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MURBS Lauded for Initiating Charter and Ambassadors Programme



The Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) has been lauded by the regulator; Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority (URBRA) for coming up with the Customer Service Charter and Departmental Ambassadors Programme. The two initiatives were launched by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe at a well-attended ceremony held on 27th February 2018 in the Tele-presence Centre, Senate Building, Makerere University.

Speaking as Chief Guest at the launch, Prof. Nawangwe thanked the MURBS Board of Trustees for the invitation and great job done so far in managing and growing Members’ savings. He noted that the Departmental Ambassadors Programme was a great initiative in building a solid governance structure for MURBS and the Customer Service Charter was another feather in the cap of an already great performance in as far as reaching out to Members of the scheme was concerned.

“I have already heard of standards that the MURBS Board of Trustees has set in as far as paying Members benefits upon retirement in a record 5 days! I pray that you will continue to uphold this record, which Makerere as the sponsor is keen to emulate,” pronounced the Vice Chancellor amidst bouts of thunderous applause and laughter from the audience.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe makes his remarks at the launch of the MURBS Ambassadors Programme and Customer Service Charter Launch

Prof. Nawangwe however reassured his audience that the University Management was working hard to change the situation of delayed payment of retiree benefits. “I would like to thank the Government for the renewed responsiveness in as far as settling all outstanding arrears with Makerere University is concerned. We are hopeful that the situation is going to improve even further so that people who have diligently served this University for decades can receive their benefits on time.”

He challenged the audience to ponder on the fact that whereas the University’s annual wage bill is approximately UGX130billion, the MURBS fund value is about to hit the UGX120billion mark. This, he noted, should set off a light bulb on our collective potential as university employees to come up with a powerful financial institution, should we choose to save percentages of our earnings way above the mandatory monthly obligations.

The Vice Chancellor also expressed optimism that the MURBS fund value would soon hit the UGX150billion mark, especially as the remuneration for staff continues to improve. He concluded his remarks by congratulating all Departmental Ambassadors upon their nomination and declared the MURBS Customer Service Charter and Departmental Ambassadors Programme duly launched.

Ag. CEO URBRA, Mr. Martin Nsubuga made the Regulator's remarks

In any industry where high standards of compliance are a minimum requirement, it is a rare occurrence for the regulator to publicly commend one of the players. However, there is an exception to this rule for a highly complaint scheme such as MURBS. Speaking on behalf of URBRA the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Martin Nsubuga noted that MURBS is one of the players that the Authority takes great pride in.

“MURBS has upheld all the good principles of governance required of schemes in the retirement benefits sector. They have also always sent participants to the trainings organised by the Authority and their audited financial accounts for the year 2017 were excellent” said Mr. Nsubuga.

Mr. Nsubuga then thanked the University Management through the Vice Chancellor for complying with the requirement to submit outstanding arrears owed to the scheme, which resulted in the recovery of UGX7.5billion by MURBS. He also commended MURBS for launching the Departmental Ambassadors Programme, noting that this would go a long way in grooming future Trustees for the tasks ahead.

Chairperson MASA, Mr. Vincent Abigaba spoke on behalf of Association heads

“Anybody who would have served as a Trustee will have a great addition to their CV due to the rigorous training that they must undergo prior to being confirmed and during their service as members of the Board. We believe that the launch of this programme will not only enhance the performance of MURBS but will also be emulated by other players in the sector,” concluded Mr. Nsubuga.

Some of the constituencies that make up the MURBS Board of Trustees are the staff associations namely; Makerere University Academic Staff Association (MUASA), Makerere University Administrative Staff Association (MASA) and the National Union of Education Institutions (NUEI). Speaking on behalf of his fellow leaders, the Chairperson MASA, Mr. Vincent Abigaba commended MURBS for the great services offered to the staff of Makerere University.

“The launch of the Departmental Ambassadors Programme is an indicator that you are practicing good corporate governance. I have no doubt that you will deliver to the expectations of the members. I thank you for engaging us and inviting members to participate in the management of MURBS activities,” said Mr. Abigaba.

Mr. Stephen Kaboyo gave the keynote at the launch

To the ordinary man, the world of Capital Markets and its myriad of associated jargon can be quite a puzzle. It was therefore only befitting that at this double launch, a professional with a wealth of experience in the field and an eye on the state of the national and regional market be invited to give a keynote address. Enter in Mr. Stephen Kaboyo, Managing Director, Alpha Capital Partners.

