University of Rwanda is set to start fundraising campaigns with the campus’s former students so as to cope with the university’s shortage of funds.
This comes in the aftermath of the government’s announcement of budget cuts on the funds given to the university, a factor that made it necessary for the university to diversify funding avenues.
UR’s state budgetary allocation was cut by 50 per cent from about Rwf26 billion in 2013 to about Rwf13 billion in the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Dr. Rose Gasibirege, the director in charge of alumni relations at the University of Rwanda told Sunday Times that the university has made preparations to engage with its over 80,000 alumni and “just remind them that they are our product.”
“Like a mother who has got so many children, it is now time to give back to the alma mater. They (the alumni) have been fed and they are what they are, now the mother is seeking their support,” she said.
Among the activities, Dr. Gasibirege said the university will start with a public lecture delivered by one of the prominent alumni of the university to the different campuses of the university.
This, according to Gasibirege is one of the ways the university will use to bring the alumni closer to the mother institution, which will later be followed by organizing of talent shows, exhibitions, among other activities.
For the exhibitions, Gasibirege said that the university will make efforts to visit different alumni-established industries among other institutions and ask them to come and showcase their products at the university’s exhibiting events that will be organized in future.
She added that UR has also looked at putting in place a small, symbolic membership fee for members of the alumni association.
“We are also in touch with the diaspora through a database that we have collected,” she said adding that the university will organize home-coming events, picking a leaf from USA universities.
The University of Rwanda Alumni Association was launched in March this year in a colourful event which was graced by senior government officials including Minister for Environment Dr. Vincent Biruta, Members of Parliament, Senators and other dignitaries most of whom went through the University of Rwanda.
Along with soliciting donations from former students, Dr Charles Murigande, the University’s deputy vice-chancellor for institutional advancement said that they will look at five other strategies to mobilise funding.
These include efficiently using the available resources at the university’s disposal such as leveraging advancements in ICTs to deliver study programmes, sharpening focus on delivering STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses to attract more government funding, and to push lecturers to do income-generating consultancies.
Others include getting lecturers to make research proposals to attract funding from various organisations, as well as tapping into philanthropists’ goodwill.