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H.E Ssekandi launches Prof. Suruma Book on Advancing Ugandan Economy

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At the climax of the historic book launch held on Tuesday 23rd September 2014, the audience comprising people with different political ideologies, public, business and private sectors, development partners, the academia, students and the media applauded the author-Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma for presenting to Ugandans and the world at large, a well written and researched political history and economic evolution of Uganda.

This audience that filled the renowned Makerere University Main Hall and Gallery to capacity was nothing short of spectacular. They upheld the author’s point of view that there was a strong correlation between political stability and the rate of economic growth. They agreed with the author that foreign aid would never lead to the development of Uganda; appreciated the author for reiterating the need to involve the communities in the implementation of the rural development strategy; thanked the author for giving direction on a reformed pension and social security sector; and together with the author wished for a well managed oil sector that would lead to job creation and prosperity for all.

In his book, Advancing the Ugandan Economy: A Personal Account published by Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C,2014, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, an accomplished academician who served government diligently, highlights that it is because of the transformed political environment that Uganda has experienced stability and growth. He also shares very difficult times in Uganda’s history and the reforms that followed, identifies problems in various sectors and proposes viable solutions given his research background and wealth of experience. Professor Suruma remains optimistic that as the democratic environment evolves, Uganda will become more stable; and emphasizes that good governance is critical in a country’s social and economic transformation.

In his 197-page book, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, a former Senior Lecturer of Economics at Makerere University; former Director of Research in Bank of Uganda; Minister of Finance from 2005 to 2009; and Senior Presidential Adviser on Finance and Planning in Uganda-not only provides an insider’s account of dramatic policy shifts in Uganda leading to stability and growth, but also expresses hope for a better Uganda. This distinguished son of Africa was also a visiting fellow at Brookings with the Africa Growth Initiative from 2010 to 2011.

In the foreword, Henry Krabbendam, a Professor Emeritus, Covenant College Georgia and Founder, Africa Christian Training Institute-Uganda states that the book gives Professor Suruma’s account of the remarkable policy changes that occurred in Uganda from 1986-2012 as well as his vision for the future of his country. He notes that the primary purpose of the book is to demonstrate that African countries can achieve economic stability and sustain rapid growth when they meet at least two interdependent conditions. He however emphasizes that they must establish a stable and secure political framework, rooted in moral integrity, as well as unleash the entrepreneurialism of the populace, facilitated by a free and democratic society.

Focusing on a better Uganda, the hopeful Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, a respected economist and academician who served the government diligently decries the growing unemployment levels, but envisions Uganda at full employment. His philosophy of full employment is premised on a well managed oil sector and its correlation with job creation and socio-economic transformation.

“…I continue to believe that the country cannot and should not try to sweep the problem of unemployment under the carpet. With the impending oil wealth, I believe that the country really can afford to pursue full employment. Uganda needs to address the needs of its expanding youth population for adequate housing and decent jobs,” further reads the extract on page 194.

Officiating at the launch of this admirably well-written and researched book, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi congratulated Prof. Ezra Sabiti Suruma upon extending the boundaries of knowledge in economics and politics, and equally commended him for not only awakening Ugandans to social, political and economic issues of our time but also providing solutions these problems.

“I have the pleasure to officially launch Prof. Ezra Sabiti Suruma’s book-Advancing the Ugandan Economy: A Personal Account. I commend it to all Ugandans as a prescription that will save Uganda and take it to greater heights,” said the Vice President of Uganda, H.E Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi amidst applause from a captivated audience.

At the memorable book launch Pastor Laban Jjumba who was invited to say a prayer thanked the Almighty God for blessing the author with the gift of life and wisdom. He also gave God the glory for His Servant’s book launch as hosted by Makerere University.

In the same spirit, the Vice Chair, Uganda Debt Network, Ms. Christine Nantongo said that the organisation was proud to be associated with the Prof. Suruma’s publication. “We are aware of the compelling content in this publication and its potential to contribute to Uganda and Africa’s social and economic transformation.”

