Wefarm Connects Over 300,000 Farmers In Kenya And Uganda

Wefarm, the world's largest farmer-to-farmer digital network, has announced that it has reached over 300,000 farmers across East Africa, namely in Kenya and Uganda. There are over 180,000 farmers in Kenya using Wefarm at present.

Wefarm is a free mobile and online service that enables farmers to connect with one another around the world to solve problems, share ideas and spread innovation. 

Approximately 500 million small-scale farmers provide over 70% of the world's food. However, up to 90% have no access to the internet and are often isolated from basic agricultural information and new ideas. Wefarm enables farmers
to share crucial livestock and crop information online and via SMS – without needing the internet and without having to leave their farms.

Wefarm's key innovation is the creation of the world's first crowdsourced peer-to-peer network for offline communities. According to the GSMA, by 2020, 168 million more people will be connected to mobile services in Africa alone. This represents an immense opportunity for rural connectivity. 

To take advantage of this, Wefarm, as announced earlier this year, has partnered with nano satellite technology company Sky & Space Global, a leading global player in both narrowband connectivity services and advanced underserved area communications (AUAC). 

One of the first users to sign up to Wefarm two years ago, Presley Jonah Lang'at, a retired government agricultural officer from Kenya, said  he has answered over 100 questions on Wefarm since joining. 

“Farming is a difficult job and it's important to share our knowledge together as a world community. Wefarm's network has provided me with information that I could not find elsewhere. It has helped my cattle heal faster from disease and has provided me with remedies that optimise milk production for my livestock – I will be a user for life." 

Kenny Ewan, CEO of Wefarm, said they are the first business in the world to have launched an SMS network enabling farmers to access crucial agricultural information from within the global farming community itself. 

“The popularity of our peer-to- peer model proves that farmers are hungry to connect with each other and to share their insights, innovations and challenges. We are proud that Wefarm is providing a service that responds to the needs and wants of the world's small-scale farmers and have made it our mission to connect every farmer in the world who needs information --- online or off. But we won't stop there. Our vision in the coming years is to create a new digital ecosystem of products and services for the 400 billion GBP small-scale agriculture market, made for farmers by farmers." 

Saul Klein, Founder of LocalGlobe and seed investor in Wefarm said Wefarm is exactly the type of domain-specific network that adds real value to its users. 

“Just as Stack Overflow built a community for the 18.5 million developers globally to share their programming knowledge, Wefarm is building a community – and, soon, a new digital ecosystem of products and services – for the world's 500 million small-scale farmers. 

Growing the community to 300,0000 farmers, made up of dense localised clusters in key counties in Kenya and Uganda, is a significant accomplishment. We are excited to see the team now implementing lessons from Kenya in Uganda, which is showing dramatically faster user growth. 300,000 farmer is an important milestone and we look forward to seeing continued growth in the months ahead."

In addition to this milestone, Wefarm has also announced several new partnerships this quarter. Rural Outreach Africa (ROP), Heifer International and TechnoServe have all partnered with Wefarm to bring their farmers into the network, thus extending the benefits of farmer-to-farmer knowledge sharing to their brands.
Wefarm is currently seeking its next round of funding. Current investors include LocalGlobe and Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV). For more information please see below.

Africa Faces Permanent $2bn Maize Deficit If Armyworm Dilemma Is Not Solved

Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) last week said confirmed that Fall Armyworm (FAW) has been reported in 28 African countries, following the pest’s arrival in Africa in 2016, presenting a now permanent agricultural challenge for the continent. FAW feeds on more than 80 crops, but prefers maize and can cut yields by up to 60 per cent.

In research funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), CABI now estimates the pest will cost just ten of the continent’s major maize producing economies in Africa a total of $2.2bn to $5.5bn a year in lost maize harvests - if the pest is not properly managed.

“Enabling our agricultural communities with quick and coordinated responses is now essential, to ensure the continent stays ahead of the plague,” said Dr Joseph DeVries, Vice President – Program Development and Innovation at AGRA.

As countries turn to pesticides to reduce the damage, farmers face the risk of the pest developing resistance to treatment, which has become a widespread problem in the Americas.

