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Statement from the Convocation Chairperson (2013-2016)

 

Theme: Outreach, Representation and Participation

Dunstan Atwijukye, 32, is a pioneer student of Kyambogo University 2001-2003. As Chairperson of the KYU Convocation, he aims to stimulate a culture of giving back to the University, increase the level of participation of alumni, and encourage greater alumni participation across the board.

“The role of Convocation has not caught on at Kyambogo University yet,” says Dunstan, adding that graduates and staff “have got to take care of Kyambogo” and that a culture of giving back and protecting the Kyambogo brand has to be created across the University community. Dunstan plans to utilise his experience as an educator and community development expert to galvanise graduates and local business to increase outreach and giving, by supporting University activities, functioning, scholarships and fellowships.

“The involvement of members of Convocation is one of our major challenges,” he adds. “Many alumni, while not negative about Kyambogo, remain indifferent. I plan to work on getting more members of Convocation involved. I also hope to remind Kyambogo graduates from all racial and cultural backgrounds that Kyambogo belongs to all of us.”

Sub-committees that support the work of Convocation

One of the ways Dunstan intends encouraging participation is through sub-committees – in which he is a “huge believer”, citing their usefulness in encouraging participation, ownership, accountability and mentorship amongst members.

Several sub-committees exist, three of which – Finance, Projects, Publicity and Academic Affairs regards as critical. The Finance and Projects sub-committees are responsible for fundraising, the Publicity sub-committee for disseminating Executive Committee’s vision for the future and for ensuring diversity of representation, and the Academic Affairs sub-committee for surveillance of “Domestic Academic issues” that nurture lifelong loyalty to graduates’ alma mater.

“I want to challenge and encourage Kyambogo graduates to think about what we all have to offer to Kyambogo,” he urges. “We as graduates of Kyambogo should want better for our University. This is not just good for Kyambogo, but it is good for the value of the qualifications that we obtained at Kyambogo.”

“I know there are thousands out there that love Kyambogo as much as I do,” concludes Dunstan. “I strongly urge all members to volunteer to serve on Convocation sub-committees. Take ownership of Convocation. My hope is that all will accept the challenge and offer their expertise and dedication so that we contribute towards making Kyambogo one of the top 100 universities in the world. I’m counting on all members to work with me to move the Convocation forward.”

PEER to PEER VOICE

Introduction

The KYU peer educator project started in September 2002 as community initiative by a group of student volunteers supported by the University to initially address the problems of young people such as unwanted pregnancies, post abortion stress, HIV/AIDS/STIs and drug and substance abuse among others. With guidance of the Office of the Dean of Students and being coordinated by the Director Health Services, the group is charged with the responsibility of building the capacity of students in making health enhancing life choices by providing a peer-focused method of information provision and dissemination.

Aim

To build the capacity of student volunteers with a mission to:
• Adopt and promote positive behavior and lifestyle.
• Empower student volunteers with communication skills in reproductive health and development
• To contribute to reduction of vulnerability to HIV/AIDS among young people in the University community.

Activities

o Dissemination of Behavioral Change Communication (BCC) materials
o Room –to- room visits & Hostel visits
o Health education talks, debates and discussion & participation in Radio talk shows
o Mobilization of the community to utilize Health Services
o Promotion of networking with other youth HIV/AIDS focused organizations
o Participation in orientation week, national and global health events

Achievements

1. Reproductive Health (RH) activities and services have been availed through training of Student Volunteers.
2. Increased knowledge and more responsible and mature attitudes towards sexuality among the Peer Educators
3. Due to ongoing mobilization by peer educators VCT & Anti-Retroviral therapy services has been fully integrated in the existing health services

Partnerships:

• Aids Information Centre (AIC)
• Uganda Aids Commission(UAC)
• Alliance of Mayors Initiative Community Action on AIDS at Local Level (AMICAALL Uganda Chapter)
• Population Services International (PSI)

Challenges

o Very few peer educators in relation to the student population and diversity of campus (6 peer educators: 1000students)
o Student populations are transient therefore there is a need to continue training student volunteers to replace the ones leaving on completion of their studies.
o Lack of youth friendly services limit utilization by young people.

Future Plans

• Setting up a drop-in information center to cater for reproductive health needs of the young people in the university and surrounding community
• To strengthen capacity of young people through continued training of peer educators
• To scale up networking with government and non-government organizations to improve delivery of youth health related services in the community.