On 2nd March 2018, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe appointed a five member committee headed by Prof. Sylvia Tamale to investigate the causes of the increasing cases of sexual harassment, review the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment and make recommendations for its improvement, and receive submissions on sexual harassment at Makerere University. Consisting of Dr. Betty Ezati, Dr. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Christopher Mbazira and Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi and Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, the committee presented its first report to stakeholders for validation on 18th May 2018 in Makerere University Main Hall.
The Chairperson of the Committee Prof. Sylvia Tamale presented the report to students, staff, public and private partners of Makerere University. According to Prof. Tamale, the report provided preliminary findings of the committee on causes of sexual harassment at Makerere University, insights on the weakness and gaps in the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment and suggested recommendations.
Some of the recommendations proposed by the Committee was the review of the Makerere University Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment and the following were suggested;
- The revised document should clearly demarcate policy statement and procedural guidelines, the procedural guidelines should clearly enumerate the requirements that Adhoc committees must follow in hearing the cases.
- It must emphasise that committees are quasai judicial which means that the basic principals of national justice must be observed, these include representation by Council. However, it should be clear that the committee is not a fully-fledged court, it enjoys greater flexibility, informality and freedom from strict rule of law and procedure.
- The definition of students should be broadened to include former students of Makerere University.
- The scope of the Policy should extend to suppliers and service providers of Makerere University.
- Clause 7 which enumerates examples of sexual harassment should include examples of cyber-sex harassment such as coning through tweets, sex-texting and rape.
- The Policy should not allow women attires to be imposed as a defence by perpetrators for extending away their sexually harassing behaviours.
- Academic and administrative staff should fully disclose the extent and timing of their relationship whether they are marital, intimates with students and other staff members whom they are required to directly evaluate or assess.
- Intimate relationship between students and university employees cannot and should not be prohibited. However, they should be strongly discouraged as they involve complications. The Policy should adopt the principal of mandatory supporting in which academic and administrative staff actively listen and be compassionate to the survivor of sexual harassment.
- The Policy should not compel anyone particularly victims to report cases of sexual harassment and abuse. It is important that the decision to lodge a formal complaint is fully vested in the victim.
- A penalty should be imposed on persons who take no action when a case of sