The Academics Day was one of the activities hosted by Makerere University on Wednesday, 22nd March 2017 to celebrate the Uganda-France Friendship Week 2017. The Academics Day was graced by H.E Stephanie Rivoal, France’s Ambassador to Uganda.
The Head, International Relations Office-Ms. Martha Muwanguzi welcomed the Ambassador, Panelists and Guests to the debate and highlighted the items for the day’s debate. The audience was composed of staff from the French Embassy in Kampala, Directors of French Companies in Uganda, Makerere staff and students, French men and women, the media and members of the general public.
In his remarks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-Assoc. Prof. Ernest Okello Ogwang welcomed H.E Stephanie Rivoal and expressed his appreciation for the cordial relationship between Uganda and France. “As a University, we are very grateful for the support extended to us in form of scholarships for PhD studies, staff exchanges and support to the teaching of the French Language, to mention but a few.”
“Today, we are gathered to discuss the role of the youth in media on one hand and politics on the other hand. This is an important conversation given that the youth are the future of our world. Their place in shaping the agenda of tomorrow is therefore central and should be guided and harnessed for the best outcome.”
Assoc. Prof. Okello Ogwang thanked the French Embassy for taking a special interest in knowledge transfer partnerships and networking, which is one of the core functions of Makerere University. He pledged the University’s commitment to furthering this and other mutually beneficial activities.
H.E Rivoal welcomed everyone who had honored her Embassy’s invitation. She then went on to introduce Mr. Mwambutsya Ndebesa to give the keynote address of the day.
In his address, Mr. Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a political historian from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) quoted Edmund Burke (1729-1797), “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”. He also quoted Frantz Fanon (1925-1961), “Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it”.
He emphasized that if anybody thinks s/he is a good person but does not do something to avert evil, then s/he is an accomplice in that evil. “So what is the mission of your generation as youth today? Have the today’s youths defined their mission? Are they ready to fulfill it by participating in public affairs?” questioned Mr. Ndebesa.
He noted that many youth seemingly participate in public affairs when in actual fact they are “participated”. He elaborated that “participated” is to engage in a public exercise whose agenda you do not know and where your engagement has no influence or is of no consequence and you therefore do not shape the future in a positive way. “Are youths of Uganda citizens or subjects? A citizen actively participates in shaping his destiny and that of his country or community. Are youths merely occupied in private affairs only or are they also actively engaged in public affairs? Youths should not be subjects.”
Mr. Ndebesa said that the Uganda-France Friendship should be informed by the core values established by their forefathers during the 1789 revolution summarized in their motto of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. “This is shared between France and Uganda. In Africa, our forefathers established a universal principle and humanity core value of “Ubuntu” which stands for humanity towards others. Therefore youths of France and Uganda should be informed by the two principles of Ubuntu and Fraternity which promote universal cooperation and good living in a shared sense of humanity.
“The media has a role to play in promoting values of fraternity and Ubuntu and shun ideas of nationalisms and fundamentalism. The media should promote politics of justice, tolerance and accommodation among peoples of different races, creeds, nationalities and tribes. The media should have editorial policies that identify, expose and discourage any forms of xenophobic, hate speech and tribal politics alike” shared Mr. Ndebesa.
He noted that the media sometimes abuses its power and promotes interests of politicians and their political parties. He stressed that the media in France and Uganda just like the youth should identify its mission to humanity, fulfill it or betray it. “This mission should be guided by the core values which should be promoted together with culture” concluded Mr. Ndebesa.
The first debate was on ‘Youth and Media’ with panelists from the French and Ugandan media. The CEO Vision Group-Mr. Robert Kabushenga said that the objective of the media is to be as neutral and sincere as possible, educate people and empower them with knowledge. The media in the Ugandan context has is in most cases however been accused of not being neutral and leaning towards a certain political ideology.
Mr. Samson Kasumba who moderated the debate then put the panelists to task as to whether the media was context specific or international? Ms. Rosebell Kagumire, a Ugandan journalist and blogger said the main role of the media is to inform and create a level ground that fosters discussion. “These days, the media has become too commercialized to allow a level ground. The one with more money gets more time to air his views and also use it to campaign. The media tends to give more coverage to the one who pays them to and deny others a chance of airing an opponents’ views and ideology.”
“There are cases where some radio and television stations were shut down or threatened with closure when they hosted prominent opposition politicians. In other words, neutrality in the media is not there. It was agreed and pointed out that, every country must invest money in a public media platform that can be used by all regardless of one’s ideology. This way, the media will be serving humanity instead of being used by narrow minded politicians” noted Ms. Kagumire.
She also stressed the need for media houses to facilitate their staff with the right equipment and other necessary tools. “Their personnel should have transport to reach different places and get first hand information and make responsible reporting to the public instead of hearsay which might tarnish peoples’ personalities,” she advised.
The Second session on ‘Youth and Politics’ featured two Ugandan and two French panelists. The Uganda panelists were Ms Isabella Akiteng-Director, Uganda Youth Network and Mr. Ivan Rugambwa. The Ugandans made a case for what is important to the Youth and what shapes their lives. They both shared that the youth are eager to see that they make a contribution to society and that the programs they put across are relevant to society. In the Ugandan context, Youth are those between 15 – 35 years although many above 35 and below 50 years also consider themselves as youth. These different categories make different contributions to society.
The first French panelist, Ms. Claire Sergent had a different view; freedom is more important for one to do as s/he pleases. The second French panelist Mr. Steve Coudray said that learning was more important to him and any obstacle to learning would destabilize his life and planning for his life. Youths should not just be used at the time of voting but should learn from older people how to engage in politics that benefits society. He believed that it is not only older people that can make successful leaders such as Presidents, “even the youths can spire for such positions provided they have the knowledge and can deliver services to the citizens.”
Mr. Coudray threw the audience into a bout of laughter when put to task by the moderator, Mr. Kasumba whether at 26 years, he could contest for the French Presidency in the next elections slated for July, and he replied in the affirmative. He defended his position by stating that it was not age but the ideas that he will bring forward that will convince people to elect him as their President.
Youth have to change and have a positive attitude towards life. First and foremost, they should acquire as much knowledge as possible. It is only an informed and knowledgeable person who can bring about change. Ms. Akiteng emphasized the importance of youths being knowledgeable and gave an example of the hundreds of child mothers in Teso area where she comes from. “They know nothing about reproductive health and how to prevent early pregnancies.”
Ms. Akiteng went on to say that if people are not informed, then they will have no knowledge. “Services have to be taken to the people and explain to the populace the importance of those services in a language they understand. Many of the ills we are facing today in our society is a failure of government implementing policies it puts in place and educating its citizens about their importance. Politics has become so commercialized to the disadvantage of the youths many of whom are unemployed and therefore hang around politicians who do not lobby for services to their constituencies but can pay the youths to campaign for them.”
Mr. Rugambwa on the other hand said, “Youth always follow old people and hang around old politicians because of what they learn from them and what they can get from them monetary-wise. It is difficult for youths to start new political parties when they are unemployed, so they use existing institutions (political parties). The older people construct ideologies which young people follow until when they mature and are able to take over from their mentors.”
All in all, the youth should get ready to participate in public affairs without expecting any returns. The youth, regardless of country or environment, should identify their mission, fulfill it or betray it. Instead of complaining about what the government has failed to do, the youth should get involved and play their role in serving humanity in the best way possible, guided by the core values of ‘Ubuntu’ and ‘Fraternity’.
Article by Martha Muwanguzi, International Relations Office
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