On 4th November 2015, Makerere University received a USD 90,000 grant from King Abdalla Bin Abdul Aziiz International Centre for Arabic Language- Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; to enable 20 students to study Arabic language for a period of three years. The donation was handed over to the Acting Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang by the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Uganda H.E Dr. Jamal Rafah at a colourful ceremony held in the Makerere University Council Room.
According to the Head, Department of European and Oriental Languages, Dr. Edith Natukunda, the donation will help the institution to boost and promote the teaching of Arabic Language in the Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) and Education and External Studies (CEES).
The Mak-Arabic Scholarships will also enable students to learn and master the Arabic culture and norms as well as explore the historical background of Arab countries and the longstanding relations between Uganda and the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, the sponsorship will facilitate the development and promotion of Arabic both nationally and internationally, so as to enhance communication and friendship between the people of Uganda and the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As an incentive to encourage the learning and the usage of international languages in Uganda, Arabic language was introduced at Makerere University in 2011 under the Department of European and Oriental Languages. The Arabic language is taught at three stages of learning i.e. beginner, advanced and Postgraduate Diploma with education.
“We have beginners who start Arabic at the University; the advanced group, which studied Arabic at secondary level and those who are doing a Post Graduate Diploma in education. Most of the time, those who do Advanced Arabic are taking it with education, which explains our close collaboration with the College of Education and External Studies,” Dr. Natukunda stated.
She also explained that the Department of European and Oriental languages hosts four international languages, with French being the oldest, The Department also teaches German followed by Arabic which has been on students’ curriculum for approximately fifteen years.
“The younger daughter is Chinese and the very special daughter is Spanish, that we are set to teach as soon as approval from the University Management is granted. We are happy that today the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has come out to support our Arabic students. I am glad that the USD 90,000 will fully cover all basic requirements of 20 students for the three years they are to spend learning Arabic,” she said.
She thanked the College of Education and External studies for the efforts they have rendered in co-teaching Arabic with the Department of European and Oriental Languages.
“I am grateful that through our strong collaboration, you have been able to equip our students with the Arabic methods as we teach them the content. Currently we have also partnered with the Department of Peace, Conflict and Religious Studies to help us teach our students the religious concept of Islamic culture and civilization. We also service the PhD Programs at Makerere Institute of Social Research,” she said.
On behalf of the Makerere University Community, the Acting Vice Chancellor Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang extended his sincere gratitude to King Abdul Aziiz International Centre of Arabic Language for the generous support that aimed at supporting the University’s core functions of teaching and learning.
“We recognise the support that the Centre and the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have offered us to fulfil one of our core functions of teaching language. Language is a form of communication, a part that builds up culture and language is civilization. Therefore Arabic as a language has contributed a lot to Humanities and Sciences such as Architecture and Astronomy. It is of great importance that our children also get this knowledge so that this culture is extended and perpetuated to our community,” said the Acting Vice Chancellor.
Dr. Okello Ogwang further acknowledged the mutual relationship that Makerere University has with the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is in line with the University core function of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and Networking.
“Another core function of Makerere University is to foster partnerships and networking. We therefore greatly value the relationship we have built with the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is through our collaboration that we acquired linkages with King Abdalla Bin Abdul Aziiz International Centre for Arabic Language, which has eventual led to this USD 90,000 donation,” he added.
Speaking to the Makerere University Management and Staff present, H.E Dr. Jamal Rafah said, “One very important thing in life is a friend, I therefore feel and I have always considered myself as a true friend to the people of Uganda. I am happy that Makerere University Management is willing to support and extend Arabic language and culture among Ugandan Academic and Saudi Arabian institutions of education. With much respect, I would like to say that this institution deserves to be supported. As Ambassadors of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is our obligation to develop and cement relationships with other nations as assigned by the Custodian of the two holy mosques. I therefore promise you by the will of Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala that we shall have more collaborations and understandings.”
The Ambassador encouraged people to embrace education as the only way to liberate the world from ignorance and economic backwardness. “Education is very important to all of us. And in Islam the first thing Allah ordered to Prophet Muhammad was ‘Iqra’ which means read. By reading we can know each other, and also know more about our culture. Nothing is more of an enemy to us than ignorance,” he said.
