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TUS Strengthens Ties with Nurture Africa, Expanding Volunteer Opportunities

All TUS students are now eligible to join the summer volunteer programme in Uganda

  • 24th January 2024

Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) has this week renewed and expanded its partnership with Nurture Africa, an Irish-founded NGO providing vulnerable communities in Uganda with access to healthcare and education.

The three-year agreement grants eligibility to all TUS students to apply to volunteer with Nurture Africa on their summer programme; this opportunity was previously only available to TUS nursing students.

This summer, participating students will fly to Nansana, Uganda, Nurture Africa’s headquarters, for three weeks to gain insight into development work in another country, working on projects like HIV testing, vaccination clinics, health promotion, educational talks, literacy, and sustainable livelihood visits.

All healthcare activities will be supervised by qualified clinical practitioners and all student volunteers will work closely with community workers to understand the needs of the vulnerable Ugandan communities they’re supporting.

TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane said the agreement will enrich students’ learning experience and forms part of TUS’s commitment to fostering “responsible global citizens”.

“I am delighted to extend the offer of this unique experience in Uganda to all TUS students. By contributing to Nurture Africa development projects, TUS students will get the opportunity to experience another culture and develop their skillset, as well as gain a fresh perspective, bringing their overseas learning back to TUS and informing their development as responsible global citizens.”

More than 60 TUS student nurses have participated in the summer volunteering programme with Nurture Africa since the partnership was established back in 2016.

Pictured: (L to R) Dr Des Cawley, Head of Department of Nursing and Healthcare; TUS President Professor Vincent Cunnane, Kevin Murphy, Programme Manager, Nurture Africa; Mary Simpson, Director of International (Athlone). Photo: Nathan Cafolla.

Dr Des Cawley, Head of Department, Nursing and Healthcare at TUS Athlone, who originally initiated the partnership with Nurture Africa, called it “immensely beneficial” for students.

“We wanted to give TUS nursing students the chance to immerse themselves in an entirely different culture and healthcare setting, fostering personal and professional growth as well as sharing their knowledge with Ugandan healthcare workers and learning from them in return,” Dr Cawley explained.

“It is a truly humbling, transformative experience for our nursing students and immensely beneficial in their development as healthcare professionals. I am delighted to see that this opportunity is now available to a broader spectrum of TUS students.”

Ahead of the trip, TUS will support participating students with the application process, while the students will organise fundraising to contribute to the cost of the three-week trip and Nurture Africa will prepare a detailed project plan for the students.

Kevin Murphy, Programme Manager of Nurture Africa, underscored the transformative nature of student volunteerism and explained that the organisation takes a bottom-up approach:

“Student volunteers have an important role to play in effecting positive change and through this partnership, they will learn about the success and challenges of international development and work hand in hand with our Ugandan staff to serve vulnerable communities.

“Our goal is to empower African families towards self-reliance, employing a holistic model addressing health, education, child rights, nutrition, and financial literacy and central to that is amplifying the voices of those we are working to support, taking a community-centred and driven approach.”

TUS VP for International Donnacha McNamara stressed TUS’s dedication to global engagement, aiming to foster opportunities for volunteer experiences abroad and cultivate a sense of interconnectedness within the local community

“As we reaffirm our partnership with Nurture Africa, our commitment aligns with the principles of internationalization at home. This collaboration is purposeful, aiming to provide all TUS students with opportunities for volunteer experiences abroad. Beyond the enriching experiences for our students, this partnership underscores our dedication to instilling a global perspective within our local community,” he said.

“Our goal is to strengthen this alliance with Nurture Africa, establishing a platform that not only unlocks doors for students but also cultivates a sense of global engagement and understanding at TUS. Together, we are constructing bridges, fostering opportunities, and shaping a more interconnected future for both our students and communities alike.”

TUS has 127 students from the continent of Africa studying across its campuses in the Midlands and Midwest, 19 of which are from Uganda.

Interested TUS students can now apply via