COMMONWEALTH SCHOLARSHIPS AND FELLOWSHIPS PLAN

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries. The CSFP was established at the first Commonwealth Education Conference in 1959, and over 27,000 individuals have benefited.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC) is responsible for managing Britain’s contribution to the CSFP. CSC awards over 900 scholarships and fellowships for postgraduate study and professional development to Commonwealth citizens each year.

Awards in the UK are funded by the Department for International Development (for developing Commonwealth countries),  Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Scottish Government (for developed Commonwealth countries), in conjunction with UK universities.

 

The CSC makes available the following types of awards

 

Commonwealth Alumni Train Village Health Teams to Combat Mental Illness

Jenipher Birike a Nursing Officer at Butabika Referral Hospital in charge of children and adolescent mental health was among the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) alumni who participated in a mental health training for Village Health Teams (VHT) at KCCA Kitebi Health Centre (Kampala) on 18 November 2016.Jenipher who was awarded a Commonwealth Fellowship in 2006 from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK was among the scholarship’s alumni who participated in a mental health training for Village Health Teams (VHT) at KCCA Kitebi Health Centre (Kampala) on 18 November 2016. Jenipher was joined by Alice Kabakwenuzi, also an alumnus of the Commonwealth Scholarship who works as a Senior Nursing Officer in charge of Alcohol and Drug abuse at Butabiika Hospital. This training is one of the many activities through which Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship alumni give back to the community.

Local press reports in Uganda have shown that mental health cases are on the rise and that the health facilities are understaffed. Butabika Hospital, which is the only national referral mental health institution in Uganda, has had a number of health practitioners receive Commonwealth fellowships in the UK in order to enhance their knowledge and skills. Upon return, these Fellows are stretched as they go about their daily work routines in the communities.

Jenipher Birike, works with individuals who volunteer their time to assist her in executing her duties in the various health centres she is assigned to. These volunteers are known as Village Health Teams many of whom have had little to no training in basic mental health issues. It is against this backdrop that a refresher training was held for Village Health Teams in Kitebi.

The refresher training brought together 17 individuals who represented 4 health centres from around Kampala. During this training, they were educated on how to identify mental health issues, possible causes of mental health, how to reduce or avoid mental health incidences amongst others.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. If poorly managed, it may result into mental illness which is a growing concern in Uganda especially among the youth today. If identified early the victim may seek for help to avoid mental illness. However the challenge is recognizing the signs and symptoms and the victims’ assumption that he or she has everything under control. Added to that, their immediate friends and family may take it for granted that the victim is fine, until it is too late.

During the training, alumnus Alice Kabakwenuzi urged the VHTs to act as ambassadors by providing the necessary information they have learned to the communities and also report cases of mental illness before they escalate. She said, “Mental illness can be controlled through proper health care and medication. It is upon us as health personnel to provide the right information to the people and help them make informed choices.”

With more trained personnel in this field, overstretched hospitals can rely on community members to help them identify early signs of disease to avoid mental illness.  

New chapter for Ugandas apiculturalists....

The apicultural industry in Uganda is set to grow and advance in the next few years owing to the deliberate efforts of the Executive Director of The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation, Mr Dickson Biryomumaisho.

Apiculture is the raising and care of bees for commercial or agricultural  purposes. The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO) is a membership organisation responsible for coordinating all apiculture sector players in the country. Now at 239 members, who range from bee keepers, honey processers and packers, to traders and exporters. Mr Biryomumaisho communicated his desire for mentorship with Bees for Development, a specialist international bee keeping organisation based in the UK. This desire was fulfilled when he was awarded a Commonwealth Fellowship in 2015. 

Bees for Development have designed innovative and practical courses in the UK which emphasize science-based, natural approaches to beekeeping. The fellowship programme however was so much more. Product diversification is one such outcome of the fellowship that Mr Biryomumaisho is eager to cascade to the TUNADO members. Beeswax is now being added to the list of potential products for extraction and export. Beeswax is the natural wax produced by bees found deep within the honey comb. “In Uganda, we were wasting the honey combs since we didn’t know about beeswax. But it can be used in cosmetics like lipstick and other hair care products” explained Mr Biryomumaisho later adding there is less international competition for it  compared to honey.   

Another benefit concerns honey crystallisation.  In Uganda honey crystalises and this had caused problems for the honey processers. It was such a big issue that a leading supermarket chain, Nakumatt, had expressed a disinterest in stocking local honey as a result. From the Fellowship he learnt that crystallisation is normal but could be prevented through the use of warmers and stirring machines. This process is known as creaming. He has since shared this with the members and Nakumatt supermarket, who are happy about this new development. The challenge for the organisation now is to get more honey processers creaming their honey. The necessary equipment is costly but they are working with local fabricators to see if simpler models can be made. Still, however, huge investment is needed.

 Mr Biryomumaisho also visited the University of Reading and made a presentation to about 30 Ph.D. students and lecturers. They were excited to hear about the Ugandan bee keeping style. There was so much on offer with this fellowship from understanding the international market, business linkages to wax refinery. He is now able to advise farmers to help position themselves for international markets.   “The task now is to put into practise what was learnt”

The National Honey Week is an annual event held each August that brings different players in the sector together to share best-practise. These include value chain actors, development partners and Government. This year, the event will be held at Forest Mall, Lugogo in Kampala. ‘Given the knowledge acquired during the fellowship when I participated in the UK honey show, we are enriching the event with presentations, Bee Quizzes and a Bee lottery’. I am excited about the difference that will be seen at this year’s National Honey Week as we continue transformation from subsistence to commercial apiculture’ he concludes with lots of enthusiasm in his voice.

