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Mak Administrative Secretaries equipped with skills and knowledge

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Over 40 Administrative Secretaries serving in the different Units of the University were equipped with valuable knowledge and skills on coping with the demanding nature and ever changing trends in the field of work.

During the Induction Workshop held on 5th and 6th April 2017 at School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering Conference Hall, participants received training focusing on the changing role of an Administrative Secretary. The participants gained multiple skills in multi-tasking and prioritization; effective communication; professional ethics; dealing with multiple bosses, difficult personalities and conditions; customer care services; records keeping and management and time management.

The participants listened to presentations on how to effectively work with others/teamwork, personal development, practical problem solving, conflict resolution, decision making as well as managing pressure and stress.Dr. Wilberforce Turyasingura presenting on  the topic of Team Building and Management,

Opening the workshop, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration), Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe emphasized the vital role played by Secretaries in the realization of the University Vision, Mission and Strategic Objectives. He thanked the Directorate of Human Resources for organizing the workshop and urged the Directorate to organize more of that kind for all categories of staff in the University.

According to the Director, Mrs. Mary K. Tizikara, the two days workshop focused on providing important information that would help Administrative Secretaries to align their duties and roles with the institution’s values and behavior. Mrs. Tizikara mentioned. She thanked Makerere University Appointments Board for the support rendered in the organization of the workshop.Ms Naome Namuganga Namulasa contributes to one of the sessions.

Addressing the participants, Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha a Member of Makerere University Appointments Board who represented the Chairperson-Mr. Bruce B. Kabaasa said the induction workshop was the beginning of the holistic process of enhancing professionalism.

“I have listened to the participants and I am happy that this workshop has served the purpose. I encourage everyone to put into practice what you have learned. Let us try to socialize and work with everybody because you are at a work place. Avoid conflicts at work. Always remain conscious regarding your personal credibility. Credibility comes with experience and the professionalism you have on the job,” Dr. Baine Mugisha said.

Dr. Baine Mugisha, the representative of Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA) in Council as well as the Appointments Board used the same occasion to appeal to Administrative Secretaries to join MASA.Mr. Henry Akra presenting about records keeping and management.

In a captivating presentation titled, Dealing with Multiple Bosses, Ms Irene Tino from Uganda Management Institute informed the participants to always remember that there is no bad boss, but one could have a difficult boss. During the discussion, Ms. Tino said that Secretaries should learn how to manage, handle and balance the demands of multiple bosses. An Administrative Secretary with multiple bosses should manage time and prioritise tasks as well as sharing the list of tasks/assignments he/she is working on with the multiple bosses so as to understand his/her workload.

Focusing on Dealing with Pressure and Stress, Mrs. Tizikara said: “Pressure is something that drives you if it is not too much. If pressure is elevated and there is no time for recovery, then stress is felt. Long hours of work can affect your motivation and concentration. Once in a while, pressure is good since it can help one meet a few challenges and keeps the individual on track. Lack of pressure may lead to boredom since the job may become a routine.”

Presenting on Team Building and Management, Dr. Wilberforce Turyasingura, Dean-School of Business and Management at Uganda Management Institute said that the greatest outcomes are achieved as a result of teamwork. He said that with teamwork, individuals work together to accomplish more than what they could have done as individuals, but in an exciting, liberating, satisfying and enjoyable way. He mentioned that to build an effective team, the right people should be selected.Ms Olive Mbabazi, one of the new appointees sharing her learning experience at the closure of the workshop.

“Team building process involves gathering the right people and getting them to work interdependently to achieve high performance levels. If members share a common purpose and recognize that they need the efforts of everyone in the team, then it is teamwork. Working as a team comes with many benefits including: generating new ideas; providing support and help to team members; giving people a sense of belonging; helping them to learn from each other and develop, helping to achieve goals and objectives, experience and responsibility sharing, synergy development and common commitment to goals,” Dr. Turyasingura said.

He also highlighted the seven (7) steps involved in building an effective and cohesive team. These include; clarifying the team’s common goals and purposes, clarifying each person’s role in achieving the common purpose, clarifying the needs of the team’s internal and external clients, allowing conflicts to come to surface instead of stifling, working out effective ways to resolve conflicts based on the needs of the specific teams, not allowing individual interests to override those of the team and celebrating the milestones and success of the team.Ms Joyce Nalwanga(R) receiving a certificate from Dr. Euzobia Baine Mugisha (L)

Briefing participants on Customer Care and Customer Service, Mr. Ben Mugerwa from Uganda Management Institute explained that good customer service is taking that extra step to help even without being asked. It’s all about attitude and skills. He urged the participants to always communicate with professionalism, be organized, understand their role in the team and be a team player.

 “The level of customer service that a customer expects will depend upon the past experiences and the type of organization they are dealing with. In the public sector, it has been difficult to implement a customer service type in organizations that are typically very process-oriented and usually in non-competitive situation!” Mr. Mugerwa stated.

He said that when the customer care is good, there will be increased satisfaction and increased use of services by the customers since the satisfied customers will tell their fellows. He added that for exceptional customer care; the staff must be professional and knowledgeable, friendly and courteous even when under pressure. He advised the Administrative Secretaries to be helpful, listen to customers, take responsibility and respond promptly to enquiries and problems.

Tipping the participants on Records Keeping and Management, Mr. Henry Akra-Uganda Management Institute informed them that record keeping is a routine activity taken in handling records while record management is the effort taken to handle records. He said that the record content, context and structure should be in order to serve as evidence, should be kept complete and every employee is responsible for managing records.

“When records are created, they have values attached to them; some are short term administrative values while others are long term physical values. Therefore, these values should be known and the retention schedule should be understood, whether to be deleted or retained.” Mr. Akra concluded.Participants pose for a group photo at the end of the workshop.

In a one-on-one interaction with the Mak Public Relations Office team, the participants appreciated the knowledge and skills acquired. Most of them were fascinated by the general slogan "There is no bad boss, but you can meet a difficult boss." They were inspired with the experiences shared on managing a difficult boss.

Delivering the closing remarks, the Director Human Resources, Mrs. Tizikara thanked the staff in the Training and Development Division for organizing the workshop. She equally applauded the team in the Directorate of Human Resources for facilitating the different sessions of the workshop. The facilitators included: Mrs Dorothy Senoga Zake; Mr. Richard Mugisha; Mr. Lawrence Ssanyu; Ms Marvis Kansiime; Mr. Joseph Kalema; and Ms Josephine Apolot Opolot.

The training climaxed with award of certificates and a group photo.

Written 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.