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MUBFS: Mak’s World-renown Tropical Biology gem

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The Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS) is located in the tranquil Kibale Forest at the peripherals of Kibale National Park (KNP). Established in 1970 as Kibale Forest Project-KFP by Dr. Thomas Struhsaker, a renown primatologist and scholar from Duke University, USA, the project was handed over to Makerere University for its long-time survival by Dr. Struhsaker, shortly before his departure in 1987.

The Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS) is located in the tranquil Kibale Forest at the peripherals of Kibale National Park (KNP). Established in 1970 as Kibale Forest Project-KFP by Dr. Thomas Struhsaker, a renown primatologist and scholar from Duke University, USA, the project was handed over to Makerere University for its long-time survival by Dr. Struhsaker, shortly before his departure in 1987.

The Lower camp at MUBFS-KanyawaraToday, MUBFS, which falls under the Makerere University Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (MUIENR) is a year-round field research station accommodating up to 85 researchers and trainees and upholding the objectives of Research, Education and Conservation which KFP set out to achieve. MUBFS has two main study sites – Kanyawara and Ngogo, with Kanyawara housing the station’s main facilities.

On Thursday 29th July 2010, the Makerere University Management visited MUBFS’ Kanyawara site, and could not help but marvel at the high-quality research being conducted at this world renown field station. The on-going research projects conducted by local and international scholars include:

  • Ecological & Behavioral Studies of Various Animal Species in KNP.
  • Studies of Forest Regeneration in Logged & Formerly Encroached Areas.
  • Long-term Ecological Monitoring of Kibale National Park Eco-Systems.
  • Socio-Economic & Ecological Studies Including Crop Raiding By Park Wildlife.

Dr. Jeremiah Lwanga, Acting Deputy Director MUBFS, appreciated the Management team for visiting Dr. Clive Nuttman, Cambridge & TBAMUBFS and proceeded to give them a guided tour of the station, which included: A state-of-the-art Tropical Biology Laboratory; Eco-friendly water supply and waste disposal systems; Lodging facilities for over 85 visitors and 20 staff and Forest Ecology research labs.

“I always say to my students that Uganda is my favorite course destination and MUBFS is my favorite field station” remarked Dr Clive Nuttman of Cambridge University and the Tropical Biology Association-TBA, UK, which has conducted field training for over 400 students at MUBFS since 1994. “The team here at MUBFS ensures that our courses are extremely well facilitated, which really does make life easy for me as a course coordinator to run programs here. MUBFS has one of the best Tropical Biology research labs in the world” he further added.

To date, over 260 research papers and book chapters have been published from research conducted at MUBFS. Each year, Professors Collin and Lauren Chapman from McGill University, Canada publish a compilation of the research done at MUBFS. All these annual compilations as well as books written by MUBFS researchers make up the rich Library collection at the Field Station.
Patrick Omeja, Manager Fish & Monkey Project
MUBFS has indeed played host to a number of long-term research projects such as the Kibale Chimpanzee Project, which has been conducted by Harvard University Professor Richard Wrangham since 1987. Prof. Wrangham has been instrumental in supervising students at MUBFS as well as Harvard, who conduct their research at the Field Station every year. As a result some of MUBFS' former students have gone on to start their own projects. The Kibale EcoHealth Project-KEP is one example started up by Tony L. Goldberg (PhD)

 

Similarly, Patrick Omeja (PhD) is currently managing the Fish and Monkey project started up by Professors Collin and Lauren Chapman from McGill University. This project monitors the performance of Blue lips, a fish species indigenous to the forest river systems in KNP. They are the best bio-indicators of the oxygen content in the water hence a good measure of the effects of human activities on the ecology of the catchment areas surrounding KNP. The Monkey phase monitors the levels of stress experienced by primates as a result food availability or lack thereof, which is also a good indicator of human encroachment on their habitats. The stress levels are monitored by measuring the variations of some components in monkey excretions collected from the forest by the research teams.

Dr. Lwanga (C) shows the Management team around MUBFSAt the study site in Ngogo, 10Kms Southeast of Kanyawara, Professors David Watts, Yale University and John Mitani, University of Michigan, have published several papers as a result of their research since 1995. The research studies an extraordinarily large group of 140 chimpanzees for activities like: kinship and male social behaviour, hunting and meat eating and territoriality and lethal aggression.

MUBFS has done a lot for public education in terms of generating information that is necessary for making decisions on efforts aimed at forest environment conservation” remarked Dr. Lwanga as he made his speech.

The local communities have also benefited from teams that have visited MUBFS “We have the American Friends of Kasiisi Primary School-AFROKAPS, who have helped build classrooms, staff houses, toilets and lots of other infrastructure.
“Another offshoot has been the Kanyanchu Tourism Center-KTC in Kamwenge District, which was built as a result of a need to cater for tourism activities, fanned up by information about chimpanzees and forest ecology. This information, which helped shape the formation of KTC was generated by the various research publications from MUBFS” added Dr. Lwanga. MUBFS has also helped form other Non-Governmental Organizations like the Kibale Association for Rural and Economic Development-KAFRED.

“We want Makerere University to stand to its true stature as a National University by having its presence felt throughout the country. From our observations and comments by the visiting Professors, MUBFS is indeed the best Tropical Biology research center in the world” remarked the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba. “We would like to thank the MUBFS Management for the warm reception and great job done so far” he continued. The Vice-Chancellor concluded his remarks by pledging the University Management’s commitment and support to MUBFS’ welfare and future plans respectively.

MUBFS staff with the Management team at the end of the tour

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Dr. Jeremiah S. Lwanga's remarks

 

 

 

 

mwamai@admin.mak.ac.ug, Public Relations Office

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Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates

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The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (5th L) and Principal CoVAB-Prof. J.D. Kabasa (3rd L) with L-R: Mr. Byakatonda Patrick, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, Mr. Felix Okello, the Mace bearer and Dr. Samuel Majalija at the CoVAB@50 Celebrations Commissioning, 17th June 2021, Nakyesasa-Namulonge.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.

In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.

“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.

“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.

She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”

Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”

Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK
Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK

Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”

In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.

The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.

“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.

Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.
Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.

The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”

In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.

“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.

She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).

As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”

The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.

Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”

Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.

Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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A male researcher inspects a maize cob in a demonstration plot on 13th August 2010 at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Wakiso Uganda.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.

Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;

  • JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
  • Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
  • Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
  • For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
  • Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
  • Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
  • Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
  • In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

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URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.

Eligibility

  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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