What financial support does the plan cover?

The scholarships and fellowships cover most costs associated with your study/time in the UK. This can include, where appropriate, return airfares, tuition fees, personal maintenance costs, study and other allowances.

Eligibility criteria and how to apply

The eligibility criteria and application process for each type of scholarship and fellowship vary.
A prospectus giving the eligibility criteria and application guidelines for each programme is available on the CSC Website at: http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/apply/  

Commonwealth Scholarship Alumni

Over 27,000 individuals globally have held Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships, forming an alumni community with wide interests and high achievements.

If you are a former Commonwealth Scholar or Fellow and have not registered as an alumni member, please send an email to  info@britishcouncil.or.ug  so we can send you the registration forms. Your details will be updated on the CSC database. 

Membership to the CSC Alumni Network is free and comes with numerous benefits including regular issues of the CSC newsletter, access to online professional networks and opportunity to attend alumni networking events in your home country. 

The Uganda Commonwealth alumni association is currently being established. If you are in Uganda and have held a commonwealth scholarship or fellowship in the past, and would like to join the association, please email  info@britishcouncil.or.ug

Commonwealth Alumini Making an Impact: A Step Closer to Forming Association

On Thursday, 4 December 2014 British Council hosted Commonwealth Alumni on behalf of the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission at Sheraton Kampala Hotel. The event was aimed at engaging alumni to generate new ideas and create a way forward for the formation of an Alumni association.

This reception was a continuation of the December 2013 meeting were Alumni agreed to form an association and agreed that the association would be run by Alumni themselves with support from the British Council. The proposed name of the Association is Uganda Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association (UCSFAA).

Currently there are six recognised Alumni associations globally; Australia, Cameroon, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and Mauritius.

Present from British Council were; Marianne Kiggundu, Regional Manager Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan and Millicent Mugabi, Project Manager. David Mpanga, a prominent lawyer and Founder of A.F. Mpanga Advocates was the guest speaker.

“British Council will make sure that you get the recognition you deserve,” said Marianne Kiggundu in her opening remarks. She also shared what other associations in Africa and other parts of the world were doing to strengthen themselves. She advised the scholars to learn from other associations as they move forward.

Arthur Bright Nuwagaba an alumnus and the Interim Coordinator of the association’s working group, highlighted its benefits which included; creating a platform for sharing information, mentoring perspective scholars, tracking and identifying returned scholars and fellows among other things. 

In his address, he also hinted on a proposed Annual General Meeting in February 2015 were the alumni will vote an executive committee and also approve the association’s constitution.

After giving an update of the working group’s activities, Arthur Bright called upon the audience to give their views. Collin Ogara, a Fellow requested the working group committee to put members in clusters based on their expertise. This will allow them to work better and faster.

“Of what relevance are you to society?” asked David Mpanga.  “That’s a question you should be asking yourselves as Commonwealth Alumni,” he added.  He also shared his career journey and his impact to the law profession in Uganda.

Using his own example of how he has managed to specialize in corporate and finance law, he advised the scholars to concentrate on areas where they have an advantage.

The evening was concluded with a networking cocktail.

Commonwealth Alumini Making an Impact: Scholar Driven by Passion for Justice

Arthur Bright Nuwagaba, a Digital Forensic Analyst and Commonwealth scholar completed a Masters in Computer Forensics and System Security at the University of Greenwich London in 2013.

After completing a Bachelors' Degree in Business Computing at Makerere University, he was undecided on whether to have a career in business or ICT. The latter came out on top

His love for Digital Forensics begun with watching Television series like CSI Miami. This inspired him to pursue it at a masters' level. However, he couldn't attain the knowledge he needed to succeed in this field in Uganda because they were no institutions offering the course.

He decided to apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which offered him a life changing opportunity to pursue his dream in the UK. He says, "The masters' degree has helped me settle in a single career line which is Digital Forensics."

Digital Forensics deals with crimes that have been committed through the use of computers, the internet, mobile phones and other digital platforms. Due to lack of professional investigators in this field, most of the crimes go unpunished.

"No one should be allowed to get away with crime”. He says. It is this pursuit for justice that inspired him to start his own company dealing in digital forensic investigations.

He adds "It is no doubt that cyber crime is on the rise in Uganda and we need a solution.” Currently he is working on a proposal to submit to the Ministry of Education to integrate Digital Forensics as a course at University level."

Digital Forensics is one of the marketable courses with very few professionals. He says, “Anyone who is passionate about it and has a chance should pursue it as a career”.

 The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) is an international programme under which member governments offer opportunities to citizens of other Commonwealth countries.

 

More Information

Visit the CSC website for information about Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in the UK http://cscuk.dfid.gov.uk/

Visit the CSFP website for information about Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in countries other than the UK http://www.csfp-online.org/

British Council office info@britishcouncil.or.ug

External links