Carnegie Corporation of New York Announces $2 Million Grant to African University


Makerere University in Uganda has received a $2,015,000 three-year grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to implement a major overhaul of the institution, which began a process of reform last year. With support from the Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Norwegian Agency for International Development, Makerere University prepared a five-year institutional development plan to strengthen the university as a means to respond to national needs and priorities in Uganda. With this grant, the university is implementing six of the strategic goals set out in its reform plan: the provision of scholarships for doctoral training of faculty; the study of the influence of rapid student expansion on academic quality; the establishment of a gender mainstreaming unit and a gender program; the training of librarians and acquisition of publications for the libraries of science-based faculties; and the creation of a distance learning math and science bachelor's degree for school teachers.

"The Partnership is dedicated to strengthening reform movements that are already underway in African higher education. We believe Makerere University is an educational leader that can make a contribution, not only in Uganda but to other institutions across the continent," says Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. "The university has increased enrollment in the last decade and tightened administrative procedures while offering more flexibility to faculty. This grant will enable Makerere's leadership to focus on improving the environment for teaching, learning, research and publications."

"There are strong and visionary leaders at Makerere University who are ready to move the institution to the next stage--academically and administratively," says Narciso Matos, chair of the Corporation's International Development program. "This process of change is being aided by a broadened recognition of the importance of university transformation on the part of the Ugandan government, an elected and democratic government, which is devoted to the reform and decentralization of governance and the public sector and which is supportive of free enterprise," says Matos.

A major part of the university's strategic plan is the improvement of student access, equity and academic quality. With support from the grant, the university hopes to create a gender friendly and inclusive environment for staff and students, which will include programs to recruit, promote and retain female staff as well as maintain a gender balance in student enrollment and performance. Gender sensitization workshops for the university community will be provided and a journal and newsletter on gender issues will be published. The university will also set up six distance education centers offering a Bachelor of Science program to students. A database on research activities and 30 scholarships for doctoral studies will be made available to university faculty. 

The grant will also expand the library system at the university. There will be efforts to increase the capacity for electronic retrieval and delivery of scientific publications as well as to increase the number of books and journals accessible to students and faculty. University librarians will be professionally trained to make this transition possible.

"While the challenges facing many African countries are daunting, many of them are recognizing that their societies need stronger universities to create a new generation of well-educated leaders," says Matos. "We believe the graduates of Makerere can contribute enormously to helping Uganda move forward and that this is a particularly promising moment in the history of the country to support these efforts." 

The Partnership to Strengthen African Universities is a four-foundation collaboration launched in April 2000 by the Ford, MacArthur and Rockefeller foundations and the Corporation aimed at raising awareness about the importance of higher education in African development. The partner foundations are working collectively on research and communication while maintaining distinct individual foundation grantmaking priorities. The partnership has announced an investment of $100 million in African universities during the first five years of its work. 

Carnegie Corporation of New York ( was begun by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 for the "advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding." As a grantmaking foundation, the Corporation seeks to carry out Carnegie's vision of philanthropy, which he said should aim "to do real and permanent good in the world." The Corporation's capital fund, originally donated at a value of about $135 million, had a market value of $1.9 billion on September 30, 2000. The Corporation expects to issue grants of $75 million this year in the areas of education, international peace and security, international development and strengthening U.S. democracy.