At 30, new Rwandan Minster for Transport, Jean de Dieu ‘Jado’ Uwihanganye is the youngest ever minister in the country and a hugely successful project manager, but none of this would have been possible without the backing of a unique scholarship from The University of Manchester.
Jado was awarded an Equity and Merit Scholarship, a scheme which assists talented, disadvantaged students from some of the world’s poorest countries. The University covered his tuition fees, while his living costs were generously funded by donors, the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust.
Studying abroad would not have been otherwise possible for Jado, as both of his parents are subsistence farmers – in fact he also helped herd cattle in his village when he was younger.
But thanks to his outstanding academic results and dedication to supporting development in his home country, Jado was accepted onto the MSc Management of Projects (Construction) at Manchester.
Not only did he pass the course, he finished top of his class of more than 200 people and has since gone on to manage some of Rwanda’s most high-profile infrastructure projects, including stadia for the 2016 African Cup of Nations and extensive road building programmes.
This record of high achievement caught the eye of President Paul Kagame who, last week, appointed Jado as his new minister of transport.
Jado said: “Manchester grew my critical thinking and analysis, the experience there opened my eyes to other opportunities and of course the knowledge of construction project management helped me to succeed in projects I worked on as project manager on my return.”
The Equity and Merit scheme is in its eleventh year, providing life-changing scholarships for exceptional students from Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in subjects not available in their home countries.
There have been more than 200 students over the last decade, all of whom have had a dream to pursue postgraduate level education in order to make a difference to their home countries. Their scholarships are made possible thanks to donations from alumni, staff and supporters of the University.
Senior International Officer at the University, Joanne Jacobs, runs the Equity and Merit Scholarships and has kept in touch with Jado since his graduation in 2013. She said: “Jado was a really exceptional student and, like the others helped through this scheme, cares deeply about making a difference in his home country.
“As more and more Equity and Merit Scholars have graduated from the University they’ve formed a huge network across Africa, working in health care, engineering, law and many more areas, all contributing to development in the region.
“We’re really proud of all of our students and this success for Jado just goes to show the potential that is unlocked by the project.”