A trained professional with a wealth of experience spanning over 20 years in Financial Markets, Mr. Kaboyo kicked off his keynote address by congratulating MURBS for pursuing a professional approach to financial reporting and governance. He admitted that retirement benefits; although an interesting topic and venture, was very complicated to understand and had its fair share of jargon.

He however challenged the Members to hold their Trustees accountable by seeking explanations for any matter they didn’t understand. “You pay the Trustees so call them up and ask them questions pertaining to your retirement benefits. It is important that you understand how your benefits are managed. You have to understand your role as a member and that of all the service providers involved” said Mr. Kaboyo, before adding “knowing how your investments perform is critical to understanding the risks involved in managing your benefits and how much you take home at the end of the day.”

Dr. John Kitayimbwa gave an overview of the MURBS Customer Service Charter and Departmental Ambassadors Programme

Mr. Kaboyo urged the members to always attend MURBS meetings and seek to understand the scheme from the basics. He however noted the need to introduce a comprehensive financial wellness programme that holistically looks at how to set financial goals, carry out financial planning and a host of other activities that can inform retirement benefits education.

With regard to the market trends, Mr. Kaboyo begrudgingly noted that the Ugandan capital markets were neither deep nor well developed. He observed that the Government Bond market offered the best options and there were no corporate bond markets worth talking about. Additionally, the capital markets have not registered any new listing in the last seven years.

He therefore advised the scheme managers to adopt diversification as an approach to investment and avoid concentrated investment in one portfolio. “I urge you to shift from fixed income portfolio and look at things like real estate. With regard to geographical diversification, I urge URBRA through Mr. Nsubuga to provide MURBS and other players in the market with the regulatory guidance to invest in diverse geographical locations” added Mr. Kaboyo.

 Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi thanked the audience for taking time off to attend the launch

Treading lightly lest he threw a spanner in the works of service providers, Mr. Kaboyo touched on the need to consider in-house management versus external management of scheme assets. “I encourage Trustees to look beyond the return on investment to the return on cost. Consider retaining some activities under in-house management if the return on cost is high. However, I must warn that this approach calls for the recruitment and retention of a robust in-house investment team,” he advised.

Mr. Kaboyo concluded his keynote by urging MURBS management to continue upholding good governance practices such as openness and transparency. “A strong governance structure is key to managing conflict of interest, which will always creep up on you at the least expected time.”

The Secretary to the Board of Trustees-Dr. John Kitayimbwa in moving a vote of thanks praised Mr. Kaboyo for agreeing to deliver the keynote. He also expressed appreciation for the advice and tips freely dispensed during the delivery of the keynote. He acknowledged the need to incorporate an investment chart in the next financial report, which will help members understand the flow of their savings right from deduction to investment. “We shall also share the MURBS real estate property model with members at the next opportune time,” he added.

MURBS Lawyer-Mr. Sylvester Wambuga (L) guided the Departmental Ambassadors on the taking of oaths

Reacting to some of the responses from the audience, Dr. Kitayimbwa noted that the Departmental Ambassadors had their work cut out in as far as taking MURBS services closer to their units. Whereas the Trustee deed specifies that anyone above 50 years is ineligible to join the scheme, there exists a niche of potential members who upon hitting 55years are eligible to receive their retirement benefits from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) but are ineligible to save with MURBS until their retirement at 60years. Dr. Kityimbwa therefore tasked the Departmental Ambassadors to seek their constituents’ opinions on this matter as their first assignment.  

Giving the closing remarks at the launch, Chairperson, Board of Trustees, Mr. Wilber Grace Naigambi thanked all present for taking time to attend the event. Earlier he had shared that MURBS Departmental Ambassadors are members who will volunteer to endorse and promote MURBS’ values, beliefs and mission at the University Departmental levels.

“The scheme growth and sustainability of MURBS benefits all of us. Let us therefore work together to strengthen the governance and management of MURBS” concluded Mr. Naigambi.

Former Chairperson MURBS BoT-Hajati Fatumah Nakatudde contributed to the open discussion

Article by Public Relations Office

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Rotary International President visits Mak



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



The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal



The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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