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Outgoing Chancellor Prof. Kagonyera shares Mak Experience

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Professor George Mondo Kagonyera has been the Chancellor of Makerere University for an uninterrupted 8 years of service, 2007- 2015.

In the exclusive interview below with Marion Alina of the Makerere University Public Relations Office, the former titular head of the region’s leading institution of higher learning recounts his times at Makerere University and shares words of wisdom. The interview was conducted in the comfort of his Kampala residence on 8th October 2015.

1. What was the high point in your tenure as Chancellor?
During my tenure as Chancellor I have had the privilege to confer honorary degrees on three very important people: Former President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and our own President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. You can imagine when a sitting Head of State bows before you and you bless them! Those three occasions in which we conferred degrees upon these people were high points in my life. H.E Mwai and H.E Mkapa are graduates of Makerere University, but now H.E Museveni is a member of our alumni and I hope he will always be invited as such. When President Mkapa came for his conferment, we had arranged that he sits and only bows but he declined to do so and instead knelt before me. And I thought that was a great thing to happen in my life. Normally because they are fairly old people and very important, we usually arrange for them to sit.

2. Are there any other outstanding personalities you believe should be awarded Honorary doctorates?
I think there are many people who have distinguished themselves like Dr. Martin Aliker. We have our Ugandans who were the first to get degrees at Makerere University, like Mr. Alfred Mubanda and Hon. Mayanja Nkangi. Others like the late Bigirwenkya and Bisamunyu could be awarded posthumously. I think we should move expeditiously especially considering that Mubanda and Hon. Nkangi are still alive. They have distinguished themselves in service to this country. Even in the Industry we have people, like Justice Katureebe, our own graduate. We should also consider those outside our country for example all Presidents in the East African Community. Makerere University still maintains her position as the centre for higher learning in the whole of East Africa, so we should continue to sell ourselves and giving honorary degrees is one of the ways that we can do that.

3. Have you experienced any low moments in your tenure?
It is usually when we have had strikes and students have destroyed property both within and outside Makerere University. I was a student leader myself and we always got what we wanted without causing chaos. In the first week of my appointment, we had a staff strike. I spent the whole day pleading with them and reminding them that this was the worst reception from people I wanted to work with. I have been happy to work with MUASA leadership. They have done a tremendous job.

Prof. Kagonyera talks to Marion Alina during the interview at his "Manyatta"

4. What has been your experience in the 8 years as Chancellor Makerere University?
Makerere University is one of the top universities in Africa. We have distinguished ourselves academically. So to be a Chancellor is a great honour and therefore I am eternally grateful to His Excellency the President for having found me fit enough to be appointed Chancellor, despite not holding an important Government post. The previous Chancellor, Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, was a Prime Minister of Uganda. I have enjoyed the eight years. I want to express my gratitude to the members of staff; both academic and non-academic, and students for being wonderful to me. I am very happy to have worked with them

It has always been my great pleasure to be identified with Makerere University. I taught at Makerere for 11 years and even after I left, I kept my connections. So I have been very happy to see Makerere University grow in leaps and bounds in terms of student numbers and variety of academic programmes. I have always been happy with the ranking of Makerere University’s academic performance. We have continuously ranked amongst the highest on the continent in spite of the fairly inadequate resources, a feat that many universities in Africa have not managed to replicate.

