“I had already applied for the CENIT@EA scholarship last year. This time it worked. Here I can reach my dreams by learning from innovative experts from the whole EAC.” Eager to learn and full of energy to be an innovator for the future of East Africa – this is how Tusekile Mwasambili from Tanzania entered her first day as a Master’s student at the Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA).

As the new academic year kicked off on 15 January 2021, CENIT@EA welcomed new students of its third cohort of the market-driven and practice-oriented Master’s programme in “Embedded and Mobile Systems” (MSc EMoS) at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, Tanzania. All 30 new students were awarded scholarships funded by the German Government through the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The scholarships are administered through the East African-German academic consortium and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Additional slots will be offered to students who applied and plan to join this 3rd cohort on private sponsorship.

Each EAC Partner State is represented by five new students. Additionally to this great sign of successful integration, 13 of the 30 upcoming digital innovators are women, signifying the importance of gender equality for the community. All students will benefit from a full sponsorship and gain skills from a unique curriculum in the EAC, developed in close cooperation with the private sector. It includes unique elements such as a mandatory internship for industry-academia innovation transfer, digital innovations and ideation training, entrepreneurial and soft skills training, guest lecturers from the private sector, as well as an applied research and Master’s thesis project with the private sector.

Onek Alfred, a new student from South Sudan stressed, “I want to take this opportunity for the EAC region. There is huge need for data availability systems. CENIT@EA will help me widen my knowledge and enable me to develop computer-based solutions to societal challenges." This idea of working for the future of the region could be found in many of the young innovators. Tito Okellolutwa from Uganda pointed out that he wants to drive forward a project on mobile expert systems for Malaria diagnosis and drug prescription. “I am very grateful to benefit from this offer made possible by EAC integration.”

“I am privileged to be part of this cohort as it’s often hard for females to be educated and advance a career in an unfavorable environment. It was a difficult decision to leave my children with my sister in Uganda, but I know this opportunity will give me another chance to get my career back on track. Everything stopped for me when war broke out in my country and I moved to Uganda as a refugee”, said Siama Mary, from South Sudan, who wants to solve communications challenge for women and girls seeking channels for counselling and empowerment.

To date the Centre of Excellence has offered 88 scholarships and enrolled up to 95 students in the Master’s programme in Embedded and Mobile systems that encourages innovative thinking and design of digital solutions for existing industry and community challenges faced in the region.

Find more infos on CENIT@EA here.