Strong support to the Uganda - Danida Alumni Network’s next steps

Marris Nakayaga, Coordinator Uganda-Danida Alumni Network during the workshop session, Photo: Stephen Ojumbo Wandera, DFC ©

Exciting future activities were proposed when Danida alumni met on December 1 to discuss the Next Step for the Uganda - Danida Alumni Network. Legal Clinics and public talk shows about corruption were some of the ideas that came up during the brainstorm session.

More than 30 Danida alumni meet Friday afternoon on 1 December 2017 to discuss the next step for Danida alumni in Uganda. 

Deputy Ambassador Majbrit Holm Jakobsen from the Danish Embassy, Esther Nakirulu, Coordinator of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network in Uganda and Vibeke Quaade, Communication Consultant from Danida Fellowship Center also took also part in the meeting. Marris Nakayaga, Coordinator of Danida Alumni Network chaired the event. 

Today is the very day that the Danish Ambassador and Uganda’s Minister of Finance, Hon. Kasaija, entered into a new five-year partnership between Denmark and Uganda for 2018-2022. Denmark has committed 945 million DKK in support of Uganda’s National Development Plan, Majbrit Holm Jakobsen said to everyone’s applause. 

Majbrit Jakobsen, Deputy Ambassador talked about the partnership between Denmark and Uganda, Photo: Stephen Ojumbo Wandera, DFC ©

Majbritt Holm Jacobsen went on to embrace the great interest among Danida alumni to maintain the links to Denmark through Danida Alumni Network.  

Tips from the Swedish Institute Alumni Network
Esther Narikulu shared her experience as coordinator of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network in Uganda. She explained that the network started very low key in 2013 with four Master graduates, who wanted to keep in touch with each other after their return to Uganda from their study-stay in Sweden.

To maintain their feeling of connection to Sweden they would meet for fika (Swedish for coffee, ed) in Kampala as they used to  in Stockholm. Other Swedish alumni heard about their meetings and asked if they could join them. The network grew.

The more, the merrier has been our motto from the beginning and the good news about the SI alumni group have spread like ripples in water. We started with four, today we are 600, Esther Narikulu said. 

Esther Nakirulu also talked about some of the activities that the SI alumni have been involved in. They have for example arranged a Father’s Day.

Father’s role in the family in Sweden are different from their roles in Uganda. Together with the embassy and the Swedish institute, we arranged a Father’s Day and were part of launching a photo exhibition about Swedish dads, she said.

Vibeke Quaade presented some of the 2017 highlights of Danida Alumni Network.  She talked about the celebration of Danida Fellowship Centre’s 25 years anniversary in Frederiksberg and the newly inaugurated Danida Alumni Prize, 2017. It was awarded to the distinguished Danida alum and WHO Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom. 

In addition, local Danida Alumni Networks have arranged networking activities with educational institutions in Vietnam and private sector partners and Uganda, where the Nordic Business Association Uganda, NBA together with Danida Alumni Network had spearheaded a Meet and Greet event for Nordic alumni. In Burkina Faso and Kenya, the initial steps are taken towards establishing local Danida alumni networks.

1850 women and men in Uganda have been awarded a Danida Fellowship since 2000. So far, 205 have signed up on the web portal. If you have not signed up yet, please do it now. If you know of Danida alumni colleagues that are not members yet, please encourage them to join us, Vibeke Quaade said. 

Esther Nakirulu, Coordinator of the Swedish Institute Alumni Network in Uganda shared the experiences of setting up a local alumni network and Vibeke Quaade, Communication Consultant Danida Fellowship Centre and Danida Alumni Network presented the new Danida Alumni Network activity call, Photo: Stephen Ojumbo Wandera, DFC ©

Call for activity proposals
She went on to talk about Danida Alumni Network's new activity grants. To encourage continued networking among Danida alumni and to provide opportunities to continue making a positive impact in their community or professional field Danida alumni are encouraged to apply for activity grants. 

The first call is open from 4 December 2017 to 26 January 2018
Arranging activities and events are part of building a strong network. Danida Alumni in Uganda have very diverse professional backgrounds. A large group is from the justice law and order sector but there is also a large group in agri-business. The varied composition can create many exciting activities, Vibeke Quaade said

During the subsequent brain storm session a number of relevant ideas for future activities came up. They included: Legal or agri clinics, where Danida alumni would offer free advice to the public; public talk shows about corruption or other current issues; celebrations of the Danish national day; collaborations with the Danish embassy on selected events; exhibitions, seminars or lectures about distinctive alumni’s professions or issues that alumni are involved in, community service, get-to-gether-meetings with the other Nordic alumni networks

Discussing the organizational structure
During the meeting the organizational structure of Danida alumni in Uganda were also discussed. 

An informal organizational structure was suggested by the members as the most suitable for the alumni network in Uganda. They suggested a committee of four would to be elected among the Danida alumni that have signed up on the web portal. The responsibility of the four-committee would be coordination, publicity and documentation.

More than 30 Danida alumni meet Friday afternoon on 1 December 2017 to discuss the next step for Danida alumni in Uganda, Photo: Stephen Ojumbo Wandera, DFC ©

From the side of the Danida Alumni Network secretariat it was emphasized that it is entirely up to the local alumni networks to choose a structure that fits the local network as long as a coordinating committee of minimum four including a coordinator are in place.  In addition, the chosen organisational structure ought to accommodate sub-local network (in the case of Uganda, for instance in Gulu or Arua) as long as coordination and collaboration takes place between the national local alumni network and the sub-networks.



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