Biopesticides are a lower risk control option, but few of the biopesticides used in the Americas are yet to be approved for use in Africa, raising the need for urgent local trials, registration and the development of local production.

“Maize can recover from some damage to the leaves. So when farmers see damaged leaves, it doesn’t necessarily mean they need to control. Research is urgently needed, and a huge awareness and education effort is required so that farmers monitor their fields, and can make decisions on whether and how to control,” said Dr Roger Day, CABI’s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Coordinator.

“There are natural ways farmers can reduce impact, including squashing the eggs or caterpillars when they see them, and maintaining crop diversity in the farm, which encourages natural predators.”

CABI has also warned of the need to address the human health issues raised by any far more extensive use of chemical pesticides. 

“Resource poor farmers are often unwilling or unable to buy the appropriate safety equipment and in some cases they use pesticides without appropriate application equipment. Farmers may also be disinclined to use safety equipment when hot weather makes it extremely uncomfortable. Recognizing that farmers will still want to use pesticides, specific measures are needed to make lower risk biopesticides more accessible,” said Dr Day.

Health Ministry Asks Media To Clear Breastfeeding Myths


By George Busiinge

Tim Mateba, a Senior Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health says there are many myths and cultural beliefs that prevent mothers from exclusively breastfeeding their babies which results to poor child growth.

Mateba also called on mothers to exclusively breastfeed their newly born babies for six months to prevent them from malnutrition which has a negative impact to the social-economic development of the country.

This was last evening at Kolping hotel in a media briefing about breastfeeding week being funded by world vision-Hoima. He challenged employers to avail breastfeeding space to their female workers.

Albert Mugabi, a nutritionist at Hoima regional referral hospital explains that cases of malnutrition in children bellow five years are high. According to him, only 40 percent of the mothers in Hoima exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months.

Dr Joseph Ruyonga, the district health officer said called on different stakeholders like church, cultural leaders, political leaders and others to join the struggle in promoting, supporting and encouraging breastfeeding.

He said a lactating mother is supposed to breastfeed 8 times in a day warning cases of under breastfeeding.

James Mugenyi Mulindambura, the district secretary for health and education challenged the health ministry to move from curative to preventive measures citing use of community cinemas and other platforms to sensitize community on nutrition and breastfeeding.

The Ministry of Health has asked media houses in the country to help it clear myths and misconceptions surrounding exclusive breastfeeding.

Tim Mateba, a Senior Nutritionist in the Ministry of Health says there are many myths and cultural beliefs that prevent mothers from exclusively breastfeeding their babies which results to poor child growth.

Mateba also called on mothers to exclusively breastfeed their newly born babies for six months to prevent them from malnutrition which has a negative impact to the social-economic development of the country.

This was last evening at Kolping hotel in a media briefing about breastfeeding week being funded by world vision-Hoima. He challenged employers to avail breastfeeding space to their female workers.

Albert Mugabi, a nutritionist at Hoima regional referral hospital explains that cases of malnutrition in children bellow five years are high. According to him, only 40 percent of the mothers in Hoima exclusively breastfeed their children for the first six months.

Dr Joseph Ruyonga, the district health officer said called ondifferent stakeholders like church, cultural leaders, political leaders and others to join the struggle in promoting, supporting and encouraging breastfeeding.

He said a lactating mother is supposed to breastfeed 8 times in a day warning cases of under breastfeeding.

James Mugenyi Mulindambura, the district secretary for health and education challenged the health ministry to move from curative to preventive measures citing use of community cinemas and other platforms to sensitize community on nutrition and breastfeeding.

Major Deals To Accelerate Agriculture Prosperity In Africa Agreed

Africa’s economic growth prospects received a major boost this week with the signing of a record number of new investments and partnership agreements for inclusive agricultural transformation at the 2017 Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) last week. 

The forum, hosted by H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d'Ivoire, was attended by more than 1300 delegates and high level dignitaries, including seating and former presidents and other high profile dignitaries.  

The week long Forum, the 7th in a series, focussed on two things; announcement of concrete investments in agricultural businesses and the establishment of new and innovative approaches and partnerships to deliver programmes for greater results.

