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Social media: the modern trend of building and championing institutional brands in higher education



On 26th February 2018, the Directorate of ICT Support (DICTS) at Makerere University organised a Social Media for Higher Education Workshop to sensitize staff and students on how they can utilise social media and other digital media platforms to champion the institution’s brand amongst its stakeholders around the world.
Officially opened by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who was represented by the Director of DICTS Eng. Kitumba Frank, the workshop also focused on discussing the important ways of how Makerere University, can embrace the professional usage of social media tools to improve its online brand as well as harmonising social media as a learning tool.

During the interactive sessions, experts in social media management, communication, Public relations, digital marketing and digital PR and ICT intelligences from both government institutions and private sector, the researchers in academia shared ideas on how the staff and student can exploit their personal social media platforms to promote, protect and market Makerere University as a brand with the aim of increasing its visibility.
In a speech read by Eng. Kitumba, The Vice Chancellor appreciated the move by the Directorate of ICT Support (DICTS) to sensitize the University community on proper representation of Makerere University as a brand online. He urged staff and students to own the University reputation and promote its work in research, innovations and other developments wherever they are.
“Social media is increasingly becoming a key online marketing tool for institutions the world over, therefore we need to ensure that Makerere University is very vibrant on social media as we embark on the move to unlock its potential,” he said.

Eng. Kitumba Frank,, the Director of DICTS emphases the need for Makerere University to harmonise the existing online platform and ICT tools together with social media platforms
Social Media has evolved exponentially into a powerful social engagement, business intelligence and educational tool that should be embraced by all in this information driven age. Today, companies use social media for predictive data analytics whose findings can be used for business forecasting, improving business sales and retaining customers.
Higher education institutions the world over are equally embracing social media as a research marketing tool that is able to drive user traffic to their web-portals, improve their visibility and rank as well as market their research products to a wider audience.
“Social media tools are useful for gathering, collating, accessing, managing, sharing and disseminating your work and research findings. The effective use of social media tools can also enable you to manage your online presence, develop your reputation, maximize your impact and build networks,” Prof. Nawangwe mentioned.

According to the Director, DICTS Eng. Kitumba Frank, Makerere University joined the trend of using social media with the aim of promoting its brand, protecting its image and increasing the opportunities of reaching out to its stakeholders. To achieve this wonderful milestone, the institution has been able to harmonise the existing online platform and ICT tools together with social media platforms to easily reach out to its stakeholders.

Mr. Kitumba also revealed that the University is developing a tool that will increase the staff and students interactivity on Makerere University social platforms. He therefore encouraged them to be very vibrant online and ensure that they positively represent the great brand and legacy Makerere owns.

“We are ensuring that the institution moves with the trend. We have managed to harmonise the existing tools with the social media platforms to ensure increase our interaction with the users and also market our research, innovations and other developments in academics,” he said.

 Mr. Agaba Issa Magabo,the Brand and Marketing Officer of Makerere University, speaking about the importance of institutional branding.
Samuel Paul Mugabi, the End-User Manager at DICTS said that Social media has evolved overtime and it is more than a casual linkup. According to him, the Makerere University has therefore recognized the changing trend and adopted the service delivery model where the IT Service Management has been streamlined to fit the social media trend and online interactivity among end users.

“We have improved the quality and consistency of the IT support experience for students, faculty and staff using various electronic touch points such as email, phones, CRM and Help-Desk tools. As the end user unit, we are in the process of repackaging data to fit our users’ interest and ensure that the message produced, effectively communicates across all the university platforms. We are working hand in hand with the Makerere University Public Relations Office to ensure that Makerere University maintains its relevancy through its digital platforms,” he explained.

Engaging the audience on the importance of institutional branding, the Brand and Marketing Officer of Makerere University Mr. Agaba Issa Magabo said that branding helps institution to attract Government support for institutional plans, to continue attracting partnerships from both local and international agencies and to maintain the confidence of alumni especially the would-be donors that their alma mater still “rocks”.

