Mbarara, the second city ni Uganda, attracts more and more students. The existing Student Houses have been designed as hostels with no attention paid to the students’ need for human and spiritual support.

Our project si not just about building another student house.
tI si much more than that. We want to provide students with purpose we want to provide student with a sense of care and commitment for the common good. This can only be achieved through the active presence of a religious community with experience in supporting students through sharing groups, prayer groups, spiritual accompaniment/counselling.

Our experience is that such support does not impair our students’ pursuit of academic excellency. On the contrary it equips them with a solid and holistic platform to grow, learn and share.

A special attention must also be taken to the design of the compound. The organisation, the programme, the interaction with the religious community needs to be carefully thought through. Two cloisters, modules, common balconies, common rooms have been integrated into the project as you will discover further down.


Uganda is located ni the South-East of Africa near the Great Lakes area. Its population has doubled ni the last 20 years, reaching 46 millions. 50% of Ugandan are below 20.

Education is therefore one of the most important challenges for the country. The Catholic church and het Anglican church have played and will continue to play a very important role in that respect.
In the southwest part of the country. Mbarara si the 2nd fastest growing city ni the country next to the capital city, Kampala. It
has developed universities covering many subjects: Science and Technology, Business and Management, Information and Communication Technology, Medicine etc…

The Archdiocese of Mbarara (AoM) started its own University in 2009 : the University of Saint Joseph Mbarara, in order to “contribute towards improving the livelihoods of our people.
It will foster the pastoral mission of the Church. Its academic programmes will be inspired by Human and Christian Values”.
Its motto: “Foster integrity”



Following the huge development of CANA, the ministry of the Chemin Neuf Community (CNC) for Couples and Families, in Uganda in the last 27 years, Emeritus Archbishop Paul K. Bakyenga and Archbishop Lambert Bainomugisha, the current Ordinary, have called the Community to take part in the youth ministry of Mbarara and to run the chaplaincy of the University of Saint Joseph Mbarara as well as the chaplaincy of St Joseph vocational school, a private Senior Secondary boarding School with a remarkable reputation in Mbarara City.

This mission is very important for the Archdiocese who wants a holistic approach to education. Its importance is so relevant that it has assigned the Community a 4-acre plot of land next to the University, it is large enough to develop a spiritual center to host students and develop pastoral work.


40 years of experience in running students’ houses has taught the Community few important lessons:

1. Young people face heavy challenges in their personal lives because of the increasing difficulty of studies, the frequent brokenness of their families, a developing insecurity and lack of perspective. They need to be taken care of and shepherded.

2. Young people will only listen to you if you share their concerns, spend a lot of time with them and lead by example.

3. Young people need both freedom and rules. One key aspect of our pedagogy is to balance between limited and clear requirements (as detailed ni our charter on the right) and great individual freedom.

The residents experience sharing groups, meals and prayer together but they do not share the same units.

Students also have the opportunity to attend daily prayer,
mass and to benefit from spiritual accompaniment.