March 28, 2019

University of Rwanda Cancels Internships In Sweden After Journalism Students Flee

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FROM L-R: Emmanuel Tuyishime, Emmanuel Munyaneza, Fiona Muthoni and Sylvie Umwere

Two students from the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) at the University of Rwanda (UR) who had been attending a one month internship training program in Sweden disappeared on the day they were scheduled to return home, The Chronicles has exclusively established.

Emmanuel Munyaneza and Emmanuel Tuyishime were part of a group of four students who were nominated by the university to attend a Summer Academy bringing together students from around the world.

The students were in Sweden from July 11, to August 18, 2018.

They were selected because they were the best performing students, according to officials.

While the two female Sylvie Umwere and Fiona Muthoni boarded their flight back to Rwanda, the two male students were nowhere to be seen up to now.

The group was picked from final year students to attend the one month training in Sweden under a partnership between the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) and Fojo Media Institute; which is Sweden’s leading media development center for professional journalists.

Fojo Media Institute has been working with SJC since 2014 in a partnership that supports media development in Rwanda. It is funded by the Swedish Government.

Emmanuel Munyaneza Fiona Muthoni and Emmanuel Tuyishime in Sweden

According to Fojo Program Manager, Ms Anki Wood, the four students travelled to Sweden unaccompanied, and left without anyone having to look after them.

“The four students from SJC are young adults, and they travelled together as a group but without being accompanied. They were provided with plane and train tickets and pre-booked taxis [that] took them to and from [the] airports and train stations,” she said.

Details The Chronicles has put together suggest that on the day the group was supposed to return home, all of them were to travel from Kalmar in the southeast of Sweden, where the training camp was based, to the airport in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ms. Anki of Fojo Institute told The Chronicles: “According to the information I received, the two boys were travelling back from Kalmar to Kigali. The first leg of the trip is by train from Kalmar, Sweden to the airport in Copenhagen, Denmark. Apparently, the boys got off the train before it left Sweden”.

One of the students who returned, Fiona Muthoni was the Rwanda representative at the Miss Africa 2018 beauty pageant in Nigeria. She emerged 1st Runners-up.

As a result of the latest saga, Dr Alphonse Mulefu, the Principal of College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) under which the School of Journalism and Communication falls has halted any more travels for students to Sweden.

“Their disappearance poses a challenge to international internship programs. We will not send more students to Sweden,” he said in comments yesterday to Huye campus students attending a Pan-African Movement forum.

Emmanuel Munyaneza (Center) in Sweden during the training camp with others from other countries

Meanwhile, last week, The Chronicles also reported on another Fojo project which was to take internship students to Uganda that has been cancelled since due to the ongoing standoff between Kigali and Kampala.

Twenty students were scheduled to go to Uganda in May and June to spend several months in Uganda’s newsrooms learning the art of reporting. The program has been halted until the Rwanda Government “advisory” against travel to Uganda is lifted.

Dr Mulefu said yesterday that the University of Rwanda is in negotiations with the University of Nairobi to send journalism students to Kenyan media houses instead.

The two students who disappeared Emmanuel Tuyishime and Emmanuel Munyaneza

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  1. Mr. Mulefu doesn’t have to be harsh to students since those who he is banning are not the ones who contributed in disappearing! I think he should set up the measures that will help to bring them back (I mean those who will have this opportunity). We Rwandans really need those skills from abroad. Not only the students but all of us. So please cool down Mr. Principal

    1. Very true. He said its a challenge but a challenge need to be overcome, otherwise, he’s failing the challenge!

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