Uganda: 102 Students for Equality Scholarship Programme

Sofie Kituyi was just an ordinary needy school-going child in Kamuli District when she was enrolled on the Equity Scholarship Programme.

"I'm so grateful. I was picked from Kamuli District and given scholastic materials and full tuition until I completed Senior Four. I excelled and continued receiving school fees until I completed Senior Six at Nabisunsa Girls School, in Kampala," she said.

For Godfrey Mucunguzi, his dream of becoming a journalist may have remained a mirage. "I'm now in my second year at Makerere University pursuing a Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication. I was determined not to let my sponsors down. That is why I put in a lot of effort. I received the scholarship while in Primary Seven and it helped me throughout my O-Level at Kings College, Budo and my A-Level at Namirembe Hillside where I scored 17 points in History Economics and Geography," he said.

Just like Kituyi and Mucunguzi, more than 100 students are going to benefit from this year's Equality Scholarship programme. The students comprise 42 secondary school students, 20 university students and 45 orphans who lost their parents in the July 11, 2010 twin bombings.

The students are supported from Senior One until they complete university, with the currently enrolled students costing Nile Breweries Limited, the brain behind the programme, approximately Shs2b to compete their undergraduate studies.

The money given is meant to go towards the 2019 school fees and welfare expenses for the 102 beneficiaries.

While handing over dummy cheques of Shs303m to some of the beneficiaries at their head offices in Luzira last week, Onapito Ekomoloit, the legal and corporate affairs director at NBL, said this is one of the ways through which the company is giving back to the community.

"Some of the Ugandans who died in the 2010 bombings had children. In the struggle to see that those children also get education, we signed an agreement to help those orphans by paying their school fees," he said.

On how they authenticate these orphans, Ekomoloit said they employ the help of police who use forensics to identify whether the beneficiaries are indeed orphans of the deceased.

Growing numbers

The annual scholarship programme has since 2011 benefited the best PLE performing pupils in selected districts, largely in areas that grow sorghum and barley for NBL.

The selected pupils are enrolled in Ugandan secondary schools, thus breaking the financial barrier between poor rural farmers' children and their counterparts from priviledged urban families.

The scholarships have helped to educate gifted students from vulnerable backgrounds with 30 already at the university.

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