Leon’s story: Engineering a healthier future for Rwanda

Leon Muvunyi

Rwanda is a very hilly country and people and health centres might be geographically separated from specialist advice and hospitals. That’s why the country is increasingly using telehealth services to connect health workers with the knowledge they need.

Leon Muvunyi, a new University of Manchester graduate, is set to make a big difference in this aspect of the country’s development thanks to his master’s degree in Management of Projects (Engineering), which was made possible by the generous funding of a donor to the University’s Equity and Merit Scholarship programme.

Armed with his degree, Leon is heading back home with new skills and the desire to open up health care to as many of his compatriots -as possible.

He says: “My aims are now to do three things: carry on working on projects I was already involved in, start new projects and train other people.”

This wouldn’t have been possible for Leon if he’d stayed at home. The course he wanted to study just wasn’t available in Rwanda and even if it was, he couldn’t afford the fees for postgraduate education.

As a result he applied to The University of Manchester’s Equity and Merit Scholarship Scheme. This programme, unique to Manchester, covers the fees and expenses of exceptional students from Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania who have a desire and a plan to benefit their home countries.

Leon certainly has the drive to succeed. Before even coming to Manchester he had founded a youth talent organisation called Nibyiza and he’s worked on numerous telecommunications projects for a variety of global companies. He even managed to get used to the less than tropical weather in north-west England. But he now feels he has the skills to really benefit his country.

“One of the problems with companies that come into Rwanda is that when they have finished their projects they leave and there often isn’t the resource or skills to continue projects. We really need to build human capacity,” he says.

And he has a message for the donors who funded him: “A gift of education is precious and powerful. It’s not just an investment in one person but it’s an investment in a whole community or generation. The money provided by my donors will help so many people.”

The Equity and Merit Scholarships

Leon’s story is the fourth and final in a series of videos and articles to mark the tenth anniversary of the Equity and Merit Scholarship programme at Manchester. The scholarships are jointly funded by the University and its donors. The University covers the tuition fee in full and the generosity of donors covers students’ living costs, flights to the UK and visas.

Since it began, a total of 203 scholarships have been awarded to exceptional individuals who have demonstrated both academic excellence and a commitment to the economic or social development of their home communities.

Read Felix’s story here.

Read Fiona’s story here.

Read Valentin’s Story here.

Our Equity & Merit scholarship scheme is only made possible through donations. If you are interested in supporting Equity & Merit scholarships, please visit our donate page.

If you would like to consider funding a full scholarship, email supporters@manchester.ac.uk or phone 0161 306 3066.

Visit the dedicated Equity and Merit pages on our website or Facebook for more information.

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