The Ugandan High Commissioner joined the Westminster Business School MBA graduates, staff, students and business leaders at a reception to celebrate the collaboration between the University and the Busoga Trust, a charity supplying clean drinking water to the rural areas of Uganda.
On 26 November at the Marylebone Campus, the guest of honour was His Excellency Mr Peter Moto, Ugandan High Commissioner to the UK, joined by his deputy Mr John Mugerwa. Mr Moto delivered a presentation on effective partnerships in Uganda and the future for Africa.
Other speakers included Miss Lydia Slack, representing the Busoga Trust, and Professor Malcolm Kirkup, Head of the Westminster Business School. Professor Kirkup gave an introductory speech praising the MBA programme at the school and for producing ‘responsible, compassionate and progressive’ graduates, all of which are able to operate in complex and risky (VUCA) environments. Similarly, Dr Katalin Illes, Associate Head of College (External Relations), echoed this in her speech. In addition, Dr Vincent Rich, Head of the School of Organisations, Economy and Society, also spoke. He highlighted the alignment of the project with a United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6).
Dr Anthony Agbobu, project leader and a practising Physician and Rheumatologist at Dorset County Hospital, together with Taiwo Coker, gave a keynote presentation at the celebration. Other members of the MBA project team were Esther Isaac, Kumar Gaurav and Iuliana Udangiu.
Dr Agbobu provided a report on the outcomes of the project which focused on an investigation of the accuracy and cost-efficiency of self-reporting approaches of water sources in rural Busoga, Uganda. In these villages, water is normally accessed via shallow hand-dug water hand pumps. They frequently become partially functional and then non-functional, resulting in massive costs of repair or replacement.
As a result, the MBA team identified the need for weekly checks using a checklist they had devised themselves, as well as highlighting the importance of effective governance in enforcing these checks. Other solutions included women’s education, bank deposits for maintenance funds and the use of cheap mobile technology.
More broadly the project required the MBA team to test a series of hypotheses and how these aligned with the reality on the ground, to demonstrate adaptability to changing circumstances, awareness of and empathy with the local cultural context and the need for effective collaboration to build lasting solutions that ensure legacy.
This intervention builds on a number of projects over the last few years that have seen over 65 University of Westminster Masters and MBA students working with the Busoga Trust to support rural communities in Uganda on issues of clean water access and sanitation.
The event closed with a buffet dinner reception where attendees had the chance to network with each other.
Dr Agbobu said about the event: “The Ugandan High Commissioner hailed Westminster Business School for an inspiring and thought-provoking reception which brought together senior University staff, MBA Graduates, students, charity representatives and business leaders for a successful evening of shared learning and networking reflecting Westminster Business School values in producing responsible, compassionate and progressive graduates.”
The new MBA programme will be launching in September 2020.