The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni has commended Makerere University for uplifting Uganda’s pride nationally and internationally by developing the country’s research and innovation sector. This was during the Mak-Sweden Bilateral Research Annual Planning Meeting (APM) that was held on Monday 23rd April 2018 under a theme: “Harnessing the power of research and innovations for social transformation.”
Makerere University-Sweden Bilateral Research Program (2015-2020) is a renewed research program between the Government of Uganda and Government of Sweden. In the current cooperation agreement, the Swedish government appropriated a fund of 275 million SEC (USD 32 million) to support 17 research teams from the Ugandan public universities to build their human resource and improve the environment for research and training.
Addressing participants in the Main Hall, the Honourable Minister of Education and Sports appreciated Makerere University for taking a lead in finding solutions to societal problems through research and innovative ideas.
“You have generated solutions to problems such as poverty, unemployment, environmental concerns, hunger, power and alternative energy sources with the aim of positively changing the lives of people in the society. So many innovative ideas that have benefited our community have been incubated here at Makerere University,” she said.
“Research is the only avenue for the production of high calibre human resource and innovations in the country, it enables new knowledge and builds capacity. The current developments in society heavily depend on the efforts to utilize the findings from the research done on the several topics in the country. Incidentally development of a country these days is highly measured by how much the country has been able to carry out research and utilizing the findings to develop solutions for the community,” she added.
The First lady acknowledged the tremendous support from the Government of Sweden towards research in public universities in Uganda and the tremendous support it has rendered to the Government of Uganda. “I appreciate the Royal Government of Sweden for the support towards research and innovations that has led to great improvement in the research culture of our public institutions,” The First Lady remarked.
“I want to advise students, management, and staff not to jeopardize such great collaborations through disruptive activities. We should translate the theory taught in these institutions through learning peaceful means of resolving disagreements,” the Minister added.
She appreciated the creativity exhibited by students from the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF) led by the Head of Department, Dr. Sylvia A. Nannyonga – Tamusuza, Associate Professor of music.
The Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Per Lindgarde commended the Ugandan Universities for being able to jointly recruit 310 students out of 337 for the current agreement when he said, “The Swedish Government is proud of the results that have come out of this research collaboration so far. This meeting will hopefully demonstrate a key Swedish Government position: that research cooperation is building a long term commitment beyond aid – a collaboration focused on scientific cooperation on equal footing between partners.”
The First Secretary and Senior Research Advisor in charge of Research Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda, Dr. Gity Behravan emphasized the importance of Sweden’s position to have a holistic approach in its support to research efforts in Uganda.
“The Swedish strategy is based on funding institution building, post-graduate education, and research in one single efforts. No part can function without the others. For the current support, we have aligned our support to a multidisciplinary approach with emphasis on local PhD training in line with the NDPII with the goal to increase the production and use of scientifically based knowledge of international quality that shall contribute to Uganda’s development,” she said.
In order to strengthen Uganda’s ownership of the research agenda, Dr. Behravan said that the country should ensure that its partnerships create and build a sustainable system for higher education and research in Uganda. This requires stronger Government commitment to provide the necessary resources to the research sector.
The main objective of the current five-year Bilateral Research Cooperation agreement is to strengthen the capacity of public universities to conduct and sustain high quality research that will contribute to the development needs of Uganda and beyond through building a critical mass of independent researchers.
According to the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Makerere University has regained her leadership as one of the best universities; not only on the African continent but globally through the enormous research support the Government and the people of Sweden have given to the institution over the last eighteen years.
“Out of the 716 PhD holders at Makerere University, 226 have been trained under the Sida Bilateral research programme with an investment of more than US$73million. More than 200 members of staff have developed skills as supervisors on this programme and almost all of them, have been promoted to higher academic ranks,” he stated.
The Sida Bilateral research program is credited for the major transformation in the College of Health Sciences. Currently, the College has one of the largest number of PhD holders and an extensive research output not only at Makerere University, but throughout the East African Region. The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology is one of the flagships for research at Makerere University largely due to the Sida programme.
“Practically every College has benefited from the Sida Bilateral research programme and this has greatly transformed the academic landscape at Makerere University. Under this phase, the programme is also contributing to developing human resource for the other public universities,” said Prof. Nawangwe.
He thanked the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) for its central role in realising the university’s vision of being the leading institution for academic excellence and innovations in Africa. In the same spirit the Vice Chancellor thanked the President of Uganda H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the Government of the Republic of Uganda for creating an environment conducive for conducting research and innovations at universities.
