The curtains came down on the Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA)’s Inaugural Academy on Friday 7th July 2017 at a colourful ceremony held at the Grand Global Hotel, Makerere. The few minutes prior to the start of closing ceremony painted a brief picture of what HERS-EA is all about; an army of volunteers, participants and facilitators joining in to redecorate the room, all under the careful watch of HERS-EA’s Chair-Dr. Ruth Muwazi and UK Coordinator-Ms. Naomi Lumutenga, as well as Acting Director Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD)-Ms. Frances Nyachwo.
Right there was a live example of leadership and mentorship as the mostly younger ladies and few gentlemen got the room ready, at their seniors’ bidding. A few rooms away, HERS-EA Co-founders Prof. Margaret Khaitsa and Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill could be seen quietly engaging Amb. Oliver Wonekha, perhaps sharing strategies on future collaborations. H.E. Oliver Wonekha; Uganda’s Ambassador to the USA in transit to Rwanda, would later be joined at the event high table by the Vice Chair, Education Services Commission-Mrs. Elizabeth Gabona, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang and Vice Chancellor, Busitema University-Prof. Mary Okwakol. The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) & Vice Chancellor-Elect – Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)-Prof. Edward Kirumira completed the list of leaders in attendance at the closing ceremony.
Addressing the gathering, HERS-EA Chair-Dr. Ruth Muwazi thanked all invited guests for gracing the occasion as well as the conference sponsors for ensuring that the event was a success. “We thank the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) who sponsored a number of non-Ugandan participants to attend the workshop, and Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies under the Sida Project sub-programme and Principal Investigator, Dr. Consolanta Kabonesa who sponsored 10 participants.
“Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate headed by Ms Frances Nyachwo also sponsored 10 participants, and provided office space for the HERS-EA Secretariat, Makerere University Central Administration sponsored 10 participants and Sida (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) sponsored 10 participants” acknowledged Dr. Muwazi. HERS-EA UK Coordinator-Ms. Naomi Lumutenga continued with the acknowledgements by singling out Champions such as Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, who ensured that the HERS-EA Secretariat secured office space, and was always on hand to advise the leadership. She also thanked the Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security-Prof. John David Kabasa for believing in HERS-EA’s vision right from the start, and Prof. Edward Kirumira who when approached appointed a liaison person for HERS-EA at CHUSS.
To the participants, Ms. Lumutenga commended the parable of talents (Matthew 25:14-30) saying, “I hope that we have helped you to dig into yourselves, discover your talents and hopefully use them, or else lose them. If you don’t develop it and you lose it and society will miss out on your unique contribution” she counseled.
She challenged participants to embrace the power of networking and mentoring, announcing that she had received offers by four ladies; all experts in their field, who are willing to edit participants’ publications and get them going on the path to excellent publication with leading journals. “Keep in touch with each other, share your stories to encourage other women and I hope that you have taken something out of this workshop to impact your life” concluded Ms. Lumutenga.
The Inaugural Academy drew participants from six countries namely; Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and the host country Uganda. Expressing his delight to the leadership for their kind acknowledgement of his contribution, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe heartily congratulated HERS-EA upon not only pulling off their Inaugural Academy but also drawing participants from each of the six countries.
“I am glad that I facilitated you to achieve this success and I thank the pioneers, particularly the Ugandans based in the US for not forgetting their homeland. I also thank colleagues in Makerere such as Dr. Ruth Muwazi, Dr. Consolata Kabonesa, Ms. Frances Nyachwo and many others for collaborating with them to make HERS-EA a success” remarked Prof. Nawangwe.
Prof. Mary Okwakol is a lady of many firsts dotted across her long and successful career. Addressing the audience at the closing ceremony, she shared being the first female Vice Chancellor of a public University and first Vice Chancellor of Busitema University as some of the examples. In her brief remarks, the 2007 Graduate of HERS-South Africa showed that it was indeed possible to balance family and career.
“I got married soon after my first degree and this year, we mark 43 years in marriage” said Prof. Okwakol amidst prolonged applause and cheers from the audience. “I thank God for a stable family and a steady career. I have successfully raised three professional children; an Accountant, a Medical Doctor and a Lawyer and we have five grand children so far” she added.
