Case student one of only 10 in the United States this year to receive prestigious grant for women from developing countries
Sheila Magero has overcome personal hardships, plans to return to Uganda to work in public health administration
Sheila Magero, a Case Western Reserve University student in the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations program, is one of only 10 women in the United States to be awarded a 2005-2006 Margaret McNamara Memorial Fund (MMMF) grant, an initiative of the World Bank Family Network.
The prestigious MMMF grants are awarded annually to support the education of women from developing countries who are committed to improving the lives of women and children in their home countries. A non-renewable award, the MMMF grants vary, with a maximum of about $11,000.
Before arriving at Case in August 2004, Magero, from Kampala, Uganda, worked for the Regional Center for Quality Health Care based at the Makarere University Institute of Public Health. This program builds regional capacity to improve quality of health care in Africa and it focuses on child health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, and reproductive and maternal health. She was responsible for publicity and coordination of the training courses for health managers from East, Central and South Africa, as well as managing the program's quality of care network.
"I am passionate about women and children. With my degree, I'd like to go further into that. I hope to go back to the school of public health. They need people to make sure the organizations and projects are effectively run," Magero explained. She added that in her country, oftentimes administrators of nonprofit programs have business degrees. She'd like to bring a different perspective, which is why she is pursing the nonprofit degree at Case. "There's that component of the vision of the organization and dealing with people in a different way. The bottom line isn't money or a hotshot career but to make sure the program works." She plans to complete her degree next year.
Pursuing a graduate degree at Case is not only an educational accomplishment but a personal one for Magero: widowed at the age of 24, she is a single parent who also has cared for her siblings since her parents' deaths. "I hope to provide encouragement for women in my community, showing that while adversity is a fact of life, education goes a long way in helping women deal with and survive the difficult circumstances that are the reality of life in Africa," she wrote in her application letter for the grant.
Edith Berger, director of Case's international student services, said winning the MMMF grant is a major accomplishment. "The application process itself is very complicated. It's a very prestigious award. It's a very well connected scholarship and it carries a lot of weight." Berger said to her knowledge, the last time a Case student won was in 1985.
Magero became acquainted with Case's academic programs because of the university's connection with Makarere University. Several professors and students from Case's School of Medicine and School of Nursing work with officials from the government of Uganda and researchers at the university in Kampala on issues related to HIV/AIDS research and education.
Magero received the award in Washington, D.C. in late May.
About Case Western Reserve University
Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.