Embodying this spirit, the forum saw the signing of numerous agreements and business deals that will be key in bringing to life major agricultural transformation commitments including the US$ 30 billion committed at the AGRF in 2016. This charge was led by the African Heads of State present at the forum who were unanimous in their call for urgent action and committed to lead by example. 

“Agriculture is an important sector for our economic growth. Studies show that more than half of poverty reduction is attributable to agricultural development against 10 percent for non-agricultural development. 

This is why we have, in Cote d’Ivoire, gradually increased investments in the sector over the last five years, which has doubled the incomes of farmers and significantly reduced poverty levels,” said the host President, H.E. Alassane Ouattara. 

Hailed as one of the foremost African agriculture champions, President Alassane Ouattara committed to increase his government’s budgetary allocation for the sector to 10 percent, of which US$200 million has already been provided to cocoa and coffee farmers.

“We recognise the paramount importance to us as a people and as a continent to turn agriculture around, to feed ourselves qualitatively and quantitatively. Unless we do that, our people will remain susceptible to hunger and malnutrition,” said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

She further stressed the value of working with the private sector and committed her government to working with business leaders to double the yields of rice farmers.

 “Looking at all the difficulties we are confronted with today and considering this is a major growing sector, we need to work with other Heads of States to develop policies that are coherent and that encourage smallholders to form cooperatives for ease of access to financing.

We need to work in coordination with our peers so that partnerships between the public and the private sector can play a key role in the future of agribusinesess,” said H.E. Komi Selom Klassou, the Prime Minister of Togo.

In his keynote address, Strive Masiyiwa, Chair of the AGRF partners group, stressed the importance of uniting all stakeholders with a shared interest in agricultural development.  “This is an opportunity to mobilise continental leadership and we are honoured to have Heads of State here.  Our mission is about smallholder farmers; and it is about the women who are the main producers of food. 

We work in partnership with governments to realise the vison of a food secure and prosperous Africa. The AGRF partnership mobilises other players, including the private sector, to invest in the continent’s robust agriculture and food sector.  We are calling for global support, not in the form of aid, but in investments to enable our young people to find meaningful employment opportunities.” 

Speaking on behalf of H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, Hon. Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, expressed his country’s renewed support for the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, with a pilot targeting 200,000 of the country’s five million farmers and fisherman in the first year.

The forum heard that great progress had been achieved as part of the US$30 billion worth of political, financial and policy pledges made in support of Africa’s agriculture at the 2016 AGRF.

Key among these was the announcement of the new US$280 million Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

PIATA is an innovative and transformative partnership and financing vehicle to drive inclusive agriculture transformation across the continent to increase incomes and improve the food security of 30 million smallholder farm households in at least 11 African countries by 2021.

The theme of the forum was Accelerating the Path to Prosperity: Growing Inclusive Economies and Jobs through Agriculture, which served as the guiding framework for a total of 52 sessions and more than 300 speakers. 

Throughout the forum, there was great emphasis on the priority areas of increasing the involvement of women and youth in agriculture and agribusiness. Significant deals were also signed by the private, public and NGO sectors.

They included:

  • The European Union, which agreed a new European Consensus for Development Initiative with a value of around US$1.5 billion. This adds to its existing blended finance facilities for Africa and the neighbouring region with an estimated budget of US$2.6 billion to leverage more than $44 billion of investment in Africa until 2020
  • Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) reaffirmed its commitment to the One World No Hunger initiative with €5 billion per year invested in agriculture
  • Yara, the global fertiliser company, dedicated more than $100 million in downstream operations and $130 million to develop a mine in Ethiopia
  • Close to US$6.5 billion worth of investments in palm oil, pulses, potato and rice, mainly in West Africa, were made to cover the next eight years. These included a crowd funding facility to support 10,000 farmers and SMEs with loans of US$100 – US$10,000; a US$500 million infrastructure investment deal to improve access to farms and markets; and a commitment by Mahindra Agribusiness to buy all green grams produced in Africa for processing in a newly built crushing plant in Ethiopia with a capacity of 40,000 tonnes. 

