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Mak Students Receive USD 90,000 from Saudi Arabia

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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.

 Dr. Edith Natukunda, Head- Department of European and Oriental LanguagesAs 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.From left, the Ambassador H.E Dr. Jamal Rafah, Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang, Prof. Abasi Kiyimba and Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

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.

Ambassador of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, H.E Dr. Jamal Rafah.“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.Makerere University Academic Staff Association Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu giving a vote of thanks on behalf of  Makerere University Community.

“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.

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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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