January 31—4th Sunday After Epiphany—Africa University Fund

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.

A Moment for Mission

“There is one God.…All things come from him, and we belong to him. And there is one Lord Jesus Christ. All things exist through him, and we live through him.” —1 Corinthians 8:6b, CEB

In 2017, Africa University became the first higher education institution in Zimbabwe accredited to offer online degree programs.

Fast-forward to 2020 and a global health crisis. Teaching and learning at AU never stopped, though in-person instruction was suspended. Kuzvinetsa P. Dzvimbo, CEO of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education, commended AU for having “disrupted the university and more than flipped it.

“COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of teaching, and how students learn and how we assess and examine them,” he said.

In a letter to AU vice-chancellor/president and CEO Munashe Furusa, he noted that rather than “focusing on challenges of connectivity and bandwidth for your students and staff, you are rethinking the way we think about learning, teaching, assessment and examination today.”

Pandemic restrictions meant finding alternative ways to do final exams for Africa University’s spring 2020 semester. That meant switching to online assessments.

“I am glad you are using Moodle as an open-source learning-management software for assessment and testing,” Dzvimbo added. “The future of higher education in Zimbabwe is here with us now. Let us embrace this volatile, uncertain, changing and ambiguous world. 

“Let me support your initiative and forms of assessment and examinations by quoting Steve Jobs when he said, ‘Invent tomorrow instead of wondering what happened yesterday.’”

Thanks to generous gifts through the Africa University Fund, AU continues to thrive and to nurture innovative, imaginative leaders for the continent and the world.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, all things come from you, and we are yours. Show us new ways to reach out to your children and strengthen them as they encounter new challenges. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany – God of power and wisdom, we give you our eternal thanks for the gift of your Son, who came not only to save but to teach us about your kingdom and how we might live, readying ourselves for that kingdom. He taught with authority, and if we listen, we will live a life of generosity, mercy, and compassion. Bless what we give this day and help us be faithful in the use of all our resources, that we might live like those anticipating your kingdom. In Christ, we pray. Amen. (Mark 1:21-28)

Newsletter Nugget
In July 2020, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided the Africa University College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences four grants totaling US$480,000.

These Tuberculosis (TB) Commitment Grants will enable AU to support the development of a national TB research technical working group, increase access to specialized care through implementing the Extension for Community Health Outcomes approach, strengthen tracking of TB training information by expanding an online database known as TrainSMART and train to build competencies in the use of tuberculosis data at all levels. 

Africa University will provide the expertise on TB research and assist with project coordination and grant fund management.

According to the World Health Organization, Zimbabwe is a high-burden country for TB, multi-drug–resistant TB as well as TB/HIV coinfection. The Zimbabwe government is committed to ending TB by 2030. By 2025, the National TB Program aims to reduce TB incidence and mortality by 80 percent.
Your gifts to the Africa University Fund strengthen the future of a continent and its people. Thank you!

Barbara Dunlap-Berg, freelance writer and editor, retired from UMCom

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