Meet the Entrepreneur Educating Refugees: Ntakamaze Nziyonvira

As part of the Anzisha Education Accelerator Program, ALA has provided a professional development opportunity to a cohort of education entrepreneurs from the ALA alumni network and graduates from the Master Card Foundation Scholars Program (MCFSP) who have launched high-potential schools in their home countries.

Meet Ntakamaze Nziyonvira from Uganda, Executive Director of COBURWAS International Youth Organization to Transform Africa (CIYOTA). Ntakamaze graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from University of Rochester courtesy of MCFSP. Upon finishing his studies at Rochester, he returned to home to Uganda to lead CIYOTA, founded by ALA alumnus and fellow MCFSP scholar, Joseph Munyambanza.

Situated in Uganda, COBURWAS caters to refugee children from Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and many other surrounding countries who have been affected by wars in the region. Nziyonvira’s return to Africa saw him lending a hand to the village of Kyangwali where the COBURWAS school is located.

In the beginning the plan was for COBURWAS to help orphans by establishing an orphanage where they can be fed. However, as time went they begun to see the needs of the children developing and what was once known as an orphanage turned into a school.

“The schools in Kyangwali were not providing quality education and there were not enough schools for the number of children in the area. This is when the founders came together, looked at all those factors and worked on a way to help our younger brothers and sisters,” says Favourite Regina, the Director of Education of COBURWAS.

The school started off as just 20 pupils, whom formed part of the nursery school. The focus on learning then was to teach children the basics of how to count, read and write. However, as time went by they started to see the children’s education levels rise and from there a need for more classes presented itself. Today COBURWAS, Kyangwali is a semi-boarding school, funded mainly by donors, and caters to children up until grade seven.

In 2019, Nziyonvira along with Regina and COBURWAS Kyangwali Head Teacher John Bosco Okoboi, visited ALA as part of the Anzisha Education Accelerator. “Coming to ALA has allowed us to see the potential COBURWAS has. On the ALA campus we have been able to see different cultures, see how students and teachers interact, and seeing how pastoral care, discipline and behavioural changes are handled. From this experience we know that we can implement great changes in time,” said Nziyonvira.

COBURWAS in not the only school benefiting from the Anzisha Education Accelerator Program. Stay tuned to for more schools that were a part of the program.


The Anzisha Accelerator Program is not the only program at ALA focused on transforming schools and training educators. Click here to learn about ALA’s Teaching Africa workshop Series: http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/blog/connecting-educators-through-the-teaching-africa-workshop-series/