RSCE Processes Over 80% Education Grants Despite Working From Home

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14 Aug 2020

RSCE Processes Over 80% Education Grants Despite Working From Home

Mark Kaheru

Every year the months of May through August is an extremely busy season known as the peak season for the Regional Service Centre Entebbe (RSCE) as budgets are being finalized, staff contract being extended across the continent. That generates  a high volume of various requests and claims processed by the Centre.

This period is particularly very busy for the Education Grant Service Line (EGSL) as it processes over 4,000 requests.

In March 2020, a few months to the education grant processing peak period, Uganda and the world was placed on a lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic. All schools and learning institutions were closed, and number of restrictions were placed on certain activities like reporting physically to the offices and also on travel in and out of countries.

The RSCE provides client services to over 17,000 UN personnel in Africa, which is often a challenging task with all the RSCE staff operating from the offices.  With careful planning and management of resources, RSCE has adjusted its operations to be able to provide the same quality of service with all of its staff working from home due to the COVID19 restrictions implemented for the safety of UN personnel.

This has not stopped the RSCE from receiving and ensuring accurate processing of the education grant requests. It has been business as usual in the EGSL, in terms of service delivery, at times quite challenging, given the constraints on internet connectivity, power outages, availability of office equipment and most importantly, personal and family circumstances as a result of this pandemic.

The RSCE received 401 Education Grant submissions in May, 1,078 in June and 1,320 in July from its client entities for a total of 2,799 submissions. As at the end of July, the Center has processed 2,303 of the total submissions received since May representing approximately 82% of submissions.

Norman Kutosi-Kisukye, EG Service Line Manager remarks that “Support from management in terms of ensuring the necessary tools are available like data bundles, data reimbursement and encouraging a flexible working environment to enable staff balance work and family has been a major motivator for the staff.”

He also points out that EGSL adoption of a paperless environment right before the pandemic hit has enabled the seamless processing of EG requests while working remotely.

“We at the EGSL are very aware that our service line is very sensitive, and this always means meeting client expectations in terms of timeliness. We are self-driven and this enables us to continue performing at our best while working remotely.” he adds.

The quality of submissions by staff members, however, remains a major priority with EGSL. In order to address the issue, trainings have been conducted by the EGSL with all client missions, and this is now complemented by a short instructional video to further assist staff in helping them understand the steps in submitting their education grant claims and requests for advances.

The video has been circulated to all client missions and, for ease of access, has also been uploaded onto the RSCE iSeek page under the Spotlight tab. The video is also available for transmission on mobile devices using the Signal app.

For the video, please click on this link: How To Apply For An Education Grant.