The Acting Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Associate Professor Ernest Okello Ogwang welcomed the audience to Makerere University and commended them for filling up the Main Hall and the Gallery to capacity as Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma, a distinguished leader and a former Senior Lecturer of Economics at Makerere University (1973-75 and 1979-81) launched his publication.

Makerere University is indeed proud that you chose this Hall as the venue for the launch of your book Advancing the Ugandan Economy – A Personal Account for if its walls would speak, it would tell many a tale. We are also proud that the narrative of this book had its origins in Makerere University, during your tenure as Senior Lecturer at Makerere University. We warmly congratulate you and take great pride in your achievement, and commend you for literally bringing it home,” remarked Associate Prof. Okello Ogwang.

Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) represented the Vice Chancellor.

Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)represented the Vice Chancellor.

Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang, who is also the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) informed the audience that sometimes, those in the know (the insiders) are not bold enough to share what they know. He noted that the insiders often share their experience through other people, and in most cases, especially, here in Uganda; often wait for authors from other countries to write about their own country.

He applauded the author, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma (an insider) for taking a bold step to dedicate time and resources to share with Ugandans and the world at large an insider’s account of dramatic policy shifts in Uganda that led to stability. He then encouraged other insiders who were in attendance to share their own accounts with Ugandans and the world at large.

The Ag. Vice Chancellor also thanked the discussants namely Hon. Dr. Mary Mugyenyi, Gen. Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, Mr. Andrew Rugasira, Hon. Nandala Mafabi, and Mr. Edward Gaamuwa for accepting to be part of the intellectual discourse so that the current political and economic reforms in the quest for economic independence seek to build upon the demands in an interrelated, interconnected and global environment.

At 2:30pm, the author- Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma took to the podium to address eagerly expectant audience comprising several dignitaries, Senior citizens, Ministers, Members of Parliament, intellectuals – both young and old, students and the media.

The Financial Sector Reform: Negotiating with the Bretton Woods Institutions, I believe is one of the most interesting chapters for students and professors. As the Vice Chancellor said, I am speaking from firsthand experience,” remarked Prof. Suruma in reference to chapter nine of his book.

With nostalgia, Prof. Suruma thanked Makerere University for welcoming him, and allowing him to launch his book, in the very institution where the journey started in 1979 when he was Senior Lecturer in the then Department of Economics. He informed the audience that the organizers had proposed to launch his book in a different location, but by God’s providence, he was equally happy that they were all gathered in the Makerere University Main Hall.

Prof. Ezra Sabiti Suruma

Prof. Ezra Sabiti Suruma

In his presentation, Professor Suruma highlighted the journey through Uganda’s turbulent times. While at Makerere University, he soon learnt that what he was lecturing was soon to become irrelevant and could not easily be heard amidst the turbulent times. It was also very unfortunate that during the Amin Era, most intellectuals lost their lives. At Makerere University, he met the late Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi, whose words of wisdom and vision for the future in one of the lectures that Suruma attended marked a turning point in his life. He pointed out that it was his first time to see someone such as Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi openly stating that the political parties could no longer take the country forward, and that there was need for the 3rd force in Uganda to intervene. Later on, Suruma then a Senior Lecturer of Economics joined Joshua Baitwa Mugyenyi-the political scientist to form that 3rd force – the Uganda National Movement at Makerere University.

Recalling their boldness and how their decision to form a 3rd force impacted on the transformation of Uganda, Professor Suruma advised the youths and students to remain focused and determined.

“Then we were young people and a laughing stock. People said that they had dominant political parties, and that we as young people could not do anything. One of the main points, I want to put forward is that when we entered politics, we were responding to a difficult environment. Although they considered us hopeless, we had remarkable achievements. I encourage you, young people to know that ideas are powerful,” he said.