Remarking on the importance of language in communication, the Ambassador encouraged institutions to teach several languages so as to ease international communication. Reiterating the usefulness of multilingualism in international business as well as developing international relations, Dr. Jamal Rafah said that humans should also consider the language of love and peace to promote unity and stability among their societies.
“Language is very important and those who don’t know, I will be delightful to tell you that the Arabic language is the language of people in paradise. It is also my pleasure to say that the two languages that are most important in our society are; peace and love. Language can help in creating understandings among people as well as extending relations,” he noted.
He requested the Makerere University Management to develop a vision upon which distant collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the people of Uganda can be developed, assuring members that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is willing to support people of Uganda regardless of their faith.
Emphasizing the importance of international languages on the secondary school curriculum, the Principal of College of Education and External Studies Dr. Fred Masagazi Masaazi mentioned that the College is working hard to see to that Arabic as a language is included on the new secondary school curriculum to be introduced in 2017.
“When we talk about Arabic, it is hard to separate it from teaching. So as the College of Education and External Studies, we are trying to expand the teaching of the languages to many schools in Uganda. Per now we have gone as far as Kitgum. Today, the secondary curriculum is changing and we are getting a new curriculum which is starting in 2017 and one of the areas which are very important is the area of international language. During the interaction with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Sports, we were able to discuss on how we can make Arabic a core language on the students curriculum due to the strong communication and interaction we have with the Arabic people,”
According to the Deputy Principal of College of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof. Abasi Kiyimba, teaching and promoting Arabic language at Makerere University marks the realization of the college’s mandate of overseeing the teaching of languages through its subordinate units.
“To this end, we have come a long way which has taught me that when we see successful projects, we have to know that so many people have contributed towards their achievement. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences has six in which the need for language teaching cannot be overlooked. We therefore look forward for a fruitful collaboration in this area with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he mentioned.
In his speech, the Chairperson of Makerere University Academic Staff Association Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu- Musoke thanked the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Uganda and the Royal Government of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the support they have given to Makerere, which has enabled the institution to explore a new academic area.
“We are so grateful that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has now opened up all the doors to support us in academics. This wouldn’t have been possible if it was not for your openness, the love you have for Uganda and the love you have for international diplomacy. Makerere University enjoys explorations in terms of academia. So when we interacted with you, we discovered that we have got a friend who is reliable. The academicians of Makerere University are very happy that we are opening up and very soon with your corporation we shall have Memorandum of Understandings between Ugandan universities and the Universities of Saudi Arabia,” he happily remarked.
Giving a brief background about the Arabic language in Makerere University, The Language Coordinator,-Department of European and Oriental Languages Mr. Ssali Ebraheem said that despite its being late at the institution, Arabic as a language has received an overwhelming support and attention from the Makerere University Community.
He therefore advised the members to look at Arabic as a language other a religion. “We should not look at Arabic from the religious perspective only, but rather as any other language that binds the world together internationally,” he remarked.
The ceremony was graced by Makerere University Management and Staff and these included; the Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge Finance and Administration Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Academic Registrar Mr. Alfred Namoah Masikye, the University Librarian Dr. Helen Byamugisha, Principals and Deputy Principals of various colleges and Heads of Department among others.
Article: Nabatte Proscovia and Iga Charles- Interns, Mak Public Relations Office.
Climate Change and Global warming: Researchers and partners discuss Climate Smart Agriculture approaches
By Ritah Namisango
Global warming due to uncontrolled human activity, industrialization and rapid population growth as well as emission of greenhouse gases is a threat to both humans and animals.
Global warming is an aspect of climate change, referring to the long-term rise of the earth’s temperatures. It is caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from human activities such as burning fossil fuels and farming.
To address the emerging danger of climate change and global warming that threatens the very existence of the human race, animals and the world in general, countries and international bodies have come up with strategies, measures and programmes aimed at mitigating the disastrous effects of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers at Makerere University (Uganda) in partnership with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Norway), Maseno University (Kenya), and LUANAR and DARS (Malawi), and with funding from Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education (Diku), are implementing a four-year collaborative research project titled, “Building Capacity for Innovation and Advancement of Climate Smart Agriculture in East and Southern Africa” (CICSA-E&SA).
