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MURBS Prepares Members for Retirement and Launches Biometric Registration

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“Financial planning leads to financial freedom. A financial plan is very important for every successful worker. Some of us work very hard, but we don’t find time to plan for the money we get. You have to plan for your money to ensure that you have a rest and peace of mind. You should not spend more than what you earn,” highlighted Mr. Joseph Njuguna, the Manager of Scheme Operations at Octagon Africa, a Pension Consultancy firm.

Mr. Njuguna emphasized the importance of a financial plan in the course of preparing for retirement during the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) Sensitization Seminar held on Tuesday 26th April 2016 at Makerere University.

“We all need to do something, save as much as you can in the pension scheme. To continue with the same standards of living before and after your retirement, you must plan now. After retirement, have a residential home and let other assets you have been working for work for you,” Mr. Njuguna emphasized.

Focusing on the theme, Members actively involved in securing their retirement, which was derived from the Board’s strategy to boost accountability and client focus, Members listened to insightful presentations focused on securing a proper retirement.

Some members of the MURBS Board, Middle-front is the Chairperson Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde, extreme right is Dr. John Kitayimbwa the Board Secretary.

During the Sensitization Seminar, participants were equipped with valuable knowledge and tips on financial planning, saving now for retirement, investment, the relevance of tracking expenditure, ensuring a proper diet as well as living a healthy life to avoid diseases that would affect them after their retirement. The Members were also enlightened on the MURBS Investment Policy Statement, the current Investment climate and its implication for the MURBS fund.

“I encourage members to undertake investments, most especially, in fixed assets like land, infrastructure, and equipment. These assets are not likely to be converted easily into cash. And their future economic benefit is probable to flow into the entity, whose cost can be measured reliably,” said Mr. Dennis Mugalya, who is an Investment Manager with PineBridge Investments E.A Ltd,  and, also, the Chairman of the Investment Management Association of Uganda.

Focusing on the investment climate, Mr. Mugalya revealed that where one invests his/her money, will determine the amount of return to be yielded. He advised members to consider equity investment. This involves buying and holding shares of stock on a stock market in anticipation of income from dividends and capital gains, as the value of the stock rises. He also encouraged members to invest in treasury bills and bonds.

 “Investment always comes with risks, including the interest rate. In investment, we have a number of risks. The more risk you take, the more return you expect. Risk is not losing your money, but it is because your return is volatile,” said Mr. Mugalya.

Dr. Paul Kasenene, a qualified Medical Doctor, Nutrition Educator, and a Member of the Technical Working Group of Non Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health and Managing Director of Wellcare Health & Wellness Clinic Kampala sensitised members on how to live healthy and prevent diseases that would affect them before and after their retirement.

“To enjoy any aspect of your life, you have to be alive and healthy. Despite more access to information and more advances in research and technology, people are actually getting unhealthier than before,” said Dr. Kasenene.Dr. Paul Kasenene

Dr. Kasenene mentioned that a person’s health is determined by the choices they make every day. “What we do daily either helps us to fight or feed the diseases. Some of us may already have health problems, but the good news is that most of those problems can be slowed, reversed or even stopped. No matter what kind of life you have lived, ill-health is reversible. The solution lies not with doctors, but with you making the right choices in your life,” he said.

He discouraged the habit of going for medical checkups only when people feel sick. He informed participants that such habits have complicated treating diseases like cancer which have no immediate signs and symptoms. He urged members to frequently go for medical tests, eat health diets, take plenty of water and do physical exercises. He appealed to participants to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. He advised members to focus on the cause of the problem in order to avoid it, than treating the problem or its symptoms.

During the Seminar, the Chairperson of MURBS, Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde, launched a web-based Member Biometric Registration System that will be used to register Scheme members in real time. This was aimed at further streamlining the benefits administration process and improve client self service. . The system will biometrically recognise and verify registered members and avail them with information through the Scheme servers. The members will be able to access information about their benefits from anywhere electronically.

A team of developers from Zedek Pro demonstrated the working mechanism of the Member Biometric Registration System and how the registration can be done in real time. According to the Principal Pension Officer, Ms. Susan Khaitsa, “the pilot registration is planned to commence in May 2016 and, in order to speed up the registration process, Members will be required to pre-fill two forms, that is, the Registration Form 0516A and the Dependants and Nominees (Beneficiary) Form 0516B. The forms will be circulated to Members online.”(The forms can be accessed from the links below)

The Secretary, Board of Trustees, Dr. John Kitayimbwa, shared key updates on the progress of the Scheme since last year. “One of the key updates I should bring to your notice is that, the agreements we had with the Service Providers were expiring in November last year [2015]. We extended their contracts to 31st January 2016 so that we comprehensively review the performance and our agreements with them,” he said.

Dr. Kitayimbwa introduced the new Scheme Service Providers to the Members. Stanbic Bank was appointed the new Scheme Custodian, whose role is to receive and keep in safe hands the funds, title deeds, securities and income accruing to the Scheme; PineBridge Investments Ltd retained its role of Fund Manager and GenAfrica Asset Managers Ltd was appointed Fund Manager – the two investors assist the Board of Trustees to make a prudent investment policy, invest the fund subject to the investment policy of the Scheme and manage the Scheme funds; Octagon Uganda Ltd, a Pension Consultancy firm, was appointed as the Scheme Administrator to handle mainly the Accounting and Benefits Administration.

Some of the members of MURBS who attended the training in Main Hall.

MURBS was established by Makerere University Council under an irrevocable trust to provide pensions and other benefits for University employees who are admitted to membership under the provision of the Trust Deed and Scheme Rules. On 23rd April 2010, Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme was registered as a corporate body under the Trustees Incorporation Act, CAP 165, under certificate T. 37561, C.I. NO.670.  Following the establishment of the Uganda Retirement Benefits and Regulatory Authority (URBRA) Act of 2011, MURBS was licensed as a Retirement Benefits Scheme under the new Act and holds license number RBS 0005

MURBS is a Defined Contribution Scheme where both the employees and the employer contribute a percentage of the employees’ monthly salary.

To be entitled to join this Scheme, an individual must be aged at least 18 years but not more than 50 years old and should be appointed under permanent terms of service at Makerere University. All persons who were in University Service by 31st March 2009 were deemed to have joined the Scheme. Persons who were appointed in University service after 31st March 2009 and to-date are enrolled into the Scheme through the due procedures.

Article and Photos by: 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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