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Hon. Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Cote d’Ivoire’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said, “President Ouattara does not make these types of commitments lightly, and you have his assurance that we will make all of the necessary efforts required to implement the recommendations of this vital forum.” 

“This week has shown what can be achieved when countries across Africa come together and collaborate with all partners including the private sector,” said Commissioner Josefa Sacko. 

“At the moment, as a continent we rely too heavily on external resources to meet our food needs.  The potential within Africa means that this doesn't need to be the case for future generations. By helping to provide the millions of small holder farmers, so many of whom are women, with access to the funding and expertise they need, we can help them thrive not just as subsistence farmers but as successful business people across the region," she added. 

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), ended the forum with a stirring call to action that brought home to delegates how agricultural transformation not only changes farming, but remains the best bet for Africa’s prosperity. 

“An inclusive agricultural transformation will address many of the continent’s biggest problems.  For example, agriculture can fill the economic growth gap created by falling commodity prices; create high productivity jobs for young people as an alternative to migration to Europe; improve the livelihoods of farmers to move from subsistence occupations to viable businesses; and create a globally competitive agriculture and agribusiness sector to produce the high value processed foods consumed increasingly by Africa’s growing middle classes.” 

“The more value added food products Africans can consume that are made in Africa, the fewer imports we need and the more African jobs we create.  By importing so much of our food we are effectively exporting jobs and losing value from our economies. Today, too many of our young people are needlessly dying in the Mediterranean searching for jobs. Tomorrow, let us ensure that agribusiness provides the jobs and stability that they surely deserve,” concluded Dr. Kalibata.


Diploma Courses You Can Study At Victoria University

Admission of students at Victoria University Kampala for August – September intake, the second intake of the  academic year, will ends at end of the month. This means that students seeking post secondary education still have a few days to join the fastest growing private University in the country.

The University located on Jinja road has proved to be the University of Choice for upcoming scholars in Uganda and on the African continent. It recently recruited deans to head the four faculties and a new vice chancellor.

The University offers various courses offered by the Faculty of Science and Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and Faculty of Business and Management. The Vice Chancellor Dr. Krishna N. Sharma recently confirmed new faculties and courses will be introduced in 2018.

In this article we look at the diploma courses which students who have not been fortunate enough to qualify for degree courses can study. The dean faculty of science and technology Dr. Terry Kahuma recently told a meeting attended by secondary school students at the university  that a diploma is as good as a degree.

“Studying a diploma is not a failure. It is as good as a degree therefore there is no reason to seat home because you didn’t qualify for a degree yet you can come here and enroll for a diplima course.” Dr. Kahuma told the teens.

Below we look at some of the diploma courses offered at the magnificent University.

Diploma Procurement & Logistics Programme

The Diploma in Procurement and Logistics Management endeavors to produce graduates with the skills and knowledge required for efficient acquisition and disposal of organization resources.

This program covers a broad spectrum of areas within the field, such as procurement, logistics, transportation, negotiations, inventory management and contract management.

The content is geared to enhance the skills set of those working in supply chain so they can carry out their supply chain activities more confidently and competently.

Diploma in Business Information systems

This is a course dealing with information systems because they play such a critical role in contemporary business organizations. Today’s systems directly affect how managers decide, plan and manage their employees, and increasingly shape what products are to be produced, where, when, and how.

The responsibility of information systems cannot be delegated to information technology gurus only, a manager must own the decision taken at the end of the day. Students who undertake this program will have relatively wider employment opportunities.

After the two year courses graduates can be employed as Business analyst, Internet service provider, Database designer and administrator.

Diploma in Information Technology

Information Technology is a critical component of modern life, and is essential to the communications that support modern society. New applications of information technology are constantly appearing; different applications are linked together forming a complex computing environment.

There is now an urgent demand for highly skilled Information Technology professionals with diverse specializations including business and management processes, the design and development of software systems. This demand is forecast to increase both in Uganda and world over.

