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Ugandan Scientists share Climate Change mitigation strategies at AR5 close

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Scientists have presented some of the ways Uganda has responded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) findings. This was during the two day IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, (AR5) outreach event organized by Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University in conjunction with the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE). The outreach event was aimed at disseminating the findings of the Report to policymakers, the private sector, researchers and civil society organizations in Uganda.

Convening at Hotel Africana for the day-two plenary sessions and closing ceremony on 22nd August 2014, the stakeholders highlighted the need for the developing countries to improve their awareness and understanding of climate-related risks and implications to their work.

The first session chair for day two, Mr. Paul Isabirye, Coordinator, Department of Climate Change and The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Focal Point for Uganda said that Uganda was already experiencing the effects of climate change. He added these effects have led to;

  • Increased land degradation due to increased extreme weather events such as droughts and floods, aggravated by poor land-use practices.
  • Crop failure or significantly reduced crop production in some years due to increased drought incidences associated with increased climate variability and change.
  • Increased hunger and famine due to reduced agricultural productivity.
  • Increased pest infestations and other weather related plant pathogens.
  • Higher order impacts like increased costs of production, lower profitability, a decrease in food security and therefore a need for more food imports.

Mr Isabirye however remarked that the Government of Uganda has instituted several strategies and institutions to prioritise climate change such as upgrading the Climate Change Unit to a Department of Climate Change and the Department of Meteorology to the Uganda National Meteorology Authority (UNMA).

During the session on policy and practice, scientists from  the from Office of the Prime Minister, National Agriculture Resilience Initiative-Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Department of Climate Change (DCC)-MWE, the Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI) and representatives from the private sector discussed several ways in which Uganda is responding to the findings of the IPCC.

Presenting on behalf of the Private Sector, Ms. Sarah Kibenge from the Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) remarked that due to the impact of climate change, labor productivity has reduced due to higher incidences of vector-borne diseases, resulting into declining profit margins. Ms. Kibenge said that, several human actions in industrialization, construction and in agriculture are seen as causes and contributors to climate change.

“However we must be keen about Environmental protection. Ugandans has been involved in planting and afforestation activities, environment impact assessment technology, waste management through recycling, packaging using environmentally-friendly materials,” she added.

In her presentation on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in Uganda, Ms. Jacqueline Kagoda a Disaster Management Officer-OPM, stressed the need for Uganda to create an effective framework through which disaster preparedness and management is entrenched in all aspects of the development processes,

“As the central Coordinating Ministry on Disaster, the Office of the Prime Minister has set guiding principles like, using a multi-sectoral approach, community participation in DRM, public awareness, use  of adequate expertise and technology, vulnerability analysis, observation of human rights, and consideration of climate change upon which implementation is premised,” Ms.Kagoda stressed.

“The Ministry has provided Early Warning Systems especially for floods together with UNMA & DCC for a survey is being done in Butaleja District. The National Emergency Coordination and Operations Centre (NECOC) is being equipped with the DRM comprehensive hardware and software such as Arc GIS, Modelling softwares on climate related risks such as floods, Country Programming Paper to end Drought Resilience in partnership with MAAIF is underway, and International DRR and Peace Day Celebrations are being planned” she added.

Talking about National Agriculture Resilience Initiative, Mr. Stephen Muwaya said that the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries MAAIF has adopted a Climate Change Policy and Action Plan,

“The Ministry through this policy and action plan has also promoted and encouraged highly adaptive and productive livestock breeds, conservation agriculture and ecologically compatible cropping systems to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change, Promote sustainable management of rangelands and pastures through integrated rangeland management,” Mr.Muwaya remarked

Dr. Evelyn Komutunga, an Agro-meteorologist at National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Kampala Uganda said the organisation  had developed strong drought and heat tolerant crop varieties, generating technology for short duration crops, technology for assorted vegetables under horticulture research system, developing  a laboratory research institute, carrying out sustainable land management and restoration of degraded land.

“On Climate change adaptation and mitigation, NARO has managed to focus on data management through Crop yield monitoring and projections, and crop suitability mapping information packaging and dissemination (cropping calendars). NARO has also carried out conservation of at least 700 new accessions of 20 core collections and enhanced management for sustainable utilization of selected Plant Genetic Resource, biotechnology systems, diagnostics and processes developed for improved productivity of selected crops,” Dr. Komutunga explained.

In her presentation, the National Programme Coordinator, Africa Climate Change Resilience Alliance (ACCRA), Ms. Margaret Barihaihi, said ACCRA had facilitated Government policymakers to share community-based Climate Change Adaptations/Disaster Risk Reduction (CCA/DRR) implementation lessons at strategic national, regional and international climate change debates.

“The institution has been involved in policy formulation and contributed substantially to the National Climate Change policy 2012, ACCRA has collaborated with the Ministry of Water and Environment in raising awareness and mainstreaming Climatic Change adaptation into Local Government development plans,” she remarked.

Ms. Barihaihi said ACCRA has also collaborated with the Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) in strengthening seasonal weather forecast and climatic information for local planning.

According to Mr. Chebet Maikut, a representative from the Department of Climate Change (DCC)-MWE, the Government of Uganda has revised some common policy priorities to promote, research and development, transfer and diffusion of technology through the use of appropriate information sharing incentive schemes and support mechanisms as relevant to various sectors concerned.

“The Government of Uganda has also focused on mainstreaming gender to reduce the vulnerability of women and children, supported education, awareness raising and capacity development for a range of stakeholders (government, academics, civil society and private sector) contributing to the National Development Process right from the community level to the national level,” Mr. Maikut said.

On the academic front, Mr. Mfitumukiza David a climate adaptation specialist said the University has set up the Makerere University Centre for Climate Change Research and Innovations (MUCCRI), at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES).

“Launched in 2013, MUCCRI is motivated by the need to strengthen climate change research, innovations and information dissemination and to also strengthen East African Resilience and Climate Change Adaptation Capacity through Training, Research and Policy Interventions. MUCCRI is structured to work in four thematic areas; Climate Science, Mitigation, Adaptation, Policy, Training and Outreach,” Mr Mfitumukiza said.

During the group discussions focusing on Uganda’s response to the IPCC’s findings, participants were divided into groups and tasked to develop ideas on the opportunities for Uganda to respond to the IPCC findings, through the work of different sectors in managing climate change.

Chaired by Prof. John Baptist Kaddu, Makerere University, the four groups on; Agriculture, Water, Energy and Infrastructure developed recommendations on policy, research and practices that Uganda should adopt, which findings were later shared in a plenary session.

Giving the closing remarks, Mr. Paul Mafabi, Director for Environmental Affairs, MWE said the goals of the outreach program have already been achieved in the two days the gathering was in Uganda, through knowledge and information sharing on the constructive topics.

“I am very confident that all participants are now more informed on these issues. Therefore I do hope that the participants will utilize the knowledge gained here in their duties and also carry it forward to others who were not able to participate in this important event. You have all been given a leadership role in the climate change arena and you are therefore expected to act responsibly to avert the impacts of climate change in good time,” Mr. Mafabi said.

Mr. Mafabi emphasized Uganda’s commitment to keep climate change high on the development agenda through empowering the population with any evolving information to guide in planning and public investments.

Please see Downloads for all presentations from IPCC AR5, Kampala Uganda

Article by Nabatte Prossy, Intern, Public Relations Office
 

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted.   President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.

President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims. 

Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.

By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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