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Makerere brings hope to the female ex-soldiers

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Day in, day out, our hearts, tears and prayers went out to them. As we prayed in churches, in mosques, in groups, at home, and as we called unto the world to hear us, they captured them from their beds as they slept at night, and gang- raped them.

Day in, day out, our hearts, tears and prayers went out to them. As we prayed in churches, in mosques, in groups, at home, and as we called unto the world to hear us, they captured them from their beds as they slept at night, and gang- raped them.

They gave birth to children whose fathers were unknown to them and they believed their cries for help were in vain. These were the young girls who were forcibly abducted and spent years as child soldiers, slaves and child mothers for the Lords’ Resistance Army (LRA).

Until recently, the term child soldier meant in reality a ‘boy soldier’. This is apparent in academic work where quite a number of studies do not include girls in their samples. However, the volume of literature concerning the situation of girl soldiers during the war and in post-conflict context has gradually increased in recent years although more still needs to be done.

As we reintegrate the female ex-rebel returnees, there is need to understand and address the particular stigmatization experienced by the girls that have returned with children, and the stigmatization experienced by the children as a result of their fathers’ rebel status and therefore being “illegaly conceived”.

It is against this background that Makerere University under the Department of Religious Studies, together with the School of Mission and Theology in Norway brought together researchers under the topic; “Culture, Religion and the Reintegration of Formerly Recruited Girls in Northern Uganda.” The two day conference ran from 20th – 21st October, hosting researchers who presented their findings on reintegration of the girl child in Gulu.

Prof. Bard Maeland, Rector, School of Mission and Theology and the project supervisor, highlighted that in as much as the research process was demanding, he was so proud that the researchers, through collection and documentation of information have found the solution to better reintegration of the female abductees.

“We had an opportunity to share findings, results, opinions, stories and moving experiences with the major stakeholders in the process of bringing peace to Uganda. It was a moving moment to listen to what people have gone through and how they want to forgive and bring peace to Northern Uganda, realizing that there is a long way ahead.” Prof. Bard remarked. “I am convinced that what the researchers have been doing is important as it will start a further process to take us into further discussions and reflections,” he further added.

Prof. Bard explained that the researchers have documented stories from the formerly abducted girls, women, and children, and believes that the establishment of these memories and experiences is valuable for forgiveness and reconciliation.

Who is Joseph Kony? Giving the key note address, Col. Rtd. Walter Ochora enlightened the conference on the identity of Joseph Kony. “Joseph Kony hails from Odek Sub County in Gulu District. He is a Primary Six graduate; his father and mother died of natural.” Col. Ochora explained.

As a young man, Kony joined the battalion of the UPDA, the first rebel group in Northern Uganda as a catechist. He prayed for the soldiers before they went to war. This made him very popular hence becoming their spiritual leader. It was from this reputation that he started a rebel group, renowned for recruiting its members through abductions, the most infamous being from the Sacred Heart Girls Boarding school abduction in Aboke, Gulu.

The documentation and sharing of real-life experiences by the researchers has been developed into a book entitled “Culture, Religion and the Reintegration of Female Girls in Northern Uganda”. The Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda H.E. Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther officially launched the book.

“The abducted children were forced into battle, exploited for their labour and subjected to violence and mistreatment. Many of them are girls whose background and experiences upon return can prove particularly difficult for society to handle,” The Ambassador noted.

The book further underscores how armed internal conflict is a major threat to national development in Africa. The Ambassador appreciated the topic of the research project as it laid emphasis on the role played by a peaceful civil society in the economic development of a nation. With successful implementation of these research findings, it is without a doubt that the reintegration of the former girl soldiers will succeed and bring prosperity to Gulu and Uganda at large.

 

Article by Moreen Katushabe

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Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education

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Professor Pancras John Mukasa Ssebuwufu (L) receives a plaque and citation from RUFORUM Board Member and Vice Chancellor Ndejje University-Professor Eriabu Lugujjo (Right) on 6th May 2021 at the RUFORUM Secretariat, Plot 155 Garden Hill, Makerere University Main Campus,

When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.

But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.

He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.

He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.

So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.

Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022. Photo credit: AfDB

The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.

About the JADS program

The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline.  The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.

The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.

Application Procedures

  1. Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
  2. Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
  3. University evaluates and selects applicants.
  4. University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
  5. AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
  6. AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.

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WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update

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Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Finance Chairperson, World Health Summit Regional Meeting Africa, June 2021.

SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…

Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa

We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…

Over 15 core sponsors…

Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…

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