The Diploma in Information Technology brings on board new approaches to teaching of Information Technology, combining solid engineering practices with knowledge of management and business processes

Graduates are in demand and may gain employment in a wide variety of roles such as Software engineer assistants, Systems analysts, Technology consultants and Database designers.

Diploma in International Relations & Diplomatic Studies

Diploma in International Relations & Diplomatic Studies DIRDS is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on the study of foreign affairs and global issues that affect states within the international system.

Graduates have get great work opportunities in Foreign Affairs, International business firms, Consultancy, Government, NGOs, International Agencies, Multinational firms, Marketing, tourism, Hospitality, Policy Development, Research, Education, Media, Market research, Journalism, Media & Public Affairs coordination & United Nations & and its attendant agencies.

Diploma in Tourism & Hotel Management

The hospitality and tourism industry has grown magnificently around the world. In East Africa alone, there is a humongous rise of Hotels, integrated resorts, Game viewing & game drives, Mountain Climbing, Gorilla Tracking, Bungee Jumping, Bird Watching, Visitors for Flora, Fauna, Lakes & Rivers, Eco-tourism sites etc.

With this diploma, you enjoy a solid foundation in hospitality studies before progressing onto a degree course. The objective of the program is to develop students' professional understanding of how hospitality and tourism organisations integrate business functions and focuses on specific departmental responsibilities as well as cross-functional management skills.

Diploma In Journalism And Media Studies

This course recognises the growing importance of Journalism, Public Relations and Media Management in Uganda. The course seeks to give students the opportunity to develop skills essential for working in the world of Media and Communications.

The course provides students with the opportunity to understand the role of media and communications in Uganda and other parts of the world. As well as examining contemporary media structures and developments, the course provides historical context for these developments.

Students who undertake this program will have relatively wider employment opportunities and can comfortably work as Journalists, Media officers and Communication Officers.

Human Resources Management

Human Resource Management is a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization’s most valued assets, the people working in organizations, individually and collectively to contribute to the achievement of organizational goals. Application of competencies in Human Resource Management is essential for survival of any organizations.

The Diploma in Human Resources Management enables learners to acquire competencies in attracting and selecting the best employees at the right time in the right place, motivating, and monitoring their performance for effective competitiveness to the organization.

Diploma In Banking And Finance

The Diploma Banking and Finance Program is a two-year full time programme that focuses on developing understanding of Banking and Finance Environment both locally and globally.

This prepares students for a career in Finance, Banking sector and Accountancy. It aims to provide sound knowledge to handle the operational and financial aspects in banking and finance.

The course will equip you with comprehensive knowledge and skills to enable preparation and analysis of the financial statements of the banks/companies, give insight into the concepts of cost accounting and management accounting, provide understanding of marketing concepts and activities related to the banking industry, and understand banking sector specific regulatory requirements.

Business Administration

The Diploma in Business Administration Program (DBBA) is another two-year program, with three flexible study modes — Day, Evening, and Weekend, to allow students to either further their education while maintaining current employment or study full- time.

This program is mainly targeting secondary school leavers and certificate level holders, who seek either a higher level qualification in order the enhance their employment prospects, or who need a strong foundation qualification in business and management to prepare them for University studies in the business and management programmes.

Bunyoro Women Challenged On Early Cancer Screening

By George Busiinge

Women in Bunyoro region are being challenged to always go for regular cervical cancer and HIV screening for early detection and proper treatment. The call was made to a section of women leaders during the closure of a two day women regional women conference organized by Bunyoro Kitara Diocese at Canon Njangali girls’ school, Duhaga Hoima yesterday.

Closing the conference that was attended by women from 7 archdeaconries in Bunyoro yesterday, Omugo Magrate Karunga Adyeeri observed that cervical, breast cancers and HIV remain a big threat to women lives. Omugo further asked housewives to instill discipline in their children especially the Kinyoro values and norms citing dressing, eating habits, greeting habits, and other social life issues.

Tophus Kaahwa Byagira, the district woman Member of Parliament said many women are dying of cancer and HIV due to ignorance. She challenged church and women leaders to strengthen a screening campaign in every platform to save other women’s life.

