Promoting Access to Education for Vulnerable and Marginalised Learners through Scholarships

At WIU, we understand that Education is a fundamental human right and scholarships are one way of ensuring that this right is protected and promoted for all young people, regardless of their background or circumstances. Scholarships are crucial in promoting access to education for vulnerable and marginalized students, including refugees. With support from UNHCR and other partners, WIU provides scholarships to vulnerable and marginalized students, including refugees, to support their education through primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education. The scholarship management program is designed to ensure that the scholarships are awarded fairly and transparently and that the students who receive them are able to make the most of the opportunities they provide. The scholarships target all refugees residing outside Uganda, those in Uganda and their host communities. The beneficiaries of the scholarships are enrolled in primary, secondary, tertiary and university institutions of learning within and outside Uganda. Some of the scholarship programmes include; primary school scholarships for children with special needs, secondary school scholarships for orphans and other vulnerable children, vocational scholarships and teacher training, the Albert Einstein Academic Refugee Initiative (DAFI) University Scholarship Programme, Student Refugee Program (SRP) and Windle – UK Master’s programme.

By providing financial support to vulnerable and marginalized students, WIU is helping to ensure that all young people have the opportunity to receive a quality education, regardless of their background or circumstances.

The history of scholarships and trends over time:

Peace Prize Project Scholarship – 1996

In 1996, the Peace Prize Project funded by UNESCO was awarded to Windle International Uganda then known as Hugh Pilkington Charitable Trust by UNHCR given the good working relationship and credible structures. An amount of 50,000 dollars was allotted to support 56 meritorious refugee pupils who took 1996 Uganda Primary Leaving Examination. The selection criteria included recognition as a refugee in Uganda, best Sudanese refugees, 14 years old and those with disabilities were highly considered. This project enabled them study their O’ level through A ‘level to completion. Some of the beneficiaries were on boarded to the current DAFI scholarship and have since acquired their first degrees.

The Acholi Bursary Scheme funded by Royal Netherland Kingdom (2005-2015); This 10 years’ project supported students from the Acholi region, in the districts including Pader, Kitgum, and Gulu. The main categories of the project included abductees, young mothers and LRA affected families. This was implemented between 2005 – 2015 supporting 3500 students in all secondary education levels and vocational skills training. Some of the beneficiaries are currently working with education partners in Uganda including Windle International Uganda. Being One of the biggest and most successful scholarship projects more money was awarded to Windle International Uganda by the Ambassador to construct schools, classroom blocks at vocational institutions like St.Monica in Gulu among others. Key trades under this scholarship included – Medicine, Civil Engineering, Teacher training, and Tailoring.

The Charitas University Scholarship at Makerere University (2000-2006) – This program supported disadvantaged students but with good performance. It focused on all young people living in Uganda including the refugees. 80 students benefited from this scholarship and currently are all in gainful employment as a result of WIU’s scalable internship program.

Vocational and Secondary scholarship (2004-2016) – This scholarship was managed by Windle International Uganda on behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister and Local Government. 850 beneficiaries account for this scholarship at secondary and vocational training levels. 60% of the beneficiaries from this project have benefited from the DAFI scholarship. These are currently in gainful employment and some have started change making initiatives in their communities. The Executive Director of Now and Tomorrow one of them. Find his profile here.

UNJPP (2012-2014) –  This scholarship benefited students in Arua region at secondary level. This was managed on behalf of UNHCR where 90 beneficiaries were supported through O and A’ levels. This uniquely supported refugees at a tune of 60% and nationals at 40%.

Below are the different programs we manage under scholarships:

DAFI Scholarship Program

Higher education makes it possible for thousands of refugee youth to develop skills and earn qualifications to allow them to become change-makers who can take the lead in identifying solutions to the challenges that affect them and their communities.

The DAFI (Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative) scholarship programme offers qualified refugee and returnee students the possibility to earn an undergraduate degree in their country of asylum or home country. The purpose of the DAFI Programme is to contribute to the self-reliance of refugees by providing them with a professional qualification for future employment. The programme aims at promoting self-reliance through increased access to opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, empowering students to contribute knowledge, skills and leadership to the host and home countries upon return.

For students and graduates, the DAFI programme serves as a foundation for social and professional development, allowing them to build careers in competitive fields of employment. The social returns of the DAFI program exceed investment at the individual level. Highly educated refugees reduce economic and psychological dependence of the whole communities in asylum, improving their self-reliance and preparing them for durable solutions.

WIU has partnered with leading public and privately own accredited institutions of learning in Uganda to provide scholars the opportunity to get world class quality education and training Read More 

James Aryam Scholarships Programme

James Aryam Scholarships Programme is the new Windle Trust International (WTI) flagship Postgraduate Programme. It is implemented in partnership with Windle International Uganda and supports students from Sudan and South Sudan to study for a 2-year master’s degree in Ugandan universities. Established in 2023, the scholarship aims to increase access to postgraduate education for students from Sudan and South Sudan, whilst honouring the life and work of Mr. Aryam, a dedicated Windle servant and former Executive Director of Windle International Uganda, who sadly passed away in 2021. Currently there are twelve (12) postgraduate students mainly South Sudanese studying at Makerere University and Kyambogo University in Kampala.

