The Head of Operation Wealth Creation, General Salim Saleh on 31st December 2015 officially launched MV Mulimi, the multipurpose tractor developed by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, with a challenge that the institution should endeavour to produce even more.
During the launch held at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute at Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Gen. Saleh said Makerere had proved that it could resolve the farmers’ problems with practical solutions.
“I am pleased that Makerere is moving to solve these problems, which tie up the farmers in poverty. We hope that the MV Mulimi will resolve their problems, and therefore demand that several more similar vehicles are produced,” he said.
He pledged to hold talks with Makerere University on the feasibility of ordering 20 units of MV Mulimi for field demonstration purposes. Gen. Saleh also indicated that there were other opportunities to be derived from this innovation.
“His Excellency, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has pledged to increase the budget for agriculture to over 1 trillion, but there is a concern about the absorption capacity of that money at the grassroots. I hope that research centres like Makerere University and others will be able to join in and help us absorb this new capacity,” he said.
The MV Mulimi was developed by a team from CAES, consisting of Prof. Noble Banadda (the Principal Investigator), Prof. John Lumkes (Purdue University), Dr. Ahamada Zziwa, Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu of Makerere as well as Mr. Tyler Anselm (Purdue University), Mr. Ernest Tibaku-Zira, Mr. Samuel Mutesasira and Mr. Denis Nsubuga. Other than Prof. Lumkes and Mr. Anselm, the rest of the team members are from Makerere University.
The idea to develop a low cost multipurpose vehicle suitable for African conditions arose out of a 2013 trip by Prof. Noble Banadda to three Universities in the US, sponsored by the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering. Prof. Banadda’s trip was aimed at exploring opportunities of collaboration between CAES and Purdue University, University of Georgia and Iowa State University.
In June 2015, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences challenged Prof. Banadda and a team of researchers to develop such a vehicle. The design and development of MV Mulimi took place at MUARIK under the sponsorship of the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology, from September 1, 2015 for a period of six weeks.
Commenting on the vehicle’s abilities, Prof Banadda explained that the vehicle was able to thresh maize, pump water from a depth of 7 metres to a height of 33m, plough gardens, transport 20 adults and their goods over a reasonable distance, as well as charge a mobile phone.
According to Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu, the vehicle’s design is the ultimate value addition, as it attempts to solve farmers’ problems at the source. This follows a demonstrated need for low cost technologies in farm field and postharvest handling operations.
“The MV Mulimi cost UGX 30million to develop and its optimal cost; including all the elements required to carry out the tasks, would be about UGX 19million on the open market, once it is in production,” he said.
The Dean, School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio Engineering, Prof John Muyonga, commended the team on a job well done. “The project was designed to add value to agricultural produce. Our research has shown that farm operations like threshing, pumping water and aspects of tilling, which remain a major challenge for farmers, can be resolved at a low cost” he said, further adding “I am pleased that they were able to accomplish this task in a short time.”
Prof. Muyonga equally thanked Prof. William Kyamuhangire, the Manager of the Makerere University Food Technology and Business Incubation Centre for championing the cause of adding value to agricultural products.
The Deputy Principal of CAES, Dr. Goretti Nabanoga expressed her pleasure at the latest development. “I am happy that Makerere is participating as the lead researcher in addressing the challenges faced by farmers at the grassroots. This project will link us directly to the farmers,” she said.
“The MV Mulimi is made from locally available materials, which indicates that the product can be easily maintained in Uganda, since its spares are easily accessible.”
She challenged the researchers to continually improve the product by designing a shelter on top of the vehicle to shield occupants from weather elements such as rain or sunshine, and was optimistic that the vehicle’s design would evolve even further in 2016.
“As Gen Salim Saleh once said, the biggest problem facing farmers is not the lack of funding but the availability of logistics. I am positive that in 2016 we will improve this tool further.”
Speaking on behalf of the Private Sector, the Director of Peacock Paints, Kaddu Kiberu, commended Makerere University for developing the MV Mulimi, soon after the Kiira EV, was developed by the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT).
“I am happy to see what is happening at Makerere. Let us hope that this innovation will not be allowed to fail. Please be prepared for the criticism so that you can improve the product even further,” he said.
He shared that the private sector was willing to come in and help develop MV Mulimi. “I don’t expect all the parts of the MV Mulimi to come from Makerere. Instead you should partner with others to supply the parts and your job should be to design the final product,” he added.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof John Ddumba-Ssentamu said the MV Mulimi had arrived at the right time.
“It is my informed opinion that mechanized farming is a step in the right direction for this country and we as Makerere University are proud to contribute towards this… As Makerere University, we have demonstrated that with seed financing, we can come up with practical innovations that solve real world challenges. I look forward to seeing more units rolled out to our farmers.”
The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Zhao Yali also commended the team for producing the multipurpose vehicle for use in agriculture. He urged Makerere to consider working with China to improve the product further.
“I encourage Makerere to cooperate with some of the Chinese firms, which are already here in Uganda and are involved in developing and marketing agricultural implements and vehicles. The Vice Chancellor together with his team has a big role to play here,” he said.
He revealed that the Chinese Government would be providing US$60bn to Africa under the Sino-Africa cooperation from 2016 to 2018, for among other uses, developing agriculture in Africa.
“I strongly urge Uganda to take advantage of this. I feel that agricultural development should be at the forefront of this cooperation with China,” he concluded.
In the true spirit of friendship and brotherhood from China, the Ambassador presented a New Year (2016) gift comprising two (2) tractors to Makerere University to support farming and practical sessions at MUARIK.
The Director MUARIK, Associate Professor Phinehas Tukamuhabwa said the MV Mulimi is a great achievement for MUARIK and CAES, as it practically addresses issues of agriculture and the environment. He congratulated Prof. Noble Banadda and the team of researchers for the innovation that will contribute to the transformation of agriculture in Uganda.
Article by: Ritah Namisango, Mak Public Relations Office
Photos by: Landmark Media Consultancy Ltd
Rotary International President visits Mak
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.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
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