Young Scientists

Connie Nshemereirwe : "It is our duty to serve our fellow Africans"

Connie Nshemereirwe has done her PhD in education sciences in the Netherlands. Now she runs her own business in Uganda.

Who are you?

My name is Connie Nshemereirwe, I am from Kampala, Uganda. And at this moment I run my own business. I create digital ressources for early childhood literacy.

Why did you go to Europe for your PhD?

I started out as a civil engineer, my bachelor is in civil engineering. And then at master level I decided to switch to education. But then, in my country, nobody would admitted me for an education master without a bachelor in education. So I looked beyond Africa, and I found a really nice program in the Netherlands where I did my master in 2004. And then, 6 years later I went back and did my PhD because I found a really good supervisor for the topic I wanted to do.

Why did you choose to come back?

Having done my PhD in the Netherlands and found out some really important things about the education system, I felt it was really necessary for me to come back to Africa, to Uganda, and help policy makers, and work with the ministry and and work with teachers to improve the situation. So I had to come back.

What difficulties have you experienced?

Wanting to come back was easy: I just left. But once I came back I used to be at a rather young university called Uganda Martyrs University. And I found that I didn’t have many mentors to really help me progress in the academic field. But also I saw a big gap between how universities operate and the needs in society. So a year and a half ago I decided to quit the university and use my scientific knowledge instead to work more closely with policy makers, and teachers and parents and little children to create a product that really adress the problem directly.

What would you tell to young African PhD candidates working in Europe to encourage them to come back?

With YASE I hope that I can encourage or inspire young Africans who are doing their PhD in Europe to come back to Africa and to know there is a lot of opportunities. And above that, there is a duty that we have to serve our fellow Africans.

Interview by Anthony Audureau

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