Secondly, I love associating with young men and women. I like to see them grow into professionals. So I have always been very happy to be part of the team nurturing part of the young generation. Having been at Makerere under the late President H.E Idd Amin when we were going through some of the difficult times, I have seen Makerere literally resurrect from those times when we even had no water in the laboratories. Imagine a chemistry lab without water in its taps. But when we now see scientists producing some good work, the growth of ICT at Makerere University and many other developments, the progress is commendable.
 In my days there was only one computer centre in the Department of Statistics but now we have computers everywhere! The College of Computing, School of Food Science and technology, Human medicine and many others, have registered tremendous achievements. So I am very happy to be associated with all these developments at Makerere University, but allow me address myself to some particular developments in detail:

The Collegiate System
You know very well that people will always resist change, but I was very happy when Makerere University was organized into a collegiate system so that the various colleges could take charge of their peculiar affairs. I remember when I was Chairperson Appointments Board and systems were grossly centralized, we used to have a lot of problems getting the various faculties recommending people for appointment or promotion. Now that the Colleges can handle their own academic and other businesses, it is a very good thing. In that connection, I would like to register my appreciation to Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba for his contribution to the enforcement of the College System at Makerere University. I have a feeling that it has improved the way that the University is managed.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars
I have always had the plight of disadvantaged Ugandans in mind. There are very many Ugandans who cannot afford the fees at Universities and yet some of them are very brilliant. More so I was mindful of the girl child from Northern Uganda. You know that young girls are the most highly vulnerable in times of insecurity. I noticed that with the intervention of programmes like the Carnegie Corporation Fund, many girls could access higher education and have tremendous testimonies thereafter. So when I had an opportunity to talk to the MasterCard Foundation, I was very glad that they were able to give us a grant of US$20.9million to pay tuition for the disadvantaged children, both male and female. I hope that the University will manage it properly so that all the money is put to good use. When we have achieved, we can go back and ask for more support. In fact I wished I could have done more using other organizations. The challenge with the position of a Chancellor is that it is a Titular position, therefore you have limitations.

Prof. Kagonyera is a strong advocate for equitable access to education especially by the bright but economically disadvantaged The Loan scheme
All over the world, funding of University programmes is a problem. It becomes even harder in third world countries like Uganda where many of our people are poor. The most effective way of equalizing a society is to give them similar education. Give all Ugandans similar opportunities to acquire education. Even politically you build a nation by making all Ugandans equal. A loan scheme is a partial solution. Accessing the money is the easiest part of it, but when it comes to paying back, the terms and conditions need to be carefully looked into. If a student accesses this money but remains jobless three years after university, there has to be a way of establishing whether this person has genuinely failed to pay back. There must be a way that some people can get relief.

We also have this scholarship programme where student who get high grades are given government sponsorship. We are forgetting that these are the children of people who can afford to pay, people who have sent them to good schools right from an early age. We are forgetting that there is a brilliant child who has no nursery school to go to and goes to a third world primary and secondary school. With no access to a loan scheme, this child would be denied university education. I therefore think we should redesign this support and concentrate more on the needy children especially those from upcountry. We are risking dividing the country into two worlds; the first world around municipalities , towns and the city; and the third world in the villages. You cannot do this because it will bring social-economic conflict in the country. So we should do everything possible to equalize Ugandans based on making education available to as many Ugandans as possible.

Financial stability at Makerere University
We have a holdings company which is supposed to do the business of Makerere University in a business-like manner. We also have the Endowment Fund headed by Dr. Martin Aliker, which is supposed to help Mak identify and access resources that the Holdings Fund can utilize for the development of the University. I think those two funds if they can be made to work, they will bring in a lot of benefits to Makerere University. My appeal to the Management of the University is that they should continue to remind these two institutions, because most of the members are from outside the University, and out of sight can mean out of mind too.

The H.E Mwai Kibaki Presidential Library
This is a project we conceived to cost about $40m.I want to emphasize the anticipated functions this facility will be put to as an international centre. We also established the H.E Mwai Kibaki Chair in Economics and we hope it will make some difference in the stature of School of Economics. I look forward to actively engaging myself in promoting this Library project.