This is a multi-disciplinary project bringing on board experts in climate change, livestock, animal science and agriculture. In Uganda, Dr. Dorothy Nampanzira, a researcher at Makerere University College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) is the Principal Investigator. One of the objectives of the project is to develop a platform that includes key stakeholders who are engaged and interested in activities and initiatives that promote Climate Smart Approach practices and technologies to share experiences and lessons to further the resilience of farmers and promote activities that limit greenhouse gas emissions and receive outreach for adopting new, proven Climate Smart Agriculture technologies.
Why Climate Smart Agriculture?
Climate change and global warming are a threat to the agricultural sector, which is the source of food and income for developing countries in Africa, Uganda being one of them. According to the Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBOS) about 70% of Uganda’s working population is employed in agriculture. So, climate change and global warming threaten the very existence of livelihoods in Uganda, which calls for adoption of climate smart agriculture approaches, strategies, measures and practices.
On Tuesday 6th December 2022, researchers, scientists and experts in livestock feeding and nutrition, animal science, agriculture, climate change, education and capacity building convened at CoVAB. The stakeholders’ meeting was held under the theme: Livestock feeding and nutrition as Climate Smart Agriculture option: Current status and future strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production systems in Uganda.
Opening the stakeholders’ workshop, Associate Professor Lawrence Mugisha, the Head, Department of Livestock and Industrial Resources, CoVAB, welcomed the partners to Makerere University. Highlighting that climate change is a cross cutting issue, he was happy to note that this multi-disciplinary project brings on board staff and experts from other Colleges at Makerere University namely; the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), and international partners from Universities in East and Southern Africa as well as Norway.
Representing Associate Professor Robert Tweyongyere, the Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resources, CoVAB, Associate Professor Mugisha shared that the Government of Uganda was committed to mitigating climate change. He pointed out that Makerere University’s strategic approaches through this collaborative project that focuses on climate smart agriculture would further enhance Government efforts.
Associate Professor Mugisha reiterated the appeal from the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovations, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero to researchers at Makerere University. “On several occasions, Hon. Monica Musenero has encouraged us to conduct research that will solve the problems that Uganda is facing. The impacts and consequences of climate change are with us. We need researchers and experts to address the problem. I am therefore glad that this collaborative project focuses on coming up with innovations in climate smart agriculture.”
He advised the research project team to widen the stakeholder engagements, write policy briefs, and translate research into conventional and popular formats for public consumption and usage.
Dr. Vincent Muwanika then invited the respective researchers, scientists, experts and partners to participate in round table discussions with key stakeholders in climate change, agriculture, animal science and capacity building.
From the presentations, participants observed that a number of livestock climate smart agriculture initiatives were being undertaken in Uganda. Some of these include:
- Interventions addressing livestock feed quantities in order to produce nutritious feeds for livestock throughout the year.
- Feed quality improvement innovations.
- Forage conservation innovations and technologies aimed at providing enough nutritious feeds for livestock during times of scarcity especially as a result of the long dry spells.
- Promotion of drought tolerant multipurpose tree species.
- Promotion of livestock and poultry breeds that are better performing and tolerant high temperatures.
- Innovations for improved grazing management especially in rangelands.
- Water conservation and harvesting technologies that store enough water for both livestock production and household use.
Based on the informative discussions and interactive engagements, the participants resolved to establish a platform that includes key stakeholders who are engaged and interested in activities and initiatives that promote Climate Smart Agriculture practices and technologies. The platform will act as a mechanism to share experiences and lessons to further the resilience of farmers and promote activities that limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Mak Management expresses readiness to work with 88th Students’ Guild
By Ritah Namisango
Officiating at the Swearing-in-Ceremony of the 88th Students’ Guild held on Monday 5th December 2022, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe called upon the student leaders to work with the University Management, Senate and Council to promote a favourable brand of Makerere University that is renowned for research, innovations and excellence.
“The University exists because of students. We cannot exist without you students. Our goal is to ensure that students are handled well. So, I request that the Students’ Guild works together with the University Management to make the University a better place. Let us work together to promote the best practices such as excellence and intellectual discourse,” he remarked.
In a speech read by the Ag. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the Vice Chancellor further urged the student leadership to uphold dialogue in issues of management and conflict resolution.
“Issues can be solved amicably by use of dialogue and solutions can be found without necessarily using force or strikes,” he said.
