The Scholar Council hosts its third General Assembly

By Rebecca Prefina

The Scholar Council at USIU-Africa recently hosted its annual General Assembly, which brings together Scholars to celebrate their achievements and discuss ways to support each other. The assembly, held on November 24, served as an opportunity for the Scholar Council to share their achievements since coming into office on April 12.

Ms. Faith Mugambi, the Scholar Recruitment and Selection Officer, kicked off the event with her remarks, which set the tone for the rest of the engagement.

Following the protocol outlined in the Scholars’ Constitution, the assembly was skillfully moderated by the Financial Advisor, Agnes Bulege, while Rashid Wamela, the Scholar Representative/ President, took the audience through a meticulously organized presentation. This comprehensive session comprised twelve segments, encompassing introductory elements, a reflection on the inauguration, a summary of achievements, discussions on pending issues, insights into extracurricular engagements, and culminated with a documentary highlighting the Council's endeavors over the year. The interactive nature of the assembly encouraged Scholars to pose questions, making it a truly transparent and inclusive discussion.

Emphasizing the Council's commitment to its vision and mission, President Wamela reiterated the essence of being a Scholar-centric Council, dedicated to representing Scholars' interests and serving their needs.

Lenora Kelen, the Vice President, spoke on the Council's efforts in strengthening institutional capacities, introducing new leadership categories such as Country Representatives to aid international Scholars with embassy-related challenges, and fostering academic groups and support systems. She expounded on the Council's collaboration with the Baobab platform, enhancing support during pre-orientation sessions for Cohorts 6 and 7. She also led an in-depth discussion on entrepreneurship and transition initiatives, specifically the Resolution Project, which saw over 50 Scholars participate. Thirteen Scholars progressed to the finals, securing funding for innovative projects, marking a significant stride in fostering entrepreneurial initiatives within the Scholar community.

Rebecca Prefina, the Scholar Support Representative, highlighted the impactful journey of the Scholar Council. She specifically emphasized the success of the vibrant African Day event, which focused on promoting unity through team-building activities and cultural showcases. Notably, the Council significantly expanded its awards program, elevating Best Families from 1 shield to 2, live goats and 3 shields, enhancing Top Performance for Best Countries from 3 to 5 shields, and elevating Outstanding Individuals from 5 medals to 10 gold medals. Additionally, she elaborated on the evolution of the Scholar Connect event, which transformed into a three-day extravaganza, uniting over 700 Scholars. This event served as a benchmark for future interactions, evolving through continuous improvement inspired by valuable Scholar feedback.

Agnes Bulege, the Financial Advisor, delved into the enhancements made in meal provisions and stipends, focusing on initiatives aimed at easing Scholars’ challenges by liberalizing meal cards, implementing cash distribution for meals, and proposing stipend enhancements to alleviate living costs.

David Ndayizeye, the Inclusion representative, emphasized the Council's dedication to supporting Scholars with disabilities, ensuring their integration into all activities and providing essential services such as funding for laundry services, highlighting the Council's commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity within the Scholar community.

The President also addressed the ongoing efforts of the Scholar Council, encompassing initiatives such as the Scholar-led Sacco registration, a constitutional review, and the implementation of a Swahili language program for international students facing language barriers. These initiatives reflect the Council's commitment to addressing critical issues faced by Scholars.

The Scholar Council also went the extra mile and conducted hostel check-in sessions in collaboration with the Liaison Committee member Rodrigue Irampa, reinforcing their dedication to building strong connections with Scholars, actively addressing concerns, and welcoming suggestions to enhance the Scholars’ experience in their residential areas.

Collaboration between the Scholar Council and the Transitions Team has successfully facilitated Scholar access to the African Career Network (ACN) platform. This platform provides a broad network for Scholars to engage with professionals, access mentorship opportunities, and explore various career pathways.

Furthermore, the Council took proactive measures to ensure international students' embassy registrations by facilitating formal visits to embassies. Scholars interacted with embassy officials, at the Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Zambia embassies, with the final visit to Malawi taking place on December 1, marking the Council's commitment to fostering a supportive environment for international Scholars.

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