Prof. Okwakol shared that her journey from a Graduate Assistant at Makerere University to the first female Vice Chancellor in Uganda should encourage young ladies that it is possible raise a family and build a successful career. She noted that HERS was at the bottom of her heart and expressed happiness that the link she had initiated between HERS-EA and IUCEA had produced results in form of sponsorship.
Speaking on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu, the first deputy Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ernest Okello Ogwang thanked the HERS-EA Visionaries for reminding Makerere University Management of their responsibility to promote women leaders in Higher Education. “We thank the Facilitators who have so willingly given of their time to support this cause and we hope that you will not tire of giving back. We hope that those who have benefitted will always remember you for the difference you have made in their professional and personal lives” remarked Dr. Okello Ogwang.
He further noted that the beneficiaries’ gratitude to the organisers, supporters, facilitators and funders of the Inaugural academy would be best demonstrated through their proactive efforts to develop their respective institutions. He urged them to be supportive of other women and to always lead by example.
The HERS-EA Inaugural Academy beneficiaries were never short of examples of women who had successfully balanced family and career. Imagine starting out as a secondary school teacher and growing through the ranks to become the second-in-command at the Nation’s Education Sector Recruitment Agency… That is Mrs. Elizabeth Gabona’s testimony, currently serving as Vice Chair, Education Services Commission, after a career spent serving the education sector, including 37 years of stable marriage.
“I was present on that day, 5th August 2014 when we launched HERS-EA at Imperial Royale Hotel and it makes me very happy to come back today and witness the fruits of that launch. I congratulate the HERS-EA founders for their vision, voice and commitment to uplifting women and remembering to give back to their home, country and region” remarked Mrs. Gabona.
She noted that HERS-EA had demonstrated that its model was an excellent tool to move the East African Community (EAC) integration agenda forward, adding that women are the best change agents. She noted that self esteem was still a major obstacle for so many women and the best way to build it was right from the grassroots level. “Let us light our own sky for if we don’t, no one will do it” added Mrs. Gabona.
Allies are vital assets to the advancement of any cause or development agenda. HERS-EA has so far done a commendable job by securing female leaders from her consortium of partners to motivate female early career professionals. Nevertheless, Prof. Edward Kirumira in his remarks urged HERS-EA to step beyond the mentorship in female dominion and bring some males on board.
“My approach is based on the three prongs of Networking, Mentorship and Collaboration. In terms of networking, I urge all participants to look at the content of your academy material, pay attention to the people around you, and follow them up after this workshop and network with them” urged Prof. Kirumira.
With regard to Mentorship, Prof. Kirumira opined that the only way that HERS-EA would know that they had achieved their objective through registering an increased number of male mentors to the aspiring female professionals. On the Collaboration front, Prof. Kirumira shared that CHUSS by virtue of its over 10,000 student population and 293 Faculty Members presented a good starting point. “Let us sit down together and write these grant proposals. The funds are out there, let us go out and get them” he concluded.
Amb. Oliver Wonekha is a proud alumna, having secured both her BSc (Botany & Zoology) and Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Makerere University. Crowning the day’s speeches, Amb. Wonekha congratulated the founders upon not joining the crop of complaining Ugandans in the Diaspora but working hard to link the US to Uganda, “and to all of you here at home, the supporters, donors, universities, thank you for welcoming and being part of making this innovative idea a reality” she added.
Re-echoing Prof. Kirumira’s input on the need to include men in their networking, Amb. Wonekha urged the ladies to use the male leaders that already understood their cause to reach out to others. “Look out for these men because otherwise we are talking to ourselves. So let’s talk nicely to them, especially the Professors who are seated right here and the men in this room,” rallied the Ambassador, before adding “we start here and we build on that.”
The ambassador concluded her remarks on a note that resonated with the day’s theme; Advancing Women in Leadership: Empowered Women Empower Women. “I also did some balancing. I am a single parent with three daughters; One is working with the UN in Vienna, the second one is with Apple in the US and the third is a lawyer right here in Uganda, so you too can make it!”
Article by Public 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