The author pointed out that he escaped death narrowly when soldiers came looking for him, but surprisingly a voice responded that he was not in the area, and by God’s grace the soldiers did not bother to check. Professor Suruma will remain eternally grateful to the person who chose to inform the soldiers that he was not in the area, although the person has never revealed his identity to date.

“To the young people, If God determines that you will live, you will live. Do not fear to organize,” he emphasized amidst applause from the audience.

In his hypothesis, it is because of the transformed political environment that Uganda has experienced stability and growth. In the last 27 years, the country has been going forward because there is a remarkable correlation between the type of government and the rate of economic growth. Although the history of economic growth is attributed to macro-economic principles, Professor Suruma argues that more attention should be given to political stability. The transformation in political stability made it possible to pursue major financial reforms in Uganda.

“Looking at the data on page 22, with Uganda’s economic growth rate rising to 3.6%, there is no doubt in my mind that the increase in economic growth is correlated with good governance,” he emphasized.

Being a key figure in the economic and political transformation of Uganda, Professor Suruma is delighted with the reforms that resulted into the liberalization of the foreign exchange sector. He also encountered serious challenges during his tenure at Bank of Uganda including lack of capacity and accountability as well as independence of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance. He also shared a scenario where some key government officials wondered why the Bank of Uganda would require a budget! Professor Suruma is equally glad that they took bold decisions that resulted into a reformed banking sector and an independent Bank of Uganda.

He highlighted the struggle for the Uganda Commercial Bank. He referred to it as a bank without money, with the most pressing problem being illiquidity of the bank. Realising that the people would deposit money, but encountered a lot of difficulty in withdrawing, Professor Suruma considered the problem and tried to find out where the money was going.

“I found out that branch managers were lending independently of the centre. Top managers did not know what the branch managers were doing, the latter were practically autonomous. Worse still, the branch managers were lending money but not recovering much of it. That was the ultimate source of the disaster, “he said.

Professor Suruma made an incredible decision, and the bank was liquid within a week, a milestone that his colleagues referred to as the “Suruma Effect.” Listening to his presentation, it was crystal clear that Professor Suruma who had ensured that the Uganda Commercial Bank was profitable as of 1996, did not support the World Bank position of privatizing the bank, but he later realized that he could not win.

The author received around of applause from the audience when he pointed out that the pension and social security reforms are a societal obligation. “I appeal to our citizens to struggle for a time when every Ugandan citizen will afford basic needs and be respected regardless of their economic status,” he said.

In his book, the optimistic Professor Suruma tackles the promising oil sector and its effect on job creation and the social and economic wellbeing of Ugandans. Chapter 21: Job Creation and Housing Demand in Uganda-An Innovative Synergy is my small contribution to the debate on creating employment,” remarked the author.

The author dedicated the book to his father, Sulumani Barilanwa who made sure that he went to school-even though their village had no school to go to; his mother Esiteri Keiganiza whose unflinching disciplinary rigor set him on the straight path toward good; and to the martyrs and fighters for human freedom and justice everywhere.

To the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, Professor John Ddumba-Ssentamu who was out of the country on official duty, the author, Professor Ezra Sabiti Suruma presented an autographed complimentary book with a special message.

“ To Prof. and Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ddumba Ssentamu, in remembrance of our time together at Makerere University, 1979 -1981.Thank you for your friendship.”

Discussants:

Hon. Mary Mugyenyi, Patron, Joshua Mugyenyi Foundation said that she could identify with what the author had written especially the history and economics of this country. She however pointed out that although decentralization had taken services to the people, it had shortfalls which should be addressed. She also observed that privatization though good had shortfalls such as the prioritization of foreign firms over local ones. She also noted although SACCOs are good, there is an urgent need to regulate them so as to guarantee the safety of their members’ savings. She emphasized that corruption in Uganda is not caused by poverty and appealed to Makerere University to conduct an informed study on who is corrupt and why they are corrupt.