“I thank the Government of Uganda for the funds that have been provided to us for research and innovation through the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology at Makerere University and the partner universities. To the Government and people of Uganda and to the Government and people of Sweden, we pledge that we will put to good use all the funds provided to us for research and for training critical human resource for our country and region,” he stated.
The Annual Planning Meeting for Makerere-Sweden Bilateral Research Programme was organized by DRGT, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), and Mak Public Relations Office. The meeting was attended by Principal Investigators, Supervisors, and Sida-sponsored students at MSc/MA, PhD and Postdoctoral research training from the five Ugandan partner universities of Makerere University, Kyambogo, Busitema, Gulu and Mbarara University of Science and Technology; together with Swedish representatives from the Universities of Gothenburg; Linköping; Stockholm; Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Mälardalen University; Chalmers University of Technology; Lund University; Borås University; Karolinska Institute (KI); Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Uppsala University.
According to the Director DRGT, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi, the meeting is organised annually to discuss and appraise the research undertakings, share information and learn about development in the field of research, technologies and innovations. The convention offers a platform for multi-disciplinary knowledge exchange between researchers in Uganda and Sweden, and providing an opportunity to measure strength and contribution to solve the societal problems.
“This year’s theme is in line with our research agenda because we are convinced that Uganda today is faced with complex challenges in the area of health, education, technology, urbanisation, environment, rapid changes in technology and the growing complexity of things in general. Such complexity calls for innovative solutions. Researchers are best placed to provide pathways towards innovative solutions by engaging in research collaboration and knowledge exchange,” said Prof. Buyinza.
The Mak-Sweden Annual Planning Meeting (APM) 2018 also featured the Science Day, a platform where staff, students and researchers from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) provided evidence-based research presentations and a scientific exhibition of research and innovations. The interactive Science Day sessions chaired by Dr. Herbert Talwana and Dr. Yazidhi Bamutaze featured some of the following presentations:
Prof. Phenihas Tukamuhebwa presented his innovation project on Soybean and its development. According to him, in 1996, Soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi Syd.); one of the most devastating soybean diseases in the world was detected in Uganda, leading to yield losses of up to 100%. By 2000, farmers had lost interest in growing soybean since it was no longer profitable.
Prof. Tukamuhebwa said that to address this problem, researchers at Makerere University embarked on soybean research and breeding activities in major soybean growing areas in Uganda using a participatory approach that led to the development of six high yielding-rust resistant soybean varieties.
“With over 80% of the people living in Uganda engaged in Agriculture, the Maksoy high yielding rust resistant varieties have transformed the soybean sector and improved livelihoods. Soybean production in Uganda steadily increased from 144,000 hectares in 2004 to 200,000 hectares in 2014 Soybean prices increased from 600 UGX per kg in 2008 to 1000 UGX per kg in 2011 (SNV, 2011),” he said.
Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe who is also the Principal Investigator of INSBIZ Project (INSect-based agriBIZiness for sustainable grasshopper and cricket production and processing for food in Kenya and Uganda) introduced the participants to a new and innovative research project of rearing insects for both food and feed. She said that due to health and societal problems such as food insecurity and nutritional issues, researchers have discovered insects as capable instruments in bridging the health- nutritional-food gap by rearing and commercialising them for food and feed.
“Rearing insects can be a solution to the increasing challenge of food shortage in Africa, they are valuable sources of protein, minerals and vitamins that are essential for human development. With enormous demand of meat in the world, insect can be a compliment since are eaten by many people in the world, given their nutritious value,” she said.
In a presentation on combining plants and habitats for improved pest control, Dr. Mattias Jonsson said increasingly, the structure of landscape and habitat is recognized as having a major influence on both insect pests and their natural enemies. Habitat manipulation that aims at conserving natural enemies can potentially contribute to safer and more effective control of invasive pests.
Other presentations of the day included;
- Urban resilience to climate-related shocks and stress in Uganda: a synthesis of frameworks by George Orianga.
- The CNDs integrative to unravel the interplay of natural hazards and vulnerabilities by Frederike Albrecht and Giuliano Di Baldassarre.
- Learning and Student Collaborative innovations. The new frontier for training and job creation by Dr. Fred Kabi.
- Gendered Perception of and attitude towards Climate Change by Faridah Nalwanga
- Integrating ICTs in Agriculture Extension: The Case of M-Omulimisa in Uganda by Prof. Moses Tenywa and Dan Ninsima.
Article by: Proscovia Nabatte, Public Relations Office
Edited by: Ritah Namisango, 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