The Vice Chancellor congratulated H.E. Lawrence Alionzi, a student of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) upon his election as the 88th Guild President of Makerere University. In the same spirit, he expressed gratitude to the students who took the bold step to contest for leadership at the different levels, and congratulated each and every one who emerged a winner at the Cabinet level, Guild Representative Council, Hall Chairpersons and Senior Common Room, Representatives of College Guild Council among other categories.
Prof. Nawangwe hailed the Students’ Electoral Commission led by Mr. Edrine Nsobanyi for conducting peaceful, free and fair elections in a shortest time possible.
“I have been briefed by the Chairperson of the Students’ Electoral Commission and the Dean of Students, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli that during the physical elections, we would have between 5,000 and 6,000 participants, but this time, when we conducted elections virtually, over 10,000 students participated in the polls. I thank the team that managed the University e-voting system led by Mr. Samuel Mugabi, the Director of DICTS and Ms. Ruth Eteu from the Department of the Academic Registrar,” he said.
He reminded students to guard against unfortunate incidents such as the one that led to suspension of the earlier Guild elections, where a student of the Uganda Christian University lost his life while participating in Makerere University Guild campaigns.
Sharing lived examples as a student leader at various levels during his school days, Prof. Alinaitwe advised the student leaders to value their time, and the time of other people. He emphasized the need to respect time and rallied the student leaders to always keep time by starting meetings on time and meeting deadlines.
“Leaders should lead by example. I encourage you to always consult and value time management. I was a time keeper in primary and secondary school. Time management is very essential in delivery of services, and ensuring that meetings, activities, programmes and projects are executed well,” said Prof. Alinaitwe.
In his remarks, Mr. Nsobanyi appreciated the University Management for the support rendered to the Students’ Electoral Commission. “I thank the administration for restoring the students’ leadership. You have really supported activities of the elections including online elections which have been extremely peaceful, free, fair with no chaos,” he said.
Delivering his inaugural speech, the 88th Guild President H.E. Alionzi glorified God for the gift of life, studies and for his elevation to the position of Guild President. He saluted his parents, his uncle (Mr. Pariyo Albert), teachers, religious leaders and everyone who has significantly made a positive contribution to his life journey.
H.E. Alionzi appreciated the students for not only participating in the Guild elections, but also choosing him as their next leader. The Guild President expressed readiness to work with every student at Makerere University regardless of his or her political and religious affiliation.
“I was voted by the students. I believe in a Guild for the students, by the students. During the three months of the Guild Government, I will prioritise dialogue and intellectual discourse,” said H.E. Alionzi.
The Guild President is fully committed to working with the University Management to prioritise the renovation of Halls of Residence as well as proposals aimed at expanding teaching and learning facilities on campus.
While handing over the Office, the 87th Guild President of Makerere University, H.E. Shamim Nambassa congratulated the 88th Students’ Guild upon their election and appealed to them to be result oriented.
“In execution of your duties, please always remember the students who voted you into office. Prioritise the demands and interests of the students. Stand with Makerereans and remain accountable to them for the time you will spend in office,” she said.
Delivering the closing remarks, the Dean of Students, Mrs. Winifred Kabumbuli, informed the 88th Students’ Guild about an upcoming induction workshop organized by the Dean of Students where the Students’ Guild will interact/engage with key University officials and experts in different fields.
Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Makerere University light up Agago community
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 3rd December 2022, residents of Okudu-Teyaa Village, Adilang sub-county in Agago district, Northern Uganda, were thrown into a frenzy of excitement, when they received unusual visitors- Scholars and Staff of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, who had gone for the climax of this year’s Scholars Give Back by unveiling a two-class block they constructed for St. Catherine Nursery and Primary School.
Every year, Scholars of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University identify a community to support through giving back, in what is called the Scholars’ community day of service. This year, the Scholars identified St. Catherine Nursery and Primary School, a small community school, in Okudu-Teyaa Village, Adilang sub-county, Agago district in Northern Uganda, which lacked a proper classroom structure, instead the pupils were studying under tree shades and in a small grass thatched structure.
Through mobilization from amongst themselves and with support from the Program staff, and other partners such DFCU Bank, Kare hostel and Garden Courts hostel, Mentors and Alumni, Scholars were able to raise funds and constructed a two class block for St. Catherine Nursery and Primary School, to enable the young children study from a decent environment.
During the launch of the two classroom block, the local residents and local council officials of the area were visibly excited and humbled by the generosity of the Scholars, which had created an instant impact for the school and the area.
