12 Mar 2013

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission provides funding for OU students in Uganda and Kenya

Students studying in Uganda

Students studying in Uganda

The Open University has secured £235,000 of funding from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission to support 15 students from Uganda and Kenya on the MSc in development management. The cohort will start studying in November 2013.

This announcement follows previous awards sponsored by the Department for International Development since 2008. The Open University (OU) has strong links with Uganda and Kenya because of its working partnership with the Kulika Trust in Uganda, a charitable trust specialising in the provision of educational scholarships for students in East Africa.

Before awarding the funding the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission’s Distance Learning Committee looked in depth at a variety of criteria including the use of technologies; recruitment and targeting of students; success rates of previous cohorts; data of course completion rates for 'developing' country students; and the intended development impact of course activities as well as subsequent career information of alumni.

Richard Pinder, Development Management Qualification Director at The Open University (OU) said, "This continued funding highlights the commitment to providing educational opportunities to people in East Africa. Our aim is to enable those who study with the OU to engage with the challenges of global development and equip them with the knowledge to address and implement development strategies.”

The importance of such opportunities for students in Uganda and Kenya is evident by the feedback from those who have completed the MSc in Development Management.

“Obtaining a MSc Development Management opens higher positions in the development field as I am able to compete favourably with other peers in the field and my employer values me and already they have committed to take me on as a Program Manager as a replacement of an expat who will be leaving.”(Extract from the 2008 cohort feedback).

“Initially I was recruited as a project manager but three months after my recruitment I was promoted to a senior manager upon recognition of the way I engaged with issues which basically is as a result of the interaction with The Open University course materials.” (Extract from the 2009 cohort feedback)

“A direct example [of my qualification] is my involvement in several tripartite negotiations and discussions between the United Nations World Food Programme (UNWFP), local grain traders/businessmen and the rural smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda. In 2010, I worked as a senior program assistant in the Purchase for Progress project that the UNWFP was funding and implementing to boost rural incomes and strengthen smallholder farmer organizations and institutions. I contributed my efforts training the rural farmers and helped build their grassroots organizations to enable them market their grains directly to WFP and increased their negotiation power given that they were often cheated in the open markets by the grain traders. This is a direct benefit to local development from my studies.” (Extract from the 2008 cohort feedback).

The MSc in Development Management, with Development Policy and Practice, was launched in 1996. It now has more than 1,000 alumni. To date students in more than 100 countries have studied the OU’s development management modules.

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