The Rotary Foundation International visits AKU-SONAM

News 2012

​AKU School of Nursing and The Rotary Foundation International enhancing access to nursing education 

April 17, 2012

​A grant from The Rotary Foundation International (TRFI) to Aga Khan University’s (AKU) Nursing programme across East Africa is making it possible for nurses to access further education while working.

“I am very impressed with the contribution that the partnership is making to the students’ personal and professional growth,” said Ms Anne Mathews, The Rotary International President’s Representative, during her visit to the University in Nairobi on 7 April, 2012.

 Ms Anne Mathews (R), Professor Yasmin Amarsi (C), Mr Kaushik, Charter member of Rotary Club of Muthaiga and Keith Castelino (L), Chair, ‘Rotarians Fighting for Aid, Kenya'.

The visit focused on progress on the strategic partnership between AKU and TRFI which focuses on providing quality health care to vulnerable mothers and children. Of particular interest were scholarships offered to and mentorship of nursing students from AKU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery in East Africa (SONAM), as well as the training of nurse educators by Rotary Vocational Training Teams. Ms Mathews was pleased with the overall progress of the strategic partnership between AKU and TRFI, which began in 2011. 
Professor Yasmin Amarsi, Foundation Dean SONAM in East Africa, conveyed gratitude to TRFI for supporting the students and contributing to minimizing the burden of funding their education. The TRFI grant covers 80% of tuition fee for the full duration of the Post-Registered Nurse Bachelor of Science in Nursing programme.

Mr Kaushik Manek, Charter member of Rotary Club of Muthaiga and Keith Castelino, Chair, ‘Rotarians Fighting for Aid, Kenya' gave a brief background on the recruitment process for the AKU rotary scholars across East Africa. Mr Manek explained that the partnership presented a much needed opportunity to impact communities at the grassroots level, through working directly with the scholars. In addition, it was noteworthy that the scholars had faculty advisors at AKU to support them academically and their Rotarian mentors to support them professionally and in some cases academically too.

Ms Mathews met with the AKU Rotary Scholars who shared their individual experiences. Prisca Makau, one of the nursing scholars, expressed appreciation for the scholarship, stating that the scholarship has given her the opportunity to enhance her leadership skills and serve her community. Other nursing scholars, Suzan Kiperen and Rispa Muiruri, were both impressed and inspired by the Rotarian mentors and felt challenged by the fact that the Rotarians were busy professionals who could still find the time to work with them.

Ms Anne Mathews (C) and Prof Yasmin Amarsi (R) with AKU-SONAM Faculty and Rotary Scholars in Nairobi
A majority of the scholars indicated that prior to the scholarship, meeting their financial responsibilities had been quite a challenge in light of other competing priorities like family commitments. However, they are now able to focus on their studies with many aspiring to uplift the health status of mothers and children in their communities.
Other participants at the event included Dr. Mushtaq Ahmed, Associate Dean, Medical College in East Africa; Dr. John Tole, Associate Dean, Clinical Affairs & Chief of Staff, Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi (AKUH, N); Dr. Zeenat Sulaiman, Chief Nursing Officer, AKUHN; and Dr. Connie Mureithi, Academic Head, Advanced Nursing Studies Programme, Kenya.

The Aga Khan University
Advanced Nursing Studies
P. O. Box 39340 - 00623
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel:  +254 20 374 7483/ 374 5808
Fax:  +254 20 374 7004