Celebrating the graduation of our 2023 Equity and Merit scholars

This year’s Winter Graduation saw more of our Equity and Merit Scholarship students receive their awards and celebrate their academic achievements.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Equity and Merit Scholarship has been awarded to over 400 academically excellent students from six countries - currently Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, and previously Bangladesh - who have the potential to make a significant contribution to sustainable development in their home nations.

This year’s graduating cohort included Jackson Ilangali from Tanzania, who has obtained a Master’s in Public Health, specialising in Implementation Sciences via distance learning. As well as continuing his work to improve neonatal care in Tanzania, Malawi, Nigeria, and Kenya, he plans to establish a local NGO in Tanzania focusing on public health initiatives to tackle diseases.

"Balancing my role as the breadwinner for my family, I needed a program that allowed me to continue working while studying," said Jackson. "The Equity and Merit program was the perfect opportunity for me, offering the perfect blend of flexibility and quality, aligning seamlessly with my professional and personal responsibilities. It took dedication and perseverance, as I was admitted on my third attempt, but it was worth every effort!"

The University of Manchester stands out for its academic excellence, diverse community, and supportive faculty. A highlight of my course was the wide selection of over 25 optional modules, allowing for a tailored learning experience. As for Manchester, my online studies connected me to the city’s vibrant academic community through virtual resources and forums. This, coupled with the university’s global reputation and Manchester’s cultural richness, added a unique dimension to my educational experience.


Michael Magwira from Malawi was another scholar who graduated, after gaining a distinction for his MSc in Medical and Molecular Virology. Alongside resuming his career as a Molecular Laboratory Scientist, he will use his newly-acquired knowledge of virus biology to understand the HIV pandemic in his home country, which he hopes will have a positive effect on its future transmission and control.

"Prior to applying to The University of Manchester, I spent a considerable amount of time researching the standards of teaching and facilities available at a number of UK universities," he said. "When I received notification via the Equity and Merit Facebook page about the scholarship, Manchester rose to the top of my list as it had everything I was looking for, from my education to the environment I wished to study in. I then spoke to few E&M alumni from Uganda and Tanzania who had nothing but positive things to say - two highlights of their feedback that encouraged me to apply were the high standards of teaching and the support available at the University."

"The support that the University gives to its students is fantastic, and is centred around the wellbeing of the students. The lifestyle in Manchester is very diverse and inclusive - regardless of your nationality, you will always find someone to talk to. Apart from good entertainment and football exposure, the road and transport networks make it easier to access the University from all around the city."

Another of our graduates was Rufaro Matsika from Zimbabwe, who attained an MSc in International Development majoring in Environment, Climate Change and Development. She wants to assist businesses to account for their emissions and monitor the progress of their decarbonisation strategies. She aims to establish a consultancy firm that facilitates the integration of sustainable practices in business operations while providing opportunities for young individuals from diverse backgrounds to gain hands-on work experience in the field of sustainability.

"I enjoyed everything about the University, from the vast number of resources available to help my academic journey to the exceptional support and guidance I received from the university staff and my academic advisor," she said. "Everything you need as a student is at your disposal, including career guidance, creating a CV and preparing for interviews. I also liked how the model of learning allows students to apply critical thinking skills."

"Living and studying in Manchester was a highlight due to its remarkable diversity, making it easy to connect with like-minded individuals. There is so much entertainment and many activities that one can do with friends, and transport is easily accessible. I also liked the fact the city houses two prominent Premier League football teams, Manchester City and Manchester United - these are teams that I used to just see on TV, but having them in your neighbourhood was a dream come true!"

Graduations are always a time of celebration, and our Equity and Merit scholars really do change lives - but that’s only because of the calibre of the recipients and the amount of hard work and effort they put in. It was such an honour to welcome them back and mark the completion of their studies.