(Banner photo from Compassion.com)
On Dec. 17, 2021, Nicholas Kalyebara graduated from Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School with a PhD in Leadership. For the online LBC | Capital student who is the Manager of Program Support for Compassion International Uganda, this milestone was significant in his service to God and His children around the world.
Kalyebara was the recipient of the Wesley Stafford Leadership Development Scholarship, one of many institutional awards that help students realize their educational dreams. Scholarships like Kalyebara’s are made possible by donors’ generous gifts to LBC | Capital. Kalyebara’s scholarship is in honor of Dr. Wess Stafford, President Emeritus of Compassion International, to help students from a developing nation pay for their education.
With a 12-year career at Compassion International, Kalyebara has also served the organization as Senior Partnership Facilitator and Leadership Development Program Team Lead. Prior to Compassion, Kalyebara worked for five years as Training Secretary and Missions Coordinator for Fellowship of Christian Unions (FOCUS) Uganda.
On March 30, 2021, Kalyebara successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Relational Factors Contributing to Leadership Development Among Youth in Compassion Assisted Child Development Centers in Uganda.” Congratulations Dr. Kalyebara!
LBC | CAPITAL: Many people are familiar with the amazing work of Compassion International. Please tell us about your role with Compassion in Uganda.
NICHOLAS KALYEBARA: My role with Compassion in Uganda involves leading a team of program specialists who consult, develop and implement child and youth development program interventions in partnership with our 455 church partners across the country. My leadership includes providing oversight to Compassion International Uganda’s (CIUG) Complementary Interventions (CIV) whose aim is to eliminate barriers to Christian holistic child development by meeting critical needs, equipping beneficiaries for productive lives, empowering caregivers to increase household stability and extending local church partners’ ability to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. I also provide oversight to a Refugee Assistance Project in the West Nile region of Uganda and Youth Development programming support to CIUG’s 455 Church Partners across Uganda. My role contributes to ensuring that holistic child development is considered in all program initiatives, and the development and implementation of local program design to achieve beneficiary outcomes.
LBC: Why did you choose LBC | Capital to earn your PhD in Leadership?
NK: I had always dreamt of studying at the PhD level, but I didn’t know where, as factors such as flexibility between work and school, scholarship opportunities and the nature of the programs offered were always going to affect my decision on which school and which program to attend. I chose LBC | Capital to earn my PhD because it addressed all the above factors to my satisfaction. First, I fell in love with the PhD program the moment I read the content on the school website. The program was what I felt I needed to grow my leadership capacity. Second, the blended approach of the program’s delivery meant that I could continue with my work at Compassion Uganda while, at the same time, furthering my education. I knew that the approach would also enable me to immediately put into practice what I would be learning in the program. Third, LBC | Capital granted me a scholarship. There was no way I could fund a PhD scholarship on my own.
LBC: How did LBC | Capital’s PhD in Leadership program prepare you to continue to carry out your work at Compassion International? What were some of the most valuable aspects of studying online with LBC | Capital?
NK: I believe the exposure to great teachers, a network of scholars and learning resources through the LBC | Capital PhD has prepared me to lead better and more effectively. I have become a leadership scholar for life, even as I continue to lead. The program’s design, which enables scholars to continue serving while learning, enabled me to practice what I was learning in class right away, on my job. I believe I have become a resource to my team and my organization. The program’s outcomes of servant leader, organizational leader, leader teacher, change leader and researcher will remain part of my leadership DNA. In addition to the valuable aspect of flexibility, which studying online offers, learners get access to world-class education from almost anywhere. Studying online has enabled me to strengthen invaluable leadership skills such as self-drive/leadership, organization, planning (and) continuous learning, among others, which I know I will be relying on throughout my leadership career. Furthermore, I got exposed to great online learning platforms and systems, previously unknown to me, which I believe can advance both organizational and academic learning in a context like Uganda’s, where such learning platforms and systems are limited.
LBC: What does graduating with your PhD in Leadership from LBC | Capital mean to you?
NK: First, I am truly grateful to LBC | Capital and its donors for the learning and development opportunity of a lifetime. I may not be able to assess right now how much I have changed for the better, but I am well aware that my life and my leadership, and hopefully the lives of the people in my circle of influence, will not remain the same. I know for certain my leadership will never be the same as before the LBC | Capital PhD experience. Second, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back in some way what I have received. I have received so much in terms of knowledge, skills, relationships and exposure, which I believe can better the lives of others that I will get in touch with. I trust that God, who has enabled me to get this far, will continue to give me platforms upon which to share this very rich experience.
Through the Pastors Discipleship Network (PDN) partnership, LBC | Capital equips African pastors and leaders to earn a master’s degree so they can, in turn, continue the important work of spreading the gospel around the continent and pass on the Good News to future generations. To learn more about PDN and opportunities to sponsor an African pastor, visit lbc.edu/projects/uganda/.