Forum for African Women Educationalists - Uganda Chapter (FAWEU)

"20 Years of Enhancing Girls' and Women's Education for Development" FAWE Uganda 1997-2017


1st Cohort of beneficiairies pose for a group photo with the Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation (in a black suit) and FAWE Uganda Members after the launch of the Higher Education Access Program

Forum for African Women’s Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWE Uganda) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and the Forum for African Women’s Educationalists Regional Secretariat (FAWE RS) launched the Higher Education Access Program (HEAP) in Uganda on 20th October, 2017. This eight-year Program seeks to enable 300 young women and men from disadvantaged regions of Uganda access to education and leadership development, including transition to higher education or to secure employment in sectors that contribute to the development of their communities and the country.

The Higher Education Access Program is focused on providing bursaries to 300 academically gifted students from economically disadvantaged regions and districts of Uganda; the Northern region including; Adjumani, Amudat, Amuru, Kaabong and Pader; Eastern regions including Bukwo, Buyende, Katakwi and Mayuge; and, the Western region, including Buliisa, Bundibugyo, Kanungu and Ntoroko.

In his speech, the Guest of Honor at the launch, Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation encouraged the beneficiaries to take advantage of the scholarships and work hard. On behalf of his Ministry and the Government of Uganda, he expressed gratitude to FAWE & MasterCard for their timely intervention towards helping young people access education. He said that the government is committed to working with such organizations to improve the quality of education in Uganda. He condemned the irresponsible sexual behaviors students engage in that lead to increase in school dropouts and urged the students to focus on their studies. The Minister then officially launched the programme and wished the first cohort of students best of luck.

Ms. Christine Semambo Sempebwa, the Executive Director of FAWE Uganda said, “The Higher Education Access Program is a unique initiative aimed at giving a platform for all academically talented yet economically disadvantaged students an opportunity to study, realize their dreams and exploit their potential through increasing access to quality education in higher Institutions of learning.” She emphasized that, “The beneficiaries who have been enrolled should count themselves lucky, study very hard and get the best out of this opportunity while bearing in mind that although many students applied for the scholarship, a majority were not taken due to the limited number of slots.” This program offers 100% bursaries to learners and all you need to do is to take yourself to school and study which is a rear occurrence.”

She added that, “To guarantee success, the beneficiaries need to take the opportunity to learn from their peers on how to live responsibly, exercise self control and discipline, learn to prioritize and focus on their studies. As FAWE Uganda and other partners we commit to do whatever it takes to facilitate you to achieve all your planned goals.”

“The Mastercard Foundation supports this Program to provide access to quality higher education as well as a bridging program to provide a second chance at University education for promising students whose academic talent exceeds their financial resources into university degree programs. It will also provide academic and psycho-social support, and facilitate pathways for students to internships, industrial practice and employment”, said Peter Materu, Mastercard Foundation Director Education & Learning and Youth Livelihoods.

This program offers 100% bursaries to learners and targets 300 students between the ages of 18 to 25 over eight-years. 60% will undertake degree courses while 40% will be in diploma courses. The program is designed with focus on sciences, covering courses in agriculture, medical and health, whereas education related courses will focus on sciences and language. The Program is being implemented in partnership with 5 higher education institutions; Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Gulu University and Busitema University, Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Medical Laboratory Training School. Upon graduation, the students are encouraged to return to their communities to work and improve the lives of others by filling a critical human resources gap and contribute to economic development.

The program utilizes creative and innovative approaches like the Extended Orientation Program (EOP) to support disadvantaged students to settle in, compete favorably and successfully complete their studies. The pre-entry Bridging Program (BP) has been designed to give second chance opportunities to promising students whose pre-entry qualifications fall slightly below the cut-off points and whose academic potential is curtailed by the physical, academic and social inadequacies of their secondary schools. It will support them transition into undergraduate degree programs.

 To ensure transparency and accountability, Regional Bursary Technical Committees (RBTCs) have been established and are charged with the responsibility of selecting, interviewing and enrolling beneficiary students. Similarly, Bursary Coordination Committees have been established in each of the five partner institutions to guarantee requisite higher completion rates.

Present at the launch, at Imperial Royale Hotel Kampala, were key stakeholders including; the beneficiary students, the line Ministries of Education and Sports, Science and Technology; Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Ministry of Health; Development partners, Civil Society Organizations and the media.


Beneficiaries at Busitema University (Arapai Campus) pose for a group photo after recieving their basic requirements

After undergoing a successful verification and selection process, 100 Higher Education students were awarded scholarships under the Higher Education Access Program, which is being implemented by FAWE Uganda in partnership with Mastercard Foundation.   Students will be attending various fields of science and Technology study at Gulu University, Busitema University and Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

Beneficiaries were given basic needs and scholastic materials to use while at school.  These included: mattresses, suitcases to mention but a few.  Laptops were as well provided to all beneficiaries for purposes of facilitating academic research, expo- sure and online networking.



Students who applied for bursaries under the Forum for African Women Educationalists/Mastercard Foundation Higher Education Access Program for 2017/2018 intake underwent a verification exercise.  The process took a period of one week after which, selection of beneficiaries was done.  We congratulate all students who were awarded scholarships and wish you the very best in your academic endeavors.