Israel-Agrostudies programme
Israel is one of the most highly advanced countries in relation to agriculture. They use only about 2% of their land for agriculture and yet they are a net agricultural exporting country. Therefore if we learn a bit of their technology and adapt it to our country you can imagine the land mass Uganda has, if we utilize it the way the Israelis utilize theirs we could easily become the food basket of the continent. We must know that the academic courses we study are fine but the manner in which we practically utilize the theoretical knowledge is what matters most. Makerere students from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the College of Veterinary medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security (CoVAB), have been sending students for a one-year paid internship in Israel. I highly commend this. The project is very important and I hope that the people of Uganda will take maximum advantage of the practical skills these young men and women will acquire from Israel to make a difference.

AFRISA
CoVAB is doing amazing work through this AFRISA programme. First of all the teaching of veterinary medicine in the traditional manner in aspects like anatomy, physiology, microbiology and surgery can restrict the adaptability of the graduates. So this programme is very highly innovative. The graduates are able to develop very practical skills and set up their own entities after university.

Secondly this College has taken education to the people at the grassroots. Makerere University was initially labeled the Ivory tower. The Veterinary College has even taken this training to the villages, enhancing people’s skills in areas that they are already involved in, like poultry farming. The farmers graduate and we award them certificates of Makerere University. This psychologically makes them feel good, and when we are graduating them, we see the highly improved productivity.

Resilient Africa Network- RAN
The concept of this project is very interesting. Resilient Africa is studying the various ‘insults’ of the environment, politics, and many other aspects on the lives of the people. They then establish how people are able to survive for example the landslides in Mbale, and share this knowledge, propose further areas of research to benefit both local and international communities. It is an interesting programme, more so because the funds they have from USAID were very competitive. In Africa, Makerere University through the School of Public Health was the only one that competitively won.
    
Entrepreneurship amongst students
The issue of unemployment is very serious for the whole continent and the world.  In Uganda the tradition has been graduates to be employed by government, but we are forgetting that the maximum number of Government employees is 300,000 and many are still young. So if Makerere University graduates about 10,000 students, only a few of them can get employment in government. The private sector which should be doing more than they are doing is still under developed and we need the private sector to grow. Therefore we encourage both foreign and local investment to create jobs. But even when all this is done, you will still get a number of Ugandans who cannot get employment, therefore I appeal to them to be able to get skills that will enable them to start their own businesses. I know that not everybody is born to be an entrepreneur and sometimes we error when we force them to.

Public Lectures
This is a thing to be encouraged. Public lectures recognize the contribution that the various Guest speakers and Panelists have made to society, but they also enhance the stature of the university.  We miss Prof. Ali Mazrui- who passed on recently, Prof Wasau- one of the first lecturers in Makerere- also died recently, Prof. Ominde and many others, are those whom we should recognize.

5. As you leave office, are there particular areas your Successor should focus on?
The Successor will partly continue business as usual but there are a few issues that need continuous attention:

Payment of tuition by private students
One of them is the perennial difference between students and management regarding fees. This should be sorted out so that each party understands its responsibility. It is always disheartening to hear about strikes at Makerere University. It is very surprising that it is at Makerere University and not any private institution of higher learning where students pay much higher fees but do not go on strike. I wonder what makes Makerere University students think that you can get a service for which you do not pay for on time without facilitating the budget. Perhaps students should sign a contract and after a certain period if they have not paid, then they should not be allowed in class.

Accommodation
Prof. Kagonyera feels that Chancellors deserve more powers and facilitationThe second is accommodation. Many halls of residence are dilapidated. I inspected Lumumba hall and it was in need of repairs. Part of these people’s training is about the environment in which they live, if they are in a dirty environment then they do not become the graduates we want them to be. The Government should spend money on physical infrastructure. It is not right to use money paid by students to do long term investments. I think fees paid by students should be strictly for operations. Makerere University, through the Endowment Fund and the Holdings Company, must also move faster. There are many people who have money and can invest in physical infrastructure at Makerere University. I would like to appeal particularly to the Chairperson of Council to make sure that he expedites the involvement of private investors. I know of plans to put up a teaching hospital, a hotel, apartments and more infrastructures. This way, Makerere University will be able to raise money and therefore stress less over fees collection. I would like to appeal to Makerere University to utilize all the land we have so that we are able to use the infrastructure to raise funds.

