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President Museveni Hails Makerere University

  • In Sciences
  • 2 Jul 2015 - 10:00am
  • By Elias Tuhereze
  • 10,260
President Museveni (Centre) and First Lady Janet Museveni admires some of the leather products at the graduation ceremony. Extreme left is Chancellor Prof. Mondo Kagonyera and extreme right is Prof. David Kabasa.

141 Farmers awarded certificates

President Yoweri Museveni has hailed Makerere University for bringing knowledge from the University to communities."You have replicated what happened 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ chose to come on earth and save sinners instead of staying in heaven and sending messengers," the President said amidst applause from the congregation gathered at Rukoni Sub-County, Ntungamo district to witness the award ceremony of Makerere University in the community.

President Museveni applauded Prof. Kabasa and the team in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB) and the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development (AFRISA) platform for demystifying knowledge and higher education in general, coming down to the people and making it possible for skills to be accessible by the masses.

Impressed by the milestones reached through the SPEDA model, the Head of State pledged more funding to the College so that together with the Government of Uganda, they continue to transform communities, eradicate poverty, create employment and valuable production enterprises.

"We have been supporting similar programmes and in the future, we are going to give you much more support than we have done in the past", the President said amidst claps.

The Chancellor of Makerere University, Prof. George Mondo Kagonyera presided over the award ceremony during which Dr. Michael Kansiime-Head presented 141awardees for Certificates in Skills, Production, Enterprises, Development and Academics (SPEDA) model under the AFRISA platform.

Prof. Kagonyera congratulated the awardees upon their choice to acquire knowledge and skills in production.  “The awardees are dressed in graduation regalia so that it sinks in the minds of all the people that the awardees have acquired knowledge. They are therefore better than before because in addition to being wise, they are knowledgeable,” he emphasized. He said that Makerere University is now more than ready to go into the communities and fight poverty through the SPEDA educational and community transformation model.President Museveni and his wife Hon Janet Museveni is welcomed by Rt. Rev. Nathan Ahimbisibwe, the Bishop of South Ankole and other dignitaries from Makerere University and Rukoni Sub county.

The SPEDA model was conceptualized 7 years ago after a directive from President Yoweri Museveni to the then School of Veterinary Medicine to transform the nation through veterinary medicine, animal resources, science and technology. "We had no idea how long it was going to take us to reach where we are" Prof. John David Kabasa, Principal College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB) noted. He said that Makerere University has spent the last 7 years developing this model in consultation with different organisations and government ministries. Prof. Kabasa further noted that the entire program of community transformation starts at the grassroots to skill masses, create wealth and improve livelihoods.

The First Lady, Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni, Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Member of Parliament Ruhaama County encouraged the awardees to make use of the acquired knowledge to work hard and earn more income so that they can have a better lives. The First Lady who is also the Patron of Ntungamo Transformation Initiative (NTI), an umbrella organization of church leaders in Ntungamo appreciated the worthwhile partnership between the Government of Uganda, Makerere University, AFRISA and religious leaders that will enable Ugandans to truly get out of poverty.Graduands exhibit some of the bananas at the graduation ceremony.

A total of 141 individuals were awarded general artisan certificates in 6 disciplines of Fish industry and business, Pig industry and business, Poultry industry and business, bee industry and business, dairy industry and business and zootechnics and agro entrepreneurship. The awardees fulfilled all the requirements set by Makerere University after undergoing an intensive 8-month training and nurturing program by staff of COVAB and the Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Services and Development (AFRISA),which is the partnership engagement platform for the SPEDA programmes.

While presenting the awardees to the Chancellor, Dr. Michael Kansiime, head AFRISA secretariat said that initially 200 people registered for the training, out of which 179 actually went through the training as approved by Makerere University. Of these, 130 were male and 49 female. While 141 completed successfully, 38 did not and are still on probational progress and still being mentored and nurtured to start their enterprise.

"We vowed that lamentations at graduations should be history, said Prof. Kabasa in relation to the thousands of university students who graduate every year without employment. With the SPEDA model, an individual graduates with an enterprise. He said that the awardees if they wished could enroll for an ordinary certificate, then a diploma and finally a degree if they wished, with each level adding on to their prior skills and knowledge.

The overall best awardee was Lydia Akankwatsa, who before the training was focused on her banana plantation. She has since the training, established a viable poultry business with 100 layers, producing 89 eggs a day, an equivalent of 26,700/= a day.

Also among the outstanding awardees, was the best performing female youth. Immaculate Tweyanze, an S.3 student is now paying her school fees from the piggery business that she improved upon during the course of the nurturing period. Prior to the training, she had only one pig that she was not looking after well. She has now expanded the business by stocking more pigs having gained more knowledge. She has so far sold 3 pigs, earning her 300,000/=. Her plan is to raise her stock to 360, which will increase her business worth to 95,000,000/=Graduands and officials from Makerere University pose for a group photo with President Museveni and First Lady.

Others who received special recognition were the best male youth and the best performer per value chain. According to Dr. Kansiime, all the trainees went through a continuous assessment of their progress every month. They also sat an oral exam and were guided in the development of their business plans.

The Diocese of South Ankole under the leadership of the Rt. Rev. Nathan Ahimbisibwe has purchased a training venue and facilities for more people to be trained and currently registration is in process. In what he termed as a memorable day in the history of Ntungamo and Uganda at large, Bishop Ahimbisibwe who is also the Chairman Board of Directors, NTI thanked the university and Mrs. Museveni for their support to transform the region. The Bishop called upon AFRISA and Makerere to continue training people not only in Ntungamo but the entire region.

Present at the ceremony were delegations from Busoga, Masabaland,  Lango and Bugwere who are interested in having the same programme in their respective regions.

"We have built capacity to instruct 1,000 individuals at a time, with Makerere taking leadership in curriculum development and quality assurance. We are waiting to be propelled forward", Prof. Kabasa told the congregation.

Written by: Jovia Musubika

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