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HERS-EA Inaugural Academy Closes on Euphoric Note



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

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.

Ms. Naomi Lumutenga (R) makes her remarks flanked by Ag. Director Gender Mainstreaming Directorate-Ms. Frances Nyachwo

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.

R-L: VC-Elect Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Principal CHUSS-Prof. Edward Kirumira and HERS-EA Uk Coordinator-Ms. Naomi Lumutenga listen to proceedings at the closing ceremony

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.

DVCAA-Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang (R) addresses the audience as L-R: Mrs. Elizabeth Gabona, Prof. Mary Okwakol and Amb. Oliver Wonekha listen

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.

Facilitators and Participants at the HERS-EA Inaugural Academy Closing Ceremony

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 (C) is joined by Prof. Margaret Khaitsa and Prof. Mary Okwakol to cut the cake as Mrs. Elizabeth Gabona (2nd L) and R-L: Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Dr. Ruth Muwazi and Ms. Naomi Lumutenga cheer on

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!”

DVCAA-Dr. Ernest Okello Ogwang (R) shakes hands with a participant as L-R: Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Dr. Ruth Muwazi and Amb. Oliver Wonekha witness during the certificate award ceremony

Article by Public Relations Office

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors



URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.


  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at] and copy to wilber.naigambi[at] no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University



An older photo of the Main Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda as seen from across the Freedom Square. Date taken: 22nd October 2012.

7th June 2021

All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
Makerere University


Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.

During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.

Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council

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RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links



Delegates brainstorm during the 15th RUFORUM AGM held at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) in Ghana from 2-6 December, 2019. Photo credit: RUFORUM

Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.


  1. What is Community Engagement?  Video 1 of 3.
  2. Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3.
  3. Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3.

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