Meet a scholar: Mariam Nassaka, Uganda

“2017 has been my year of extraordinary things…now I can see and touch the things I used to watch in my dreams.”

Nassaka is studying so she can help her community overcome social problems and provide rights-based mentorship to other women and girls. You can watch a short film she made for the Watipa film competition on YouTube.

Nassaka has recently completed the first year of a bachelors degree in Social Work and Administration at Uganda Christian University which she aims to use to “help people overcome social problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and disease in communities” through research, advocacy and skills like budgeting. Having completed her first year of class, Nassaka is now busy conducting field practice with the Uganda Youth Coalition on Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and HIV.

Nassaka says through her scholarship, “Watipa paved a way” for her “not to lose the chance” of a university education. She had been having difficulty balancing work, financial pressures and study but the scholarship has enabled her to focus on her education and she has used the opportunity to get involved in as many activities as possible. For example, she now conducts school health talks and community dialogues on topics like menstrual hygiene, HIV and body changes during puberty for boys and girls.

Though she credits Watipa with providing the education, hope and progress she has made, it is really her own hard work and being a “determined young woman” that has made her studying “dream come true”. She has been so inspired by being part of the Watipa programme that she feels it is essential to share what she has gained for the wellbeing of others, a drive which fits perfectly with Watipa’s founding ideas.

In 2018 Nassaka will focus on sharing the story of her experiences at university, her Watipa scholarship and the outcomes of her community work with a wider audience through a new blog and she wants to support Watipa’s work by mentoring new scholars, advocating for the importance of education and helping to fundraise so others can benefit from education as she has

Isaac Barry


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