She commended the church for organizing such a function where women shared their challenges, success, tipped on financial management and family matters. Mama Peace Kahuma, Bishop Samuel Kahuma’s wife said they were overwhelmed by the turn-ups saying they expected over 700 women but over 1000 come.

She challenged women to take up the issue of marriage as vital saying without a stable family, development and church work can’t prevail. Mrs. Joyce Bukyanaganda, the president mothers union Bunyoro Kitara diocese said similar seminars are going to be organized saying there are many gaps to address in marriage, business, social life among others for the betterment of women life.

Victoria University Dean Underlines Importance Of Studying Humanities Courses

The dean faculty of humanities and social science at Victoria University Dr. Sujaan Kushaal, while recently addressing secondary school students at Victoria University Open Day encouraged students to choose humanities and social sciences courses so that they can become critical thinkers and world problem solvers.

“You are going to be tomorrow’s leaders and you will have to solve problems but unless you are critical thinkers, you will not be able to solve these problems. We need more and more people having humanities background,” Dr. Kushaal, who joined the university this year, said.   

“If you look at the background of major leaders of the world you will see that they had a background of social sciences and humanities. Most of them, about 95 percent, those who were doing something for their society, who were problem solvers, not problem creators, they had a background of social sciences and humanities,”

He explained that these world leaders had the ability to think critically and innovatively to resolve and correct problems that were challenging to their communities. He added that studying humanities makes ‘us human being and good citizens.’ If you are a good human being you will be appreciated and accepted, he explained further.

“Humanity teaches us about being good citizens, about culture, values, norms and morality. It is humanity and social sciences that diagnose the ability of critical thinking in your mind,” the dean told about 1000 youngsters who gathered at the Open Day.

He clarified that studying humanities makes you to quickly adapt to unfamiliar situations and become a solution provider. “It is humanity which makes you or recreates the ability to effectively communicate and interact with others. You are in touch with people from different backgrounds,”

“If you are a scholar of humanities and social sciences it will be very easy for you to get attached to people of diverse backgrounds wherever you go globally because it is humanities and social sciences that inculcate the ability of understanding human beings,”

He told students that the fear that there are no jobs for people who undertook humanity courses is false because the globe is filled with such jobs. He said graduates of humanities can work as artists, writers, lawyers, judicial officials, public speakers, to mention but just a few.

Victoria University offers the following courses under the faculty of humanities and social sciences Bachelor of Human Resource Management, Bachelor of Social Work and Social Administration, Bachelor of Public Administration and Management, Bachelor of Journalism and Media Studies, Bachelor of International Relations and Diplomatic Studies and Diploma in International Relations & Diplomatic Studies

We Train And Prepare Our Students For Global Job Market – Victoria University

Victoria University is preparing their students to be able to compete and get jobs not only in Uganda but also anywhere else in the world, the vice chancellor Dr. Krishnna N. Sharma told secondary school students at the Victoria University Open Day last week.

“In our classes, you can find about eight or ten nationalities so when we are teaching a concept we are not only thinking about Kampala but international scenarios. Our teacher – student ratio is very strong; we have a smaller group so the lecturer knows each and every student,” Dr. Sharma said in his address at the Open Day.

Dr. Sharma reveals that they are collaborating with international universities in India, Pakistan, Mauritius, Canada and Sweden to give their students international experience and global skills.

“We are sending our students to different countries so that they can have international exposure,” he added. He explained that at Victoria University passing on knowledge to students is more prioritized than students passing exams when they have attained no skills and workplace experience.

“Are you going to look for the job only in Kampala, no, we stay in a global village and you should know what is happening elsewhere. We prepare our students for international market,”

Dr. Sharma was recently confirmed as vice chancellor having briefly served as dean faculty of health science. He is an academician and author with medical background with more than hundred publications. He has supervised more than 60 researches.

“I have many dreams for the university as a Vice Chancellor, and I am sure I am going to take the University with the help of my colleagues. My focus still remains on research, innovation, publication and outreach.”

Victoria University located on Jinja road has four functional faculties offering a wide range of practical courses. It has the faculty of humanities and social sciences, faculty of business and management, faculty of science and technology and faculty of health sciences.


