The Africa University Advancement and Student Recruitment team travelled to Lusaka, Zambia from the 29th of November to the 5th of December 2019 in the first of a series of scheduled visits across Africa to share with the continent the story of transformation, regeneration and hope that is Africa University. The visit also aims to speak with prospective students within the Zambian market alerting them to the world of possibility that lies within the “Valley of Dreams.”
The head of delegation Assistant Registrar -Academic Affairs Mr. Liberty Machona said of the visit,
“First and foremost, we are coming to Zambia on the backdrop of a decline in international numbers not due to declines in enrolment of international students but due to our huge popularity and market share within the Zimbabwean market. Our Charter clearly states that our ideal ratio should be 60:40. We are deliberately moving in to initiate processes that will see us moving toward that realization. We have reflected on this need and have a strategy in place endorsed by our Board of Directors to increase our international student enrolment. We are here in the first phase of implementation of this venture. We have what we call the big 7- DRC, Angola, Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Kenya. We are here to try to increase awareness of Africa University as an international education destination of choice. We are here to market our programmes, we are here to cultivate relations with our alumni of whom we have had 101 from Zambia alone as well as partners from the corporate and government sector.”
He went on to speak of the role that dedicated alumni have played and their overall position in the University’s advancement efforts. “Our alumni are integral to the continuation of fostering and nurturing of relations especially in this instance after the team has left. Country intelligence gathering to inform future initiatives and tailor make them to suit the different markets that we serve is at the core of this and other initiatives. Our overall aim is to saturate Zambia and Africa with the Africa University brand of education.”
Student Recruitment Officer Ms. Sandra Munhumwe commented on the resounding response and interest in the University from members of the media fraternity within Zambia.
“It is an excellent opportunity to interface with our market and to create relationships with key media partners in an effort to forge collaborations. We are creating within Zambia story- tellers of the AU Dream.”
Of special significance was the role that the University’s Zambian based alumni –played in the raising of awareness of the University’s visit and overall support for the initiative. Former students from across Lusaka dedicated their most precious resource- their time towards nurturing and responding to perspective students who visited the base of the recruitment team as well as sharing their testimonies of what the institution has meant in their lives and done for them.
Christopher Namilonga, a two-time AU graduate (2017 and 2019) said“The quality of education I got from the University has made me who I am and it this my way of giving back to the institution. AU taught me the spirit of sacrifice. There are many partners that are currently trying to change lives and this is my way of being a part of that. Currently I am attached to the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. We are involved in natural resources conservation and sustainable fishing and harvesting. We are educating people on how to reduce pressure on water bodies through aquaculture. I was recently posted to a peri- urban area where I am working with a community group assisting in a consultancy capacity to extend the mandate of conservation not just in water bodies but on land as well.”
Christopher explained why so many graduates in Zambia are beginning to embrace agriculture and see a future in working the land.“As a nation, we are realizing that an over- reliance on Copper as our major export will cause stagnation within our economy. Food security and value addition are all the buzz and we as alumni are trying to get our country back on its feet through the promotion of food security. This in the long run is a more sustainable model to get our country where it needs to be. Land degradation through mining has also made us realize that we must seek out more environmentally sustainable and friendly means through which we benefit from our environment and grow our economy”.
Robinah Nambafu Lungu, (2012 and 2015) is a powerful example of the impact that AU graduates are making in Zambia through passion and sheer determination.“I loved my time at AU. It was one of the best times I have had in my life. Upon graduating I was faced with a harsh and jolting reality. I relocated to Zambia shortly after graduating when I married my husband Ackim Lungu who is a 2013 AU MIP graduate. I struggled to find work as an expatriate in Zambia and while I could have easily fallen into despair, I thought to myself, “You have graduated from one of the best universities in Africa. There you were taught to create a space for yourself and own your future. Why wait for work when I can create my own?” Zambia is going through a transition where agriculture is rising to be the new foundation of the economy. I decided to tap into that! My husband and I decided to purchase a piece of land and using my background and training in Natural Resources Management, I began to manage our small plot and started by growing tomatoes. Everything snowballed from there. I have now become recognized for by produce which took the market by storm due to its quality and taste! I learned what I know from working at the Africa University Farm. I never knew it back then but it was in preparation for this!”
Africa University continues to provide for the African continent graduates who are fit for purpose and positioned to lead the realization of an empowered and dynamic Africa.