“If you are to attract local and international finances, you must behave in a certain unique, uniform and authentic way that will catch the funder’s eyes and then entrust you with his money. This means you need to have an authentic brand that is popular and respected,” he said.
He cautioned staff and students who misrepresent and misuse the university brand saying that it does not only affect the university as an institution but also tarnishes their names.“For many years Makerere University has been branded as an institution of strikes, this has strongly tarnished its image and reputation. The negative reports in the media have done more harm than good to the institution’s image and has inflicted a big damage on its market. But remember this is our institution, which needs our protection. Let us enjoy its legacy through building and maintaining its brand that it has held for centuries as we build for the future,” he said.

The Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer Ms. Ritah Namisango was able to emphasize the need to manage content when communicating a powerful brand.

Reiterating the need to manage content when communicating a powerful brand, the Makerere University Senior Public Relations Officer Ms. Ritah Namisango urged students and staff to always make a background check on the content they post about the institution. According to her, relevant and valuable content will always attract, engage and drive the audiences to follow the institution’s work hence creating traffic on the platforms. She appealed to staff and students to always defend and protect the institution’s image when interacting with their personal social media platforms.

“Our actions should support our institution. We should represent Makerere University positively as a good brand. Change starts with YOU. Be the change that you want to see. Communicate responsibly especially on social media.” she stated.

In a presentation on ‘how the media has improved our professional call a case study of WhatsApp, Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda, said that social media tools such as WhatsApp have potentials to provide cooperation, increase social interaction, interest and motivation, sense of belonging, academic success, student-student and student-teacher interaction. The tools also support learning anytime and anywhere, provide peer support, feedback, and allow for sharing of information in education.

He however, noted that despite their relevancy, many tutors have met challenges while using social media to reach out to their students. “Concerns towards privacy and security, losing attention, getting beyond the limits in personal relations, use of slang language, and negative effects on academic life arising from excessive use of social media have been cited while tutors try to reach out to students via social media,” he stated.

"The world is going digital, so our institions and businesses. we should utilse the opportunities availed by digital marketing," said Mr. Ssemanda Mathias, the digital Marketing specialist.

Mr. Mathias Ssemanda a Digital Marketing Specialist said digital Marketing varies greatly depending on institutions interests and values. According to him, higher education institutions are often caught in the crosshairs of upholding history and tradition and moving forward into the future with students. This makes it vital that their social media marketing efforts comprise part of a larger strategy focused on the overall institutional brand.

Ssemanda said that as social networks continue to advance and meld into aspects of everyday life, the academic world is determining the way in which these digital tools can work to educational advantage in correlation with conventional methods.
“The intended core of social media is communication, providing great opportunities for those within the education industry to connect, share and learn. Digital marketing builds and maintains the customer relationship through online activities. When well-managed, digital marketing can put the consumer in control, provides convenience, drives the brand loyalty, reduces the selling cycle and captures customers that are searching on the Internet for answers,” he said.

Taking the audience through social media threats, risks and security, the Director Cyber-Crime Unit in the Uganda Police Mr. Haguma Jimmy said many people have become victims of social media threats and crime in Uganda. According to Mr. Haguma, over the years the Uganda Police has registered several cases of cybercrime such as cyber rape, conmen online, destruction of relevant information by security threats, illegal hackers among others.

the Director Cyber-Crime Unit in the Uganda Police Mr. Haguma Jimmy, tipping staff and students on the best social media practices.
He therefore advised Ugandans to adopt the best social media practices and also familiarize themselves with the laws that govern social media in Uganda.  “Many laws have been put in place to regulate the social media environment, take time and read them so that you know your position while using social media. Do not open any emails from untrusted sources. Do not give offers from strangers the benefit of the doubt. Lock your laptop/Phone whenever you are away. Purchase anti-virus software. Read your company’s privacy policy to understand under what circumstances you can or should let a stranger into the building. Set strong passwords,” Mr. Haguma said.

Article and photos by: Proscovia Nabatte, Mak-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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