Can Victoria University Be The University Of Choice For Millennials?

Victoria university is doing all that is in their powers to be the preferred high learning institution in Uganda by making the right investment especially in the teaching staff since it already has the state of art facilities at their jinja road based campus.

Bank rolled by renowned businessman Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the future of Victoria University is guaranteed if we go by the successes of other education establishments like Kampala Parents’ School, Kampala International School Uganda and Delhi International Public School.

The relationship between Dr. Ruparelia and Victoria University is something Dr. Terry Kahuma, the dean faculty of sciences and technology pointed out during last week’s Victoria University Open Day which was attended by about 1500 secondary school students from different carefull selected schools.

Dr. Kahuma says Dr. Ruparelia hunger to excel as a businessman is catalyzing the development and eventual success of the University.  The dean said that they are ‘driven by Dr. Ruparelia’s vision’ because ‘everything he touches turns to gold’.

Victoria University was founded in 2011 by an English education conglomerate but struggled to take off. Dr. Ruparelia saved the University from failing when he purchased for monies that was not disclosed. He turned it around and now the young university is a leading private University.

At the start of this year, new deans were brought in to revamp the University as consolidate their leadership in the market. Therefore Dr. Kahuma, faculty of science and technology, Dr. Sujaan Negi, faculty of Humanities and social sciences and for business were hired. Dr. Stefan Lawoko, faculty of health science, replaced Dr. Krishna N. Sharma who was made vice chancellor. 

As vice chancellor, Dr. Sharma is committed to turning around the energetic university by introducing new concepts. Already the university is focused on fronting research, innovativeness, publication of research findings and mandatory internship as key tools to churn out already experience graduates ready for the market.

Because we leave in a global village, Victoria University, according to Dr. Sharma, is employing an international approach to their teaching methodologies so that graduates from the university can easily get employed and work outside Uganda.

“We collaborate with international universities in India, Pakistan, Mauritius, Canada and Sweden. We are sending our students to different countries so that they can have international exposure,” Dr. Sharma said.

“Are you going to look for the job only in Kampala, no, we stay in a global village and you should know what is happening elsewhere. We prepare our students for international market,” he explained further. 

Dr. Sharma’s assertions are supported by Dr. Kahuma who said the University is ‘instituted in an international approach with state of the art facilities to deliver high education in an enabling environment to achieve maximum learning outcomes for international and national students’.

“While other universities in Uganda aim at mass education which is characterized by congestion in classes, squeezed spaces, crowded libraries resulting in a pool of poorly educated and underexposed graduates the philosophy at Victoria University is different,” Dr. Kahuma narrated.

The faculty of science and technology which Dr. Kahuma heads was carefully designed to match the skills need by the employers in Uganda and world over. He says the courses offered by the faculty are geared towards enabling students to be self employed and to employ others.

“The courses are also designed to be an innovator and to create products that are useful to the community. We give education will enable students to research more and to be creators,” he explained, adding that the University facilities equip students to attain skills and expectations of a good career.


My Focus Remains Research, Innovation, Publication And Outreach, Varsity VC Speaks Out

Victoria University Kampala is the fastest growing young private university in Uganda. It was established in 2011.  It is located at iconic Victoria Towers on Jinja Road at the famous Esso Corner.

Below is an interview we conducted with the new Victoria University Vice Chancellor, a renowned international academician, young innovator and prolific author- Dr. Krishna N. Sharma

Briefly tell us about you as an individual, your record in the academic world and what you bring to Victoria University, now in the capacity of Vice Chancellor?

I am basically an academician and author with medical background. I have more than hundred publications and have supervised more than 60 researches. I have many dreams for the university as a Vice Chancellor, and I am sure I am going to take the University with the help of my colleagues. My focus still remains on research, innovation, publication and outreach.

What reasons attracted you to come and work at Victoria University and how has your background benefitted the University for the time you have been working as dean faculty of health sciences?

It is a young university and here you get an opportunity to “create” history and leave legacy. VU provides good environment, autonomy, research opportunities and nice human resource policy. I don’t see a reason why shouldn’t it attract an academician.

