Our Chief Guest: Honourable Sarah Opendi, State Minister of Health (General Duties)
My fellow graduates, this is a very special day for each one of us; looking at how far we have come, it has been a really long, but a most interesting journey. I thank the Almighty God that has seen us through each step of the course all the way to this day; a day of acknowledgement and celebration of our efforts. That recognition that we have worked towards is in our hands now in the form of our degrees and diplomas! “Congratulations to you All”!!!
Allow me to thank all Aga Khan University Faculty without exceptions who have journeyed with us from day one till now, they never got tired of us even in moments when we did things that seemed unbearable “Thank you so much”. In a special way, we thank; our employers who granted us the two days every week to attend class, our family members, relatives and friends for all the support and sacrifices made to ensure that we not only complete the course but also succeed in our studies.
As earlier said, the journey to this day has been long; It started with us applying for the course, then interviews were held and some people never qualified for the course, and we who are here today, were accepted to join the Mighty Aga Khan University.
In the period we have been at the university, we have gone through the study program that is designed in such a way that students have 2 contact days in a week, and through blended learning techniques (in specific virtual learning education platform) students continue studying throughout and also get an opportunity to engage with other students from other AKU campuses. This experience gave us an opportunity to study as we work, share experience with other students and generated motivation for self driven learning.
Furthermore, the different teaching methods i.e. group work, case studies, identifying and solving problems at our workplaces, has built us professionally and given us a chance to implement some changes at our work places even though we were still students. (At this moment allow me to recognize Miss Nalukwago Betty a BScN 2016 graduate who was voted as the best Nurse in Luwero District – Uganda) “This is what makes Aga Khan University a special university”. Most importantly, the course that we have completed has built our competence in leadership and research skills the components much desired in the Nursing and Education profession today.
The university through the registrar’s office introduced a sports program and students engaged in different sporting activities and also participated in the annual University sports competitions. This has kept the students physically active and healthy, and on top of that, a student’s counsellor was introduced, who offers counselling sessions to students on different human challenges. These innovations have helped students to cope up with the pressure and stresses that are associated with adult learning.
As we graduate today, we understand that the Nursing, and Education profession has come far with new innovations evolving each day, which gives us hope that the future is bright. However, there are still challenges that we face and we have to work hard to change. The good thing though, ‘all of these can be overturned if we positively work together towards bringing a change in these Nobel professions’.
The courses we have gone through, have prepared us well to be the best Nurses and Educationists, and we pledge to use all the knowledge and skills acquired at AKU to provide quality and compassionate services, and also to work hard to bring about improvements in our workplaces.
We thank the different institutions that have provided financial support to us throughout the course that included; Johnson and Johnson, Belgium Technical Cooperation, Ministry of Health, our employers and so many others who have made any contributions. We again thank His Highness the Aga Khan who thought it wise to start a university in East Africa specifically in Uganda where it has made enormous contributions to the Nursing fraternity through education, research and now supporting the review of the Nurses and Midwifery ACT which will open up even greater opportunities for Nurses.
Let me end by these words by Mother Teresa ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples’ Mother Teresa is reminding us that the small things we do can make much impact to people’s lives. So my fellow graduates, never stop doing something positive, however small it may be, as it will create many positive and inspiring ripples.
For God and My country