environment. As far as we are alive, whatever we touch, breath, eat or drink may bring us trouble. So a healthy environment is our need… we don’t have a choice.  Here come the environmental health experts. They monitor the environment and make sure that it is healthy. Their job includes protecting the environment and community health, testing water and air pollution, inspecting the restaurants and public places, do researches and everything that may concern our environment one way or the other.

The demand for environmental health experts is increasing at the speed of development and urbanization due to the increase in health threats that come with urbanization. At this time, more than 54% of the world population lives in urban areas.  In fact even in Uganda, the level of urbanization last year was 18% and it might increase to 30% by 2030. It is estimated that about 50% of the total Ugandan population will be living in urban areas by 2050. So if you look at these statistics, you will get a broader picture and understand how the demand for environmental health experts is increasing rapidly and how brighter the career in this field is. 

Share some tips for success for prospective students and their parents?

My advice to Students!

Scope is not in the field but in the person. So choose a profession that attracts you and dedicate yourself. Manage your time, forget everything except education for the next few years and trust me, when you finally leave the university… a very bright future would be waiting for you with open arms. So start right now. In West African Pidgin English we say “Today na today”. If you don’t work on your dream today… your dream is not realistic.

For Parents! I would request you to keep your eyes open and spend some time with your kids. Dedicate yourself for their future and don’t compromise in their quality of education. Remember! There is lot of bad influence in society and a quality education is the solution. So if you don’t become your children’s partner in their good dreams… they will be partners in your bad dreams.

What is in store for 2017?

Hard work! This year will have many good and positive activities and achievements. So stay tuned and you will listen our hard work speaking. 

Any closing remarks for our Readers.

I would like to thank them for reading it till the end. At the same time, I would like to cease this opportunity to invite them to the Victoria University campus for a visit and free career counseling. We are currently recruiting for the Jan-Feb so please apply online www.vu.ac.ug.

 

 

 

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