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Meet Dr. Steven Nyanzi: The Mak Graduation Guru

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Assoc. Prof. Steven Allan Nyanzi is the reigning Chairperson of the Makerere University Ceremonies Committee, a position he has held for the last 5 years. Dr. Nyanzi took over from the former Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Tickodri Togboa. He holds a First Class Doctor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Karlsruhe (Germany), a Master of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Science degree with a Concurrent Diploma in Education from Makerere University. Below he shares his experience and thoughts of the Makerere University Graduation Ceremony with Marion Alina.

The Chairperson

As Chairperson of Ceremonies Committee, Dr. Nyanzi works with a committed team of about 20 Members of the Committee. In planning each graduation, more members are co-opted including the College Communication Officers, Public Relations Office, Vice Chancellor’s Office and Staff from other units. “I was a College representative to Senate but Prof. Baryamureeba, the then Acting Vice Chancellor believed that I could Chair the Ceremonies Committee. My name was proposed and I was unanimously elected by Senate,” says the Senator.

Changes in Graduation at Mak

With more students graduating each year, Dr. Nyanzi reveals that the next graduation ceremony will be organized and conducted by the Colleges but in liaison with the Ceremonies Committee. The College-based Graduation ceremonies will still be presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera. “A recent sitting of Senate approved that graduation ceremonies be moved to Colleges to cut costs. Each graduation costs us between 500m- I billion shillings. The College-based graduation ceremony will require less personnel and will be easier to manage with smaller numbers of graduating students. We think it might also be less costly, especially if some Colleges combine their graduation ceremonies. The College Administration will fully exercise its autonomy on this issue and also identify a convenient place within the University to conduct its graduation ceremony. We welcome further proposals on this shift,” he explains.

Dr. Steven NyanziThe experience

The Makerere University Graduation ceremony is a big national event, with between 13,000 – 14,000 students graduating. Each graduand is allowed to invite a maximum of two people as witnesses of this special day. By implication, each graduation ceremony sits over 35,000 people spread throughout the graduation duration. Giant screens, a powerful public address system, huge tents, entertainment, high-level security deployment and refreshments are some of the items that heavily draw on the budget. “I used to think Graduation is a simple event but I have come to learn that there are a number of people who work so hard to make it a success. These include the unsung heroes in the Registrar’s Department who compile names and proof read the draft graduation booklet, the University printery which edits the graduation booklet, the security team and other categories of people,” he adds. In some cases, the graduation has not gone smoothly, necessitating printing of addendum lists of graduating students. Dr. Nyanzi says this delay starts from the Departments that are supposed to submit marks on time, and spills over to all the other processes. He nonetheless admits that some Departments have timely submissions, but the process cannot be complete until all submissions have been made.

Dr. Nyanzi is grateful that after the 64th Graduation ceremony, January 2014, the Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu hosted a thank-you dinner at his residence and invited most of the people who made this graduation a success. “This was the first recognition of its kind and we hope the practice is maintained. The 64th Graduation was indeed unique because for the first time, we had more female students, 50.3%  graduating, compared to the 49.7% male students. It is said that once you educate a girl child you prepare the nation for better times. I am glad we are having more female graduates. It is also at this graduation that the Vice Chancellor insisted that the ceremony be held in four days as opposed to the usual 5 days, to cut costs. Indeed we saved some money. He had also proposed that we hold the 65th graduation in 2 days but this became impossible, so we will have it spread over three days. Prof. Ddumba-Ssentamu will leave behind a legacy of cutting costs, so that the money is diverted to other wanting areas. He is a true economist and we appreciate this,” he says.

Makerere University has also witnessed an increase in the number of students graduating with Masters and doctorate (PhD) degrees. Dr. Nyanzi is bothered that most of the research work of this category of graduates is not funded by government. “During graduation you hear funders from Sweden, Norway, Germany, South Africa and the like, a sign that they have confidence in what we do. But you hardly hear of funding from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education or other Government entities and yet there are important areas for us as a nation that Government can choose to fund. We need people in Government to realize that there is value in ‘growing your own timber,’ if I am to borrow the words of Prof. Mamdani,” he says emphatically. “I am also pleasantly surprised by the increasing number of people who graduate in the distance education mode. I know that State Minister for Mineral Development Hon. Peter Lokeris, the first lady Hon. Janet Museveni and other important personalities have benefitted from this arrangement and I sincerely appreciate the efforts of our colleagues in Distance Education,” he adds.

Employment for GraduatesDr Steven Nyanzi and Ms Marion Alina at the 64th Graduation Ceremony.

