Fojo Media Institute, a Swedish organization that entered into a partnership with University of Rwanda in 2015, has initiated a scholarship programme for economically vulnerable students of the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) of the University of Rwanda.
The initiative was rolled out early this year with 21 students. The scholarship covers all tuition fees for the entire duration of their undergraduate studies.
According to Alex Buyinza, the Fojo project coordinator at SJC, the decision was taken after it was realized that some students were struggling to raise tuition and some missed classes as a result, which affected their academic performance.
“We might increase the number later in the year once the means allow,” he said, adding that the scholarship programme will remain part of the Fojo-UR partnership.
Fojo started working with UR back in 2015 and the two signed a deal that will run through 2020.
Jules Uwintije, a second year student who is among the scholarship beneficiaries, told Kaminuza Star that initially it was difficult for him to get tuition fees and he would sometimes get part-time jobs which would make him miss classes.
“It was too difficult for me to attend all classes but since I got the scholarship it has been easier for me to concentrate in class. I really appreciate Fojo for coming up with this initiative and giving us hope,” said Uwintije.
Fojo also announced a short-term course in Sweden for SJC students and four students were selected as the pioneer intake this year. The six-week course will cover media and news literacy, media and intercultural communication, e-health in a global perspective, and arts and landscape painting. The pioneering group chose to do the former two courses.
“The purpose of this course is to empower trainees with the tools to become international journalists,” said Joseph Njuguna, the dean of SJC.
The beneficiaries are star performers, he said.
Buyinza also said that Fojo has introduced another programme targeting practicing Rwandan journalists during which trainees will learn skills related to investigative journalism and doing stories that are gender sensitive.
He added that FOJO will also continue to deploy Swedish volunteers to SCJ, an initiative he says has helped improve the learning experience for students.
Fojo is an independent institution at the non-profit public Linnaeus University, one of Sweden’s biggest universities.