MCF Objectives

Objective 1: Provide bursaries to 300 academically able, yet economically disadvantaged students from eastern, northern and western Uganda to access and complete higher education.
Objective 2: Design and implement a (pilot) pre-entry bridging program to provide second chance opportunities for promising students to transition into University degree programs.
Objective 3: Provide academic and psycho-social support and facilitate pathways for the students to internships, industrial practice and employment.
Objective 4: Institutional capacity strengthening to ensure disadvantaged students succeed. 

About Mastercard Foundation / FAWE Higher Education Access Program

The Under Secretary, MoES (front row: in a grey suit) and delegates from partner institutions at the MCF Visioning Workshop

In line with its mission and objectives, FAWEU in partnership with the FAWE Regional Secretariat (FAWE RS) will be implementing an eight-year Higher Education Access Program with support from Mastercard Foundation. The program will enable 300 young women and men from disadvantaged regions of Uganda who are academically able, yet economically disadvantaged to access, and transition through higher education and secure employment in sectors that contribute to the development of their home communities.



Background to the Program

Uganda’s Vision 2040 aims at attaining a middle-income status for the nation. However, the vision also acknowledges that the eastern, northern and western regions are characterized by poor education and health infrastructure, high poverty levels, food insecurity and limited social amenities.

The Government of Uganda recognizes the critical role that higher education plays in innovation and human resource development and that, science education is vital for innovations which transform economies. Within this context, the Higher Education Access Program was informed by Vision 2040, a situation analysis involving 112 key informants across the three regions, a rapid assessment of 23 potential partner institutions and consultative and planning meetings with key districts, institutional and government stakeholders.


Nature of support

To ensure the successful completion of their studies, students on the Higher Education Access Program will be provided with the following support: tuition, accommodation, meals, a stipend, functional fees, National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) fees, medical insurance and costs for internships, industrial training and field attachments. They will also be provided with educational materials such as text books, laboratory requirements and agricultural equipment for field attachments. The program will further avail each student with a laptop to facilitate academic research, exposure and online networking. The material support shall be bolstered by psychosocial support through peer-to-peer support, annual student camps and continuous support and monitoring by focal points based at the institutions.


Anticipated impact

The Higher Education Access Program takes a community development approach that envisages that the target students will, upon graduation, return to their communities and contribute to socio-economic development through paid or self-employment and give-back activities. Above all, the identified marginalized and hard-to-reach regions will have sustainable home-based human resources. The program will therefore be contributing to Uganda’s Vision 2040 and other development blueprints. 



Constituting Regional Bursary Technical Committee (RBTC)

The Regional Bursary Technical Committee is formed to enhance and foster accountability and community participation in handling a number of program activities at the regional and district level.  The bursary technical committee is comprised of; 

- District Education Officers of target districts; 

- Two representatives from each of the partner institutions; 

- Two FAWEU staff; and  

- A FAWEU member from the region. 

 However, other members may be co-opted on need basis.

Roles of the Bursary Technical Committee

The committee will be responsible for:

- Reviewing and signing off the student selection guidelines and other guiding documents; 

- Receiving applications, interviewing, authenticating and selecting eligible scholars;

- Monitoring partner institutions’ compliance to agreed admission procedures and management requirements; 

- Contributing to the wide publicity of the Higher Education Access Program, pre- and post- implementation;

- Creating partnerships with local NGOs, private and corporate establishments for students’ career mentorship, internship and possible employment opportunities;

- Resolving selection-related conflicts;

- Promoting accountability and stewardship of resources in the delivery of an impactful program;

- Participating in annual review meetings; 

- Promoting transparency in the dissemination of program information;

- Fostering partnership with industry and professional communities to create internship, career mentoring and eventual absorption of students into the labor market; and

- Reporting to FAWE Uganda who will in turn provide quality control of the program and promote adherence to reporting requirements and transparency in the management of financial and other program resources in partner institutions as well as track evidence of impact.


Eligibility Criteria


  1. Applicants must be aged between 18 and 25 years.
  2. Applicants must hail from and must have attended school in the 13 project districts: Bukwo, Buyende, Katakwi and Mayuge in Eastern Region; Buliisa, Bundibugyo, Kanungu and Ntoroko in Western Region; and, Adjumani, Amudat, Amuru, Kaabong and Pader in Northern Region.
  3. Applicants must be applying for direct entry to the following higher institutions of learning; Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), Busitema University, Gulu University, Jinja School of Nursing and Midwifery, and Medical Laboratory Training School, Jinja only. And can be admitted on these courses; agricultural sciences, medical and health, and education courses for the academic year 2017/2018.
  4. Applicants who sat for their A Level examinations in 2016.
  5. Applicants should not be beneficiaries of any other bursary scheme or scholarship.
  6. Other vulnerability aspects to be considered will include: young people living with disability, HIV/AIDS–infected or affected, orphaned (total or partial).
  7. The Applicant must be willing to give back to his/her community.

Target Courses

  • Agricultural Sciences,
  • Medical and Health Sciences,
  • Education courses (Science and Literature, degree only).

How to apply

  • Serialized application forms will be available at no cost from the partner institutions, District Education Offices (DEOs) in the 13 project districts as well as from the FAWEU Office plot 328, Bukoto – Kisasi Road, Kampala, Uganda.
  • Submit a fully completed application form to the office of the District Education Office (DEO), any of the partner institutions or to the FAWEU Office.
  • For further enquiry and assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Programme Coordinator on 0782131713/0772545021
  • For more information, please visit / 

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