With Makerere University sending over 13,000 trained graduates each year to the already strained job market, the scare of insufficient jobs continues to worry many. “We need to think of how to skill students from an early age and make the curricula more practical to Uganda’s needs, lest we risk having a mass of disgruntled youth. It is up to Government to agree that the curricula is not serving the purpose and change it as soon as yesterday, right from Kindergarten,” Dr. Nyanzi reasons.

Honorary Doctorates

Makerere University also awards Honorary doctorates to outstanding members of society. The names of Such individuals are suggested by a College or School and forwarded to Senate for approval. “An Honorary doctorate is usually awarded to someone whose work is defendable and self explanatory as is the case with H.E. Mwai Kibaki the former President of Kenya and H.E. Yoweri Museveni the President of Uganda. Senators take time to debate the choices before the award is given,” he explains. Dr. Nyanzi believes that the awards also need to target other categories of people who have delivered exceptional services. “For example Dr. Mathew Lukwiya who lost his life saving ebola patients could be awarded an honorary doctorate posthumously. Fortunately, Senate has set up a special Committee to identify people who should be recognized. There are a number of women fighters like Rhoda Kalema who have fought for the rights of the girl child. The School of Women and Gender Studies or the Directorate of Gender Mainstreaming can propose such names with ample justification.”

Moving on

The Chemist is now thinking of retiring from the responsibility of Chairperson Ceremonies Committee and focusing on mentoring students and his research. “I am looking at how to purify water for the benefit of people with low incomes, especially in the remote settings. I also have interest in projects on cancer research, alternative energy sources like biofuels, and environmental conservation,” he says with a sparkle in the eye.

Dr. Steven Allan Nyanzi is grateful to all categories of Staff for the team work that has seen Makerere University successfully conduct graduation ceremonies. He remains optimistic that this high level team work will be maintained as Makerere University continues to scale the heights.

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HERS-EA Fourth Leadership Academy

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Facilitators and Participants of the HERS-EA Third Academy pose for a group photo at the closing ceremony on 5th July 2019, Grand Global Hotel, Kampala Uganda.

The Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA) provides an intensive residential one-week leadership and management development curriculum focused on women, mainly in higher education institutions and administration.

In response to the current Covid-19 pandemic, HERS-EA Fourth Academy will be a totally virtual one. As such, the Academy previously scheduled to take place between June 28th – July 3rd has been postponed by one week to July 5th-9th

Theme: “Positioning Women for Leadership in Higher Education”

A. Institutional Development

1. Managing and Leading Change

2. Reframing Organizations for effective work

3. Developing Effective Partnerships in Higher Education for Women and gender focused advancement

B. Personal Development

4. Career Mapping/building dossier/personal development

5. Professional Women’s economic empowerment through Enterprise development and management for profit maximization

6. Research and Publishing; Leadership and Fundraising for projects including research and publication.

C. Networking

7. The Power of Mentoring; Networking

Who Should Attend?

HERS-EA expects many diverse and dynamic women leaders to attend the ACADEMY, to share and learn from multiple institutional perspectives with guidance from women with a wealth of experience in higher education, national academic organizations, government and non- governmental organizations. Participants are expected hold mid to senior-level positions and bring expertise from all parts of a college or university. They also represent a range of national groups, ages and years of experience in higher education and other fields.

Applying to the ACADEMY:

The deadline for registration has also been extended to June 30th. For more information regarding registration, please visit the website: www.hersea.org Completed registration forms should be emailed, with a scanned payment slip to: info@hersea.org, by 5.00 p.m. on Wednesday 30th June.

A complete application includes:
a) CV
b) A self-descriptive letter (not > 500 words) to include:

  • Current Title (e.g. Associate Professor of Economics; Deputy Dean, e. t. c.)
  • Name and Contact Information for 2 Recommenders (e.g. Vice Chancellor, Head of Department, Chief Officer in your area, and/or direct supervisor)
  • Short- and long-term career goals
  • Your expectations for the HERS-EA ACADEMY.

c) Passport size photograph
d) A developmental project you have been assigned or you would like to initiate at your campus (maximum 500 words)
e) Registration fee of $100, please attach a copy of the deposit slip to your application (Bank A/C details below):

Contact Information

If you have any further questions, please email:
info[at]hersea.org or call the HERS-EA Administrator on: +256 (0)772082011 Please,also, visit the HERS-EA website for further updates: www.hersea.org.

Payment Bank Account Details:
Account Name: Higher Education Resource Service East Africa

HERS-EA US $ ACCOUNT
Name of Bank: DFCU Bank
Makerere University Branch
A/C No: 02083553153181
Swift Code: DFCUUGKA

HERS-EA UGX ACCOUNT
Name of Bank: DFCU Bank
Makerere University Branch
A/C No: 01083553153172

 

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Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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

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

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

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

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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