In his welcome remarks, the LC 1 Chairperson of the area, Mr. Robert Odong, thanked the Scholars, Makerere University and the Foundation for the spirit of giving back to the communities, especially the rural communities which lack a lot of infrastructure development.
“This class room block you have constructed for this school has given us a lot of hope that we are going to be able to educate many of our young children, who will even be able to reach even university level” Odong said.
Mr. Odong challenged the local community, especially the leaders to emulate Mastercard Foundation Scholars, and construct more class room blocks for the School, because one class room block was not enough.
“This class room block which these young people have constructed is key milestone and a good starting point for us, therefore as a community and especially the leaders, we need to emulate these Mastercard Foundation Scholars, and raise resources to construct more class room blocks for our school.” Mr. Odong remarked.
On her part, the Head teacher of the School, Ms. Betty Angom, thanked Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Makerere for having identified St. Catherine Nursery and Primary School, as the most deserving for this year’s give back beneficiary.
“We thank you Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Makerere for reaching deep down in your hearts and gave our children this classroom block, we very happy.” Ms. Angom said with tears of joy in her eyes.
Ms. Angom called upon the parents and the entire community to join hands and support the school, because it lacked a lot in terms of infrastructure in order to be able to offer a befitting learning environment for the young people. Ms. Angom went on to highlight a number of challenges the school faced, which required support from the government, the Catholic Church and well-wishers, if it is offer effective education to the young children.
The challenges she highlighted included; Lack of furniture, cooking utensils for children’s meals, Lack of water, Scholastic materials, staff quarters, more classroom blocks among many other challenges which required immediate attention.
The Guest of honour at the event, the LC 111 Chairperson of Adilang Sub-county, Mr. Okwir Muhammad, joined fellow residents and leaders to thank Mastercard Foundation Scholars for the support given to the school which he described as the cornerstone for the School and the area.
“As a community, we are very happy to see this new development in our area. You have turned our area into a very powerful one with this class block, I hope the community will take advantage and make good use of the class room block.” Mr. Okwir remarked.
Mr. Okwir pledged on behalf of the sub-county to support the school by mobilizing more resources from the district so that more class room blocks can be constructed for the School.
He thanked the community for donating the land on which the classroom block was constructed and also for contributing in making the bricks, he pointed out that if all communities could get the kind of partnership the Scholars forged with the community, Agago district and other areas in Uganda would be very far in terms of infrastructure development.
Speaking on behalf of the Scholars Community, the Scholars Council representative, Mr. Abubakar Batte, thanked the Scholars for the spirit of give back, which had enabled them to construct the class room block, which had brought smiles on the young pupils of St. Catherine, and the area residents.
“I thank my fellow Scholars for selecting this school as our area of give back this year, because it was well deserving. I am also delighted by the financial contributions you made together with PIT, Mentors, DFCU Bank, Kare Hostel, Garden Courts hostel, and the Alumni, which enabled us to deliver this classroom block for this community” Mr. Batte said.
Mr. Batte urged the community to join hands with Scholars and try to raise resources to finish up with the remaining work which included plastering the building and finishing up the construction of the Pit latrine for the School.
“I call upon the community especially the local council leaders to join hands with the Scholars in mobilizing more resources, so that we complete the remaining work, which included plastering the classroom block and also the construction of the Pit latrine for the School.” Mr. Batte urged.
Speaking on behalf of the Program Coordinator, Ms. Grace Sennoga, the Welfare and Support Services Officer on the Scholars Program, who is also the Coordinator of Scholars’ give back activities, joined the rest of the people in thanking the Scholars and all other partners who contributed generously to enable the construction of the class room block.
“As the Scholars Program staff, we are delighted by the generosity and thoughtfulness of the Scholars, and we proud of what the young people have been able to do for this community.” Ms. Sennoga said.
Ms. Sennoga further informed the gathering that Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University was designed to foster transformative leadership through equipping Scholars with the requisite knowledge and skills, which has helped them become change makers in their communities.
“This classroom block is a clear example of the impact Scholars were making in the community. I therefore call upon the community to emulate the Scholars and start giving back to other people in our areas as who less fortunate in one way or the other” Ms. Sennoga urged.
St. Catherine Nursery and Primary School, is a small community school, which was established in 2019 under the Catholic Church. The School currently has 120 children, most of whom where trekking long distances to go schools in far off places.
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