CSC Alumni Rwanda Meeting

Organised by Gatera Fiston Kitema (2018 Shared Scholar, MSc Public Health for Eye Care, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), the event brought together alumni in Rwanda to discuss the work achieved so far in establishing an alumni association in Rwanda and ways for alumni to support the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2020 (CHOGM), taking place in Kigali later in the year. The event was kindly hosted by the University of Rwanda.

CSC Chair, Richard Middleton, attended and delivered the introduction to the event. He stressed the importance of alumni engagement in demonstrating and continuing the impact of Commonwealth Scholars, and encouraged alumni to feedback to the CSC through evaluation surveys to support the continuity and improvement of the programme. He also highlighted the importance of the visibility of Commonwealth Alumni in Rwanda ahead of CHOGM 2020 and the benefits of Rwanda’s membership of the Commonwealth.

Gatera Fiston introduced himself to alumni as a recently returned Scholar and shared an update on his work so far in establishing an alumni association in Rwanda. This was something he had been keen to do from the outset of his Scholarship and had volunteered to coordinate the association until after CHOGM, together with fellow alumni. Alumni expressed an interest in supporting the association and in developing an active group, with many volunteering to support this goal.

CSC Chair, Richard Middleton, sits with a group of alumni discussing and writing their thoughts on the aims of an alumni association in Rwanda

CSC Chair, Richard Middleton, discusses the aims of an alumni association with a group of attendees

Following these introductions, alumni split into four groups to discuss ways in which they can make an impact in Rwanda, both as individuals and as an association. Questions focused on why alumni wanted to be part of the association, what alumni felt should be the priorities of the association, how they could contribute to these, and ways to raise the visibility of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships. Suggestions included supporting new Scholars and Distance Learners, networking and sharing opportunities, providing talks and information sessions, and identifying ways to support CHOGM 2020 through government and organising departments.

Following this activity, participants agreed to connect via social media and WhatsApp, with Gatera Fiston taking the lead in coordinating identified activities and outlining the core objectives of the association. Four attendees volunteered to support him in these initial activities: Emerance Umurerwa (2016 Distance Learning Scholar, MSt International and Human Rights Law, University of Oxford), Ferdinand Gakuba (2012 Distance Learning Scholar, MSc Poverty Reduction: Policy and Practice, SOAS, University of London), Robert Rukundo (2014 Distance Learning Scholar, MSc Finance, SOAS, University of London), and Lydia Christella Uwineza (2018 Distance Learning Scholar, MSc Global Food Security (Food Safety), Queen’s University Belfast).

You can view photos from the event on CSC Flickr.

If you are a Commonwealth Alumnus and would like to find out more about CSC events and activities taking in Rwanda, please contact or connect directly with the alumni association via the Facebook group.