The Manager of Accountability to Affected Persons Project at the International Rescue Committee for South Western region in Uganda, John Bisimwa Mulemangabo feels very fortunate to be contributing to Uganda and a community he so easily relates to. A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, John has spent most of his life in Uganda and like many of his had dreams of doing and being more in his life.

In 2016 he learnt of the call for applications for the Postgraduate program from a friend which he immediately responded too. The Postgraduate program implemented by Windle Trust UK and Windle International Uganda was started in 2009. The programme targets the Northern/Eastern/Karamoja regions of Uganda that were affected by LRA insurgency and refugees, it has since supported over 100 students to pursue Masters’ degree programmes in the UK.

Fortunately for John, he was successful and awarded a scholarship to go and pursue a Master of Environment and Business Management at Bangor University, UK in 2017.

Upon his return to Uganda, John started to support Community Based Organizations implementing livelihood and environment projects to improve on their project outcomes. The support was voluntary and included trainings on project development, needs assessments, project evaluation, organizational management and communication. Even after securing employment, he has not stopped

with this support. He has in fact created a project called the “New Innovation Challenge” which heis using to encourage innovation and creativity amongst youth especially university graduates who he believes should not just stick to looking for employment but create opportunities for themselves. He has since got some funding from the International Rescue Committee and Response Innovation Lab to implement a prototype of the project and he looks forward to scaling it up.

For John the ability to impact on his community and even the country is his greatest joy. That is what he believes the scholarship opportunity made possible for him alongside propelling his career growth-it gave the much needed push in the right direction. Before he attained his Master’sDegree, John says securing employment had not been easy and even when he was able to get one the compensation was not enough to take care of his needs and those of his family.

He looks forward to continue advocating for and facilitating increased participation of refugee and host communities in decision making and hopes for many of his peers to get the same kind of opportunity he got.

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