As far as my contribution as a dean is concerned, I brought collaborations, organized free international workshop, and worked on Quality Assurance. There are few other projects coming soon from the faculty of health sciences.

I am happy to share with you that this faculty is now being led by Prof. Stephen Lawoko- an eminent researcher with more than 50 publications and more than 28 years experience in Sweden.

You said when you had just joined Victoria University that it has potential, how does it compare to other international universities in developing countries like Cameroon where you have taught?

It is a new age university with fresh ideas and young energy. Unlike many international universities, it has a very experienced and active university council that gives academic freedom to the academicians.

Our faculty is well qualified and internationally exposed. I think the strongest aspect is that, in VU, we all work as a strong team with same vision and mission.

You have published hundreds of books and research papers; do you see yourself transforming this desire and ability to write to Victoria University students? Are they up to the task, those you have interacted with so far?

Writing is not as difficult as we think. If you have something to valuable to tell, you can be an author. Fortunately, we provide our students international exposure and so they have a lot to share. They are well grounded in research and very active in outreach.

Our deans also have published very good number of researches. I believe that we have already spread the vibe of research and publication. I assure you that you are going to read lot of researches and books from our students in near future.

What unique courses do you have that give you leverage over other private universities? What do you intend to achieve by teaching these courses?

Let me be honest with you. It’s not only the programs but also the delivery of programs and our state of the art facilities that make us different. The curricula of our programs in all the faculties – faculty of health science, faculty of science and technology, faculty of business and management, faculty of humanities and social sciences, and department of oil and gas is totally market driven.

As an academic institution, our responsibility is to train the students so that they may secure their places and succeed. We motivate our students to focus more on gaining knowledge and skills rather than marks and papers.

Victoria University talks of state of the art facilities, what exactly are these facilities, elaborate more?

Though we are located at the heart of Kampala, our building is soundproof to provide a peaceful learning environment. All of our classrooms are fully air conditioned and equipped with smart-board, overhead projector, speakers, computer system etc.

Our student-computer ratio, book-student ratio etc are excellent. We provide free internet and laptop to our students. Our labs are very modern, advanced and fully functional. We have the most advanced and most expensive medical manikin in Uganda.

We also make the environment comfortable for students. We believe more in participant-facilitator relation than student-lecturer relation. Apart from having a nice restaurant, our students have students’ lounge where they can grab their cup of coffee, warm their food in microwave and have discussions.

The August/September intake is just around the corner, why should someone come to study at Victoria University and not any other university in Uganda and the world? And how many intakes do you have in a year and how can someone join the University?

Our lecturers come from both the academic and professional background. They teach our students from their experience in field. We also find mandatory internships for all our students as we have made it mandatory. So when our student completes a program, he or she already has lot of experience and links that may assure his or her success.

We have two intakes in a year, one in January-February and another one in August-September. Our admission process is very simple. I would suggest students to visit our campus and meet our admission officer and career counselor. You can also apply online by visiting www.vu.ac.ug.

We noticed that there are many students coming from outside Uganda – non-nationals – where do you get them and what attracts them to Victoria University?

We have students from various countries of different continents e.g. Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Nigeria, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia, DRC, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Canada, Lebanon etc. I think, apart from our flexible fees payment system and open door policy; it is our curricula, teaching methodology, facilities, teaching and learning environment, international exposure and international internships that attract them to us.

Do you make as much effort to stay in touch with your international alumni as you do with your home students?

Of course we do! The student-university relation is very unique. If I may use personification, a university should be a students’ mentor. She should not discriminate based on being home students and international alumni.

You have signed some partnerships with international educational institutions, how are students benefiting?

Our partnerships and collaborations are benefiting our students from many aspects. Can you imagine that our clinical sciences students recently saved more than 1,500 USD each as one of our partners provided them a very expensive and modern skill training for free? Our students have many more benefits by our partnerships for research collaboration, student exchange program, staff exchange program, internships etc.

Where do you see Victoria University in five to ten years?

I see Victoria University as the first choice research driven University nurturing a holistic person and contributing to regional and global development.

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