Gen. Salim Saleh Akandwanaho, Presidential Advisor on Security, and formerly, Minister of State for Microfinance thanked the author for according

him the honour of discussing his rural development strategy and its impact on Uganda, which he; Gen. Salim Saleh has been implementing as a loyal officer. He noted that community information systems and access to finances were crucial in advancing the rural development strategy and also saluted H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for re-enforcing the military in the rural development strategy. Gen. Salim Saleh appreciated the title of the book, especially its faith in the future. He nevertheless drew applause from the audience when he emphasized that his dealings in the privatization of the Uganda Commercial Bank were only influenced by the desire to “Ugandanise” the bank. He asked that authors to publish more books on the economy, politics, and environment so that Uganda continues to move forward.

Mr. Edward Gaamuwa, Chief Executive Director-ACLAIM Africa Limited.

Mr. Edward Gaamuwa, Chief Executive Director-ACLAIM Africa Limited.

Mr. Edward Gaamuwa, Chief Executive Director-ACLAIM Africa Limited congratulated Dr. Suruma for his incisive and sometimes blunt book and for being bold to call a spade a spade. He appreciated the author for pointing out that Ministers and people in high places had succumbed to corruption. He however disagreed with the author that corruption was a result of income insecurity but was rather convinced that corruption is a result of greed. The discussant decried the “short termism” in managing pension funds and emphasized the need for a long term approach. He added that social security is not a luxury, but a key factor in sustainable development.

Hon. Nandala Mafabi, formerly Leader of Opposition in Parliament reminded the audience that during his tenure, privatization had indeed put the President and Parliament on a collision course as Dr. Suruma correctly pointed out in his book on page 73. Hon. Nandala recalled that he moved the motion in the House not to

Hon. Nandala Mafabi, former Chair, Public Accounts Committee.

Hon. Nandala Mafabi, former Chair, Public Accounts Committee.

sell the then Uganda Commercial Bank. He commended the author for taking wisdom and courage to come up with an insightful book especially as member of the ruling party! With regard to the discussion on corruption, the discussant argued that the people that tended to already have wealth turned out to be the most corrupt. He agreed with the author that unemployment in Uganda was a serious matter and that a well managed oil resource would lead to creation of jobs. Focusing on the management of the oil resources, he emphasized the need for transparency and accountability as well as the need for the Opposition and Government of Uganda to work together for a thriving oil sector. He also agreed with the view that oil presents us with an opportunity to uplift the standards of Ugandans. Hon. Nandala Mafabi however critiqued the author for remaining silent on the role of international agencies in the oil sector. “The international agencies and donors always ignore the local voices, but claim to pursue democracy,” he said.

Mr. Andrew Rugasira, Chief Executive Officer, Good African Coffee Ltd appealed to the youth and students to read the book and fashion their ideologies around it. He detested the high rate of borrowing and its adverse effects on investment and development. He noted that access to capital was a major problem whereby young people have ideas, but very few have access to capital. He stressed that our hope in economic transformation was within our midst, and further encouraged young people to come up with innovative strategies.

Mr. Andrew Rugasira,Chief Executive Officer, Good African Coffee Ltd

Mr. Andrew Rugasira,Chief Executive Officer, Good African Coffee Ltd

In his address, the Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Ssekandi said: “You will appreciate that books are the principle repository of knowledge. Books of this nature help us to link with reality in our environment and communities. We should use the ideas to bring about transformation in our communities. This is a great inspiration to all of us here to put our ideas in writing and share them with humanity.”

Wrapping up, Professor Suruma thanked the congregation for sparing their valuable time to participate in the book launch. “I have been humbled by your presence and contributions.”

Professor Augustus Nuwagaba, who moderated the discussion, thanked Makerere University for producing Professor Suruma – a wonderful son of Africa. He equally congratulated the Vice Chancellor and staff of Makerere University for producing products that can effect change the world over.

The Uganda Debt Network, which envisions a prosperous Uganda with sustainable, equitable development and high quality of life of the people, sponsored the book launch.

Written by: Ritah Namisango, Makerere University

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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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