Why Sudan and South Sudan?

We believe that education transforms societies and is the best way to make lasting change. We also know that both Sudan and South Sudan are in dire need of increased educational opportunities. Whilst WTI has been working for almost four decades in taking scholars from East Africa to the UK, the James Aryam Scholarships represent Windle Trust International’s first foray into strategically offering Postgraduate level scholarships within East Africa itself. The changing scholarship landscape and the improved quality of institutions in East Africa are an opportunity to bring more scholarship opportunities to potential students.


  • Origin and coverage: Candidates should be resident in the regions of Africa in which we work. In practice this means that candidates should be resident in specific areas of Kenya or Uganda, or throughout the entireties of Sudan and South Sudan.
  • Student status: A scholarship recipient should be a refugee, internally displaced, marginalised, needy, or otherwise affected by conflict.
  • Financial need: A scholarship recipient should demonstrate genuine financial need and should be unable to meet the costs of study independently.
  • Gender: We will give priority to girls and young women. We strive to bridge gender disparity in communities, schools, and employment sectors by offering scholarship opportunities to empower women.

What can I study?

Scholarships are available for students wanting to study courses related to:

  • Education
  • Social Work
  • Development Studies
  • Public Health
  • Nutrition
  • Crop science
  • Animal Science
  • Gender Studies
  • Renewable Energy
  • Climate Change

Where can I study?

  • You will be advised on suitable universities and specific courses following your application.


The University of Kisubi Female Refugee Scholarship (UNIK Scholarship)

In a significant step towards promoting education and gender equality, UNHCR in collaboration with the University of Kisubi have launched a scholarship program supporting 19 refugee girls pursue their Bachelor’s degree in Education. The scholarship is managed by Windle International Uganda who will support the scholarship receipients comfortably attain their education at the University of Kisubi. The program is funded by UNHCR and University of Kisubi.

The Aim

This initiative aims to provide educational opportunities to refugee girls, empowering them to become role models within their communities.

Background and Objectives

The scholarship program recognizes the unique challenges faced by refugee girls, including limited access to quality education. It is driven by the following key objectives:

  1. Access to Higher Education: The primary goal is to break barriers to higher education that refugee girls often encounter. By providing full scholarships for a Bachelor’s degree in Education, the program ensures that these girls have the opportunity to pursue advanced studies.
  2. Empowering Role Models: The program aims to empower these young women to become role models within their communities. By receiving higher education, they can serve as examples of success, inspiring other girls and young women to pursue their academic and career aspirations.
  3. Promoting Female Teachers: One of the program’s long-term objectives is to address the shortage of female teachers, both in Uganda and beyond. By encouraging and supporting refugee girls to become teachers, it contributes to increasing the representation of women in the education sector

The Bachelors of Education Course was selected as a result of the usefulness of becoming a teacher;

Becoming a teacher is a highly valuable and impactful profession, particularly in the context of Uganda and other refugee-hosting countries. Here’s why:

  1. Addressing Educational Gaps: Female teachers play a crucial role in addressing educational gaps, especially in underprivileged areas. They provide a diverse perspective and often serve as mentors to students, creating a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.
  2. Empowering Girls: Female teachers serve as powerful role models for girls, showing them that they too can achieve academic and professional success. This can boost girls’ confidence and motivation to excel in their studies.
  3. Fostering Gender Equality: Having more female teachers promotes gender equality by challenging stereotypes and encouraging boys and girls to learn and collaborate together, breaking gender-based barriers.

Selection Process

This scholarship is inclusive and did not focus on age or one’s motherhood status to access the scholarship. During selection, the criteria below was followed;

  1. Must be a female refugee
  2. Have credits or pass at O level including Mathematics and English
  3. Have 2 priniciple passes at A’level. Having these in core subjects besides languages was an added advantage for admission and access to the scholarship.

The Postgraduate Program

The postgraduate program started in 1997 targeting refugee and from 2009 the Northern/Eastern/Karamoja regions of Uganda that were affected by LRA insurgency.  The Program has supported over 100 Students to pursue Masters’ degree programs in the United Kingdom, to develop further technical expertise and professional skills to strengthen institutions, diminish gender-based inequalities and reduce the risks of social division. Read More…

Scholarships for Persons with Special Needs (PSNs) And Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs)

Children with learning disabilities are often neglected and looked down upon by the society. They often receive negative feedback from schools and hence refuse to develop positive cognitions to the outside world. It is therefore not easy for children with any kind of disability, to keep at pace with the learning process of children, who do not have special needs. This is very wrong. As humans, it is their basic right to an equal opportunity of receiving education. They have the right to live a fulfilling life, exploring its fullest potential. Read More…

The Student Refugee Program (Canada)

Windle International Uganda in partnership with World University Services Canada(WUSC) is implementing the Student Refugee Program(SRP) in Uganda aimed at providing young refugee students’ access to quality higher Education and resettlement in Canada.

The Student Refugee Program provides young refugees with life-changing opportunities to continue their education on Canadian campuses and build a better future for themselves and their families. Read More…


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