Mwai Kibaki Library
We have been working very hard on the Mwai Kibaki Presidential Library project. We have made a number of visits to H.E Mwai Kibaki in Nairobi and he is very excited about the project. We have even involved the Government of Uganda to the extent that when we visited President Museveni, he pledged US$5million on behalf of the Government. In December there should be a ground breaking for this project and I hope that we shall continue to raise funds. We have exciting proposals on how to raise this money, including involving the Archbishop of York His Grace Ssentamu- a graduate of Makerere University. We are not leaving anybody out. We hope to visit the London School of Economics, which is Mwai Kibaki’s alma mater. This building will change the functional skyline of Makerere University. We are imagining that it will host all sorts of functions, lecture halls, libraries, offices and accommodation for researchers. We are hoping that even Heads of State, Ministers of Finance and other dignitaries can come here for their conferences on Africa instead of going to Washington. The name might be misleading; it is not just a library, it’s a centre with so many functions.

6. You have advocated for more powers to the Chancellor, how best do you think this can be achieved?
First of all, there is enough power with people at the university. Previously Chancellors were the Heads of State and so everyone was exercising power on delegation of the Head of state. Now that Chancellors are ordinary citizens, I think they need a little bit more power, for instance to call people to order. I have had many people come to me and say, “Mr. Chancellor we have this problem with Makerere University.” And I say look I have no power. Chancellors are usually distinguished Ugandans, so some more powers to the Chancellor would be good.

This idea has been mooted for a long time and it is up to the Government through the Ministry of Education, to re-design the leadership structures of public universities, especially now that Chancellors are not Heads of State. This restructuring should also take into account their facilitation. I recall a time I had to go for graduation at Busitema University, I hired a car and paid my own money but I had been invited as Chancellor. Now there is some improvement, because when there is a function and I am invited as a Chancellor, Makerere University sometimes facilitates.

7. Which is the winning strategy for Makerere University to get to the number one position on the continent?
We need to improve on the support to Staff. If you do not feed a cow you cannot get milk out of its udder. We need to pay them reasonably well so that we discourage them from moon lighting. They will then spend more and more of their time at the University teaching and researching. Then we support them in getting research funds, get some allowances from it and publish too.
In relation to students, we have to be able to convince them that the most important thing they can do for themselves is acquire good knowledge and they can only do this through studying hard, obeying university rules and in the process they become more productive.

8. Staff of public universities continue to decry the low remuneration. Do you think this will improve to the desired magnitude as the years roll by?
I am glad that the last time we met the President he made an offer to improve the Staff remuneration and I am glad that recently all categories of Staff were considered. If this can be implemented, it is a good thing.

What next after the Chancellorship? Only God knows - Prof. KagonyeraWhat we should recognize is that we must not as public universities isolate ourselves from the rest of the Public Service because they all have demands. So while we are advocating for our interests, we must know that we belong to a larger family and therefore our demands on Government must be reasonable. Secondly the Government’s purse is not big enough to put ample funds in everybody’s pocket. I think you should form a public employees association. Both Universities and public service should have an association where their interactions with the Government on their welfare is coordinated. The best scenario would be for Government to take over the entire wage bill so that internally generated funds can attend to other needs.

9. What next after Makerere University?
God knows what next. Many people will be surprised that I do not make deliberate efforts to plan this and that. I have lived for 74 years, my father died when I was only 15 and here I am. I don’t normally plan, that doesn’t mean that I don’t look at the future, I do. But I do not anxiously wait for what may come my way. I am an academician and politician, therefore it is in this realm that probably a role will crop up. And if it doesn’t, I can quietly live my life in this ‘manyata’ of mine. No big problem. Whatever will be available, private sector, government I will be happy. I am still a very strong man.

END

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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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