ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) held an Innovations Exhibition in the Makerere University Main Hall on Friday March 14th, 2014. This was an opportunity for the faculty, students, private sector, Government, NGOs and the community at large to showcase their prototypes or projects that would be considered for acceleration in the Eastern Africa’sResilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab).
This type of exhibition is one of the main ways that RAN is using to identify promising innovations from within partner universities and local innovation hubs. Such innovations will be entered into RAN’s Resilience Innovation Acceleration Program where teams will receive technical support by leveraging expertise within RAN and the HESN, mentorship, capacity building and financial support to help them, accelerate the development, piloting and scaling up of their innovations.
The Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe graced the occasion and officially launched the EA RILab’s Resilience Innovation Acceleration Program. “It is such programs like ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) that have enormously contributed to Makerere University’s great achievements including being the 4th best University in the whole of Africa. Faculty, students and the community benefit a lot from such initiatives.”He was flanked by Prof. Celetino Obua, the Deputy Principal at the Makerere University College of Health Sciences who noted in his remarks that “Mr. Deputy Vice Chancellor, RAN is yet another testimony that we, who you sent out to do the work, are actually doing it. We pledge to further take Makerere University greater heights”. He also noted and acknowledged the great work by the students, faculty and community innovators both present at the exhibition and elsewhere.
The event was a great success and it was exciting to see over thirty projects being exhibited by both students and faculty teams. In line with RAN’s strategy to foster multi-disciplinary collaboration, these teams were drawn from six out of eight colleges, representing atleast 15 different academic disciplines from Makerere University (Software Engineering, computer Science, Data Communications and Networking, Architecture, Survey, Electrical Engineering, Forestry, Environmental Geographical Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Food Science, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, School of Law, Animal Resources and Bio-Security, Humanities and Social Sciences, Peace and Conflict and School of Health Sciences).There was also a huge turnout from the university community and the general public who engaged the exhibitors on their innovations. In acknowledging the great turnout and vibrant atmosphere in the hall, Prof. William Bazeyo in his remarks noted,“ Look at the brains in this room, the potential this institution brings together and the ability of Africans to provide solutions to their own challenges-solutions through innovations. All is evidenced here”.
Selection of the promising innovations was done by a competent and experienced team of judges drawn from within and outside RAN. These included Prof. David Serwadda-RAN Technical Advisor, Dr. Wanjiku Nganga-RAN Director of Innovations, Dr. Roy William Mayega-RAN Deputy Chief of Party, Dr. Dorothy Okello-EA RILab Director, Dr. Julius Ssentongo-RAN EA RILab Program Coordinator and Mr. Michael Niyitegeka-Facilitator at Franklin Covey Uganda, and a well-respected innovation thought leader in the region. In making their selections, the judges were required to ascertain the potential for an innovation to strengthen resilience in line with the EA RILab thematic areas of climate change and chronic conflict, as well as establishing technical and financial feasibility and potential to scale in target communities. The judges took time to appreciate and understand all aspects of a given innovation, by interacting with the teams, asking questions, testing some of the innovations and awarding scores. It was also an opportunity to emphasize the linkage between the innovations and resilience arms of the RAN project.
Out of the thirty-two projects exhibited, six including;RootIO, KUDU, Unearthing the potential of Earth Worms as livestock feed, FINDIT, Improved Pull & Push Approach in Northern Uganda and Integrated Backyard Farming were selected after a very thoroughvetting by the judges. These six teams were further required to pitch their innovations to the judges and the public during an interactive question and answer session. Three projects,namely,RootIO, KUDU and Unearthing the potential of Earth Worms as livestock feedwere finally selected for consideration to join the EA RILab’s Resilience Innovation Acceleration Program. These innovations address key resilience aspects that were identified from the EA RILab’s community consultations including community mobilization and knowledge sharing, economic empowerment/poverty eradication, diversification of livelihoods and environmentally friendly production methods. The exhibition participants had been asked to vote for their preferred innovation with a view of enriching their experience and participation, and the team ‘Community-based legal mobile clinic’ led by female students from Makerere University’s School of Law, which provides legal assistance pro-bono to vulnerable communities received a unanimous vote for the “Peoples Choice” Award.
RAN is proudly led by Makerere University (School of Public Health) as one of the seven development labs within the USAID-funded Higher Education Solutions Network (HESN). It is a partnership of 20 African Universities in 16 countries focused on strengthening the capacities of vulnerable communities to withstand natural and man-made shocks and stresses. One of the core objectives of RAN, is to strengthen resilience at the individual, household, and community levels to natural, man-made stresses and shocks through innovative technologies and approaches to development, which will be identified, incubated, tested, scaled and evaluated through the RAN in collaboration with its partners http://www.ranlab.org.
RAN carries out its operations within four Resilience Innovation labs. These are: The Eastern Africa RILab, Horn of Africa RILab, Southern African RILab and West Africa RILab. The Eastern Africa RILab is located in Makerere University School of Public Health with a mandate to source innovative ideas in line with RAN’s thematic focus from within the academic community and support their incubation, areas of development and piloting. This was the first event organized by the Eastern Africa RILab to source for innovations that provide solutions to community challenges.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,907 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
Apac District gains from CEDAT’s Research on Piloting a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model and Efficacious patient management system
The School of Engineering at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) shared findings of research that was conducted in Apac Districts through two projects namely Piloting a Rural Broadband Connectivity Model (RCBM) and Efficacious patient management system (EPMS).
The findings of the research sponsored by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University research and Innovation Fund(MakRIF) were disseminated during a dissemination seminar held in the College on Friday 24th November 2023, where it was revealed that Apac the host District greatly benefited from the services that not only led to the increased uptake of internet services but also gained through other socio economic areas.
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