You are here

Uganda Irish Alumni Association

2014 saw the formal launch of the Uganda Irish Alumni Association (UIAA). Their first AGM was held on 21st June, during which an executive committee was elected to drive the alumni group development over the next two years. Within a short time the group has made great strides – it already has 200 members and held an orientation session for departing Irish Aid Fellows, where they shared wisdom from their past experience and tips for life in Ireland.

Executive Committee members of the Uganda Irish Alumni Association

Executive committee members of the Uganda Irish Alumni Association after being elected at the first UIAA AGM. From the left is Ambassador of Ireland to Uganda Dónal Cronin, UIAA President Henry Tumwebaze, Vice President Lillian Mworeka, Executive Secretary Josephine Kafeero Nabaggala, Committee Member Norman Ajiri, Committee Member Sharon Ahumuza,  Legal Counsel David Baxter Mutekanga Bakibinga and Treasurer Harriet Lisa Acen.

"As Uganda Irish Alumni members we have been able to come together, get to know each other and network and support each other in a mutually beneficial partnership" says Association President Henry Tumwebaze.

The UIAA has received great support from the Irish Embassy in Uganda as well as the Irish Society in Uganda. They are also working closely with Irish NGOs and companies based in Uganda as well as alumni groups of individual universities. The association aims to encourage alumni members to work together to use their diverse skills and training to create change in their own communities. It also endeavours to provide a platform for networking between alumni members and also guarantee their continued engagement with the Embassy and Irish Aid.

"We are in the process of finalising our strategic plan which is aligned along the thematic areas of the MDGs in consideration of both Uganda and Irish Aid development agendas" explains  Executive Secretary Josephine Kafeero Nabaggala.
The Association has many plans for 2015, aside from fundraising and network building; they plan to give back to their own communities through a variety of community development projects. One exciting project is a ‘Go Green’ campaign which will involve tree planting and environmental awareness-raising in Central and Eastern Uganda which have been badly hit by flooding in recent years. They plan to plant at least 50,000 trees in Katakwi and Nakaseke districts for the purpose of environmental conservation and a potential income source in 10 years’ time.

An education project is planned for the Karamoja region, where the UIAA will source school books and educational materials for local schools which have been supported by Irish Aid projects.

There are also plans for an education fair, to introduce Ugandan educators to the Irish education system and opportunities.

We asked the UIAA President if he had any advice for other alumni groups trying to get started: "It takes courage and volunteerism to spearhead and mobilize each other to form a functioning and growing alumni association. We are always busy with our business schedules when called upon for Irish Alumni meetings and events but you always remember when you had not got a scholarship how you were feeling. Developing such strong and robust alumni associations especially in Africa is one way of showing Irish Aid that we are tackling development sustainably and that more seeds can be sown here to bear fruits for next generations."

If you are based in Uganda and you would like to join the UIAA you should contact the Fellowship Administrator in the Irish Embassy.