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A Look at the Local Impact of the United Methodist University of Mozambique

Beth Neil
November 28, 2018

Rev. Dr. Julio Andre Vilanculos and Sarah Bollinger
United Methodist University of Mozambique (UMUM) is the first United Methodist-related institution of higher learning in Mozambique that is committed to providing a quality education and training to people of all ages, centered in human values. The university is an outgrowth of the Cambine Mission Station, which has been a critical component of the United Methodist presence in Mozambique for well over 100 years. In addition to an orphanage, primary and secondary schools, and a seminary, the university is now an integral part of a larger vision to increase access to education in Mozambique through all of the institutions and programs provided at Cambine.

The University aims to provide opportunity for further education and was inspired by the need for qualified individuals to respond to the development needs of the local community and country as a whole. Reducing poverty through education is the main priority of the school. Since ideas do not come together without resources, the university is facing some challenges, especially related to infrastructure and other relevant materials for the kinds of activities projected to be carried out at the institution.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) recently visited UMUM and met with Rev. Dr. Julio Andre Vilanculos, the chancellor of the United Methodist University of Mozambique. Here is a snapshot of the visit and conversation.

Tell us about the United Methodist University of Mozambique.
The United Methodist University of Mozambique is a very young university. It has been on the drawing board for over a decade. It complements the mission of Cambine as The United Methodist Church’s educational center in Mozambique. This university is a dream of Mozambique’s United Methodist Church and of its leaders and members. It’s also a dream coming true to the wider United Methodist Church community in Mozambique.

Why is the United Methodist University of Mozambique so important to the country and continent?

Students at Cambine High School (Cambine Mission Station)
Higher education is scarce in Mozambique and much needed to enable full development of the country’s abundant natural resources. Although recent narratives are mainly built on natural resource discoveries (minerals, gas and oil), that fact remains that Mozambique is also a natural resource-rich country in terms of its potential in agriculture, forest and landscape. These resources are, unfortunately, still managed and explored mainly by international entities, not feeding back into the fabric of society as much as they could. The United Methodist University of Mozambique can make a solid contribution towards the acceleration of human development in Mozambique so that a better-educated society can be used as leverage to channel the products of developing Mozambique’s resources back into improving Mozambique, as a whole.

For 10 years (2007-2017), the failure to respond to the demographic reality from government agencies, the increasing number of young people at the age of preparation for working life and the dangerous growth of the gap between societies require the presence of projects such as UMUM to respond to community needs.

Since 2007, national and international governmental education reports indirectly point to a form of education and knowledge production that gives growth to a rich country resource at all levels. The growth of the young population is leading to a widespread phenomenon throughout the continent, a fact that implies a need for education and training, never before experienced in Africa.

On the African continent, Mozambique’s neighbor, South Africa, has the best example of higher education. However, due to various factors, Mozambique has not been able to keep up with the development of their neighboring country. We must try to reverse this path by participating, in this case, in education.

What are the aims or goals of the United Methodist University of Mozambique?
The university’s bylaws state that its mission is to educate Mozambicans, fostering knowledge, ethical and moral values and a strong sense of citizenship, enabling the active and creative participation in addressing the country’s social, cultural and economic transformation challenges. 

We recognize the aim to be a higher education institution of reference in the province of Inhambane, and becoming the first institution of this kind of value in the rural region.

What impact does the United Methodist University of Mozambique have on the community? How is the United Methodist University of Mozambique changing/improving the community?

Cambine High School (Cambine Mission Station)
UMUM is located in the city of Cambine, about 500 kilometers north of Maputo, the nation’s capital and the great center of Mozambique. Maputo holds most of the higher education institutions, so the development of UMUM in Cambine also helped with the development of the greater country.

UMUM is also involved with the region, giving sustainability to the Cambine Education Center and improving the economic development of the province. One of the measurable changes in Cambine is the growing number of people with diplomas and certificates who are ready to give their contribution in various areas of human and community development. We expect to see communities continue to develop, counting on the contribution of students graduating from this university.

UMUM is focused on the application of knowledge to the reality in which we find ourselves. An example is the school’s strong connection to the secondary school. Another example is the preparation of teachers for continuing higher education (post-graduation), as well as second-level teachers. Additionally, UMUM is joining local business companies and industry to the Business School.

The United Methodist University of Mozambique has begun with baby steps. Preparing educators, managers and human-centered information technology specialists is just one of the first steps, and much more will be accomplished with adequate, systematic and long-term support.

As a consequence of its very short existence, impact is still limited, but a sense of “yes we can” can be perceived across the Cambine campus. This excitement is also seen locally at a host of education-related facilities, such as foster homes, kindergartens, preschool, elementary schools, high school, vocational school and seminary. The presence of the seed of this higher education institution brought to many the sense that they can go further and achieve more.

Another short-term expected consequence is the co-creation of community-related projects scheduled to start with the first cohorts of third-year bachelor students from February 2019. The university students will participate in interdisciplinary, community-oriented projects as a capstone activity. This will be the first opportunity to bring this university’s activities from the classroom into the community.

Nominal scholarships provide opportunities for students to attend UMUM. What is the cost to attend UMUM?

UMUMValue in MZNValue in U.S. dollars

Registration fees

2,850,00

$50.00

Tuition fees (computer technology program)

60,500.00

$1,044

Tuition fees (other programs)

52,800.00

$911.00

Technology fees 

11,600.00

$200.00

Accommodation

11,000.00

$190.00

Food

55,000.00

$949.00

Important note: This budget varies according to the exchange rate.

Full Scholarship for Computer Technology program… $2,433.00
Half Scholarship… $1,294.00

Full Scholarship for other programs…$2,300.00
Half Scholarship… $1,161.00

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How is the United Methodist University of Mozambique connected to the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM)?

Students at Cambine High School (Cambine Mission Station)
GBHEM is a United Methodist agency that oversees United Methodist higher education all over the world, so there is no doubt that the UMUM is connected to it. Professor Jamisse Taimo, LEaD Hub executive director and a Cambine native, also facilitates the dissemination of the university projects into different countries.

To support this mission, mail a check payable to the General Board of Global Ministries (memo line: Advance #3022083) to GBGM, 458 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30308. To learn more about global education opportunities through GBHEM, please visit www.gbhem.org or follow the GBHEM LEaD Hubs Facebook page.   

About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.