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AFRICAN RURAL UNIVERSITY hosts Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria to Showcase Rural Transformation Impact


AFRICAN RURAL UNIVERSITY hosts Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria to Showcase Rural Transformation Impact

Dr. Victoria Sekitoleko facilitating foundation course

By Joseph Odoi

In a landmark event spanning from the 27th to the 28th of August 2023, Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria, Chairman of Uganda Agri-Business Alliance and a member of the Private Sector Foundation, paid a momentous visit to African Rural University (ARU) and its founder organization, Uganda Rural Development Training (URDT) Community. The objective of this visit was to witness firsthand the profound impact that ARU and URDT have made in rural transformation.

During the Foundational Course held at the Center for Reflection on the ARU Campus this morning, ARU Vice Chancellor – Dr. Mwalimu Musheshe Ashoka Fellow, in a special way welcomed Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria to African Rural University, an all-women university dedicated to rural transformation within the African Context.

He then provided a brief overview of Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria’s remarkable journey, highlighting her tenure as Ugandan Minister of Agriculture from 1986 to 1995. Recognizing her as a visionary leader, Dr. Mwalimu honored Dr. Victoria Sekitoleko for her exceptional efforts in driving rural transformation.

In her address as Chief Guest, Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria, the Chairperson of Uganda Agribusiness Alliance and Board Member of the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSU), expressed gratitude to Dr. Mwalimu Musheshe for his unwavering dedication for rural transformation and empowerment of girls. She highlighted that despite misconceptions surrounding the concept of rural transformation, Dr. Mwalimu stood strong in his resolve to facilitate an education approach focused on women empowerment as a yardstick of rural transformation in Kagadi District and beyond.

Dr. Sekitoleko also commended the students of ARU for choosing the path of rural transformation, emphasizing the immense potential it holds.

On the subject of women empowerment, Dr. Sekitoleko emphasized that prioritizing women is essential, as they hold the power to shape our lives through their influence in every aspect.

‘’Prioritizing women is not just a choice, but a necessity. If you don’t prioritize women, you are going nowhere. Whatever you say, do, think, eat, and even your life is in their hands,” she explained.

Empowering Youth and Promoting Arts

Dr. Sekitoleko further stressed the significance of prioritizing youth in development programs across all levels. Moving forward, she highlighted the need for the establishment of creative hubs for youth in every district in Uganda. Additionally, she zeroed in on the importance of infrastructural development like music facilities and centers, as they can stimulate the local economy and create more opportunities.

Value-Based Friendships

In her address to participants, particularly students, Dr. Sekitoleko underscored the significance of cultivating value-based friendships and cautioned against maintaining companionships that do not contribute positively to personal growth.

Grant Opportunities and Future Plans

During a meeting with URDT/ARU staff and the Former Minister of Agriculture, discussions revolved around opportunities and grant possibilities within the Private Sector Foundation for women. Dr. Sekitoleko encouraged women to apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. She also promised to return to the ARU campus before the end of 2023.

Dr. John Tusiime, a lecturer, expressed deep appreciation for Dr. Sekitoleko’s long-lasting friendship and partnership with ARU and URDT. Citing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, Mr. Tusiime noted that transformation moves hand in hand with partnerships in transformation.

The Academic Registrar of ARU, Mr. Lwanga Anthony, thanked Dr. Sekitoleko for her dedicated service, particularly in the Agricultural Sector, which has had a positive impact on numerous lives.

Jackline Katusabe, the Guild President of ARU, thanked Dr. Sekitoleko for advocating for youth and re-echoed the need for infrastructural development to support various talents and initiatives including arts, crafts, and agriculture, among others.

As part of the visit, a video titled “Africa on the Move” was shown, narrating the story of Uganda, ARU, and URDT in rural transformation.

To crown off the day, an exhibition was held at ARU campus to showcase the institution’s community impact and work, including micro-irrigation technology led by ARU Dean Dr. Bagenda Sengonzi, Epicenter Strategy Work, and Young Africa Works program. Traditional wisdom specialists, who play a crucial role in facilitating learning at ARU, also displayed their work. Dr. Victoria Sekitoleko’s visit attracted over 100 participants at the URDT Community.

About Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria

Dr. Sekitoleko Victoria is a former Minister of Agriculture in the Uganda government, a post she held from 1986 to 1995. After politics, Victoria became the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Sub Regional Representative to Eastern and Southern Africa, based in Harare, Zimbabwe (1995-2004). She later served as the FAO’s representative in Ethiopia to the African Union and to the Economic Community for Africa, and in October 2006, she became FAO’s representative in China, Mongolia, and South Korea, a post she maintained until her retirement in 2011.

She is the founder of Uganda Community Cultural Centre (operating as Speakers Forum) which promotes reading through community libraries and trains people in debate, public speaking, and advocacy.

She is also the Chairperson and founding member of Uganda Agribusiness Alliance, Chairperson for the Best Farmer Competition Judging Panel, and sits on the Board of the Private Sector Foundation of Uganda (PSFU), among many other senior appointments in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors.