Capacity Building for FSF Scholars at Makerere in Self-Marketing, Relationships, Academic Excellence and Career Planning

Some of the FSF Scholars on a short break during the workshop.

Since 2001, the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) has been implementing a Female Scholarship programme under the Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation (FSF).In addition to the tuition and living expenses, GMD equips the scholars with various life and soft skills that are crucial in succeeding beyond university education. In this respect, GMD organised a two-day capacity building workshop from 8th- 9th February 2018 in the Makerere University Senate Conference Halllevel four under a theme: “self-marketing and career success”. Over 70 female scholars attended the training and it was facilitated byreputable trainersfrom Daniel Choudry Sales Training Institute, the Gender mainstreaming Directorate and Public Relations Office Makerere University.

According to the Ag. Director Dr.Euzobia Mugisha Baine, the capacity building training aimed at enhancing scholar’s skills and capacities in social and academic life at campus and beyond. The two- day training also focused on providing academic mentoring and psychosocial support to scholars while at university. The content of the training included  introduction  to critical and mind wooing aspects of  career choices, managing social and intimate relationships and achieving academic excellence, the power of communication, building self-confidence, entrepreneurship, effective use of social media, masterly of academic rules and regulations among others.

Addressing the scholars,Dr. Euzobia Baine emphasised thatthe capacity building trainingaims at introducing the scholars to have a glimpse into the real world of hustling at work and how to overcome the social challenges they might face when pursuing their dreams. She therefore urged scholars to take each and every point at the workshop seriously and embark on a journey that can positively change their lives.

“You have to understand that besides academic life there is also asocial world and, these two complementeach other. If we are to succeed we have to balance academic and social achievement. Attain the good grades, plan your life and aim high for your career, so that you can achieve and succeed in both arenas, which is not a smooth journey,” she said

She thanked the facilitators for dedicating the two days to have serious and constructive interactions with the scholars when she said, “I am pleased that we have some of the best facilitators in the area of self-marketing, communication, career planning, entrepreneurship among others. They have dedicated their time to see to it that you receive the knowledge we believe is going to aid your journey to success.”

Dr. Baine appreciated the team work exhibited by her colleagues in the Directorate in organising the workshop, as well as Makerere University Management, Council and University community for the tremendous support towards the scholars. In a special way, she thanked the Carnegie Corporation of New Yorkwhosponsored the activity and all the various funders of the Female Scholarship Foundation for helping the disadvantaged Ugandan girlsto attain Universityeducation.

During the interactions, Daniel Choudry the Director of Daniel Choudry Sales Training Institute and also a Lecturer at Makerere University Business School urged scholars never take the power of self-marketing for granted. According to him, youth have left the power of branding and marketing to businesses and organisation forgetting that their personalities areequally very important in achieving their goals. He therefore encouraged them to focus on building the reputable and respected personality that can attract them to market themselves socially and professionally.

“You should be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. Start by reflecting on your distinct talents, skills, and academic or professional achievements. Your marketability is largely affected by how much you believe in yourself. In essence, good self-promotion starts with self-confidence. Your own perception of yourself will help you begin to assemble your “brag bag”, that unique picture of who you are personally and professionally”, he said.

He advised the scholars to always be keen on the kind of friends they associate with since this is highly considered to be the greatest measurement to someone’s success. “Be friends to people that can add value to your life, have friends that can be of great importance to realising your dreams, if you associate with turkeys, you will never fly like eagles. The friends you have influence your character, sometimes without you realising it,” said Choudry.

Ms. Lucy Athieno, the Executive Director of Eco-Pads Uganda and also an Alumni of the Female Scholarship Initiative (FSI), shared her entrepreneurship journey on how she managed to become one of the successful female entrepreneurs in the country. According to Athieno, it is important to understand the community needs since this helps someone in knowing the target and the kind of services or goods to bring on market. She also tipped the students on how they can apply for grants and funds to expand their businesses when she said, “be sure that your proposal has the basics that a funder can find attractive to give you his or her money.  When pitching your idea, always speak to someone’s heart and emotions and always associate with people who are better than you because you can learn a lot from them.”

She also shared with students the power of storytelling and how her story led her to acquire more funding for her business. “The power of storytelling is very important but how do you tell your story? Do not hesitate to tell someone about that one thing you always wanted to do, if it is a good idea people will always pick interest and support you. We can always be what we want if we work for what we want, always attract your respect and reflect that thing you desire, become what you respect and mirror what you admire,” she said.

Discussing the importance ofthe power of small habits in building people’s career and image, Mr. Eric Tumwesigye the Female Scholarship Foundation Desk Officer in the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, cautioned scholars on their behaviour and attitude towards people and jobs. According to Tumwesigye, some youth are lazy, lack proper strategic plans and are poor in time management. They have exhibited poor communication skills and can no longer respect their elders. He therefore called for order among scholars and emphasized the need to revamp the youth image in the career sector.

“We are what we have become mainly because of our habits. We have diverted from our societal norms and we have fully neglected our societal habits. They might be simple, and small but they carry the highest value and respect, keep time, have a proper communication and respect the elders then you will win that big deal you have always yarned to attain,” he said.

On the second day of the workshop, Mrs. Alice Ddamulira, a facilitator from Sales Training Institute and Director, St. Mark’s College Namagoma, engaged scholars on relationship matters. She encouraged scholars to develop strategy and plan for their relationship journeys. “We should understand ourselves before we go in for love. We need to be the person we would admire to meet,”she stated.

Speaking about relationship dilemmas, Mrs. Ddamulira advised scholars to shun all the fears and myths on relationships and work towards a successful and a happy life ordained by God. She encouraged scholars to properly take care of their bodies and always hold onto their values and principles when it comes to relationship issues.
“Be cautious about self-talk, people love people who are confident. Understand that gracefulness and decency make a lady desirable and powerful. Be graceful and decent in speech and dress. Uphold yourprinciples and values, those who are attracted to you as a person will come and approach you,” she said.

The Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer, Ms.Ritah Namisango advised scholars to work hard and excel academically. To her, academic excellence is the only way scholars can appreciate their funders for the great work they have done in nurturing their future.  
“If someone has given in their best to make sure you are here, return one favour and give your best academically. Excellence is not an option, it is a must. Work out the strategies for excellence,” she said.

The Deputy Director (teaching, Learning Research & Innovations) in the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, Ms. Frances Nyachwo called for persistence and patience among scholars. She encouraged scholars to pursue their goals and always havea creative mind that can generate income for them.

“Take the initiative to work towards that goal that you want to achieve. You need to do something that is generating for you income, be creative and have a strong mind. We want living testimonies. We have been inspired to take another step forward. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but our deepest fear is to think beyond what we see,” she said.

She thanked the scholars for being cooperative and called upon all the alumni of the Female Scholarship Foundation (FSF) to a Breakfast meeting scheduled to take place on 10th March 2018 in the Makerere University Main Hall. The aim of the Breakfast meeting is to prepare for the resource mobilization campaign to support bright but socio-economically disadvantaged girls to study at Makerere University under a theme: Drop a Coin and Forever Change a Life.

Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation (FSF) was incorporated by the Makerere University Council in 2010 out of the Female Scholarship Initiative (FSI) established at Makerere University in 2001 with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The goal is to support girls from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to access university education thus contributing to the increased female enrolment, progression and achievement in University Education and ultimately improving the socio-economic development of the Ugandan society.

Article by: Makerere University Public Relations Office and Gender Mainstreaming Directorate

Photos by: Mr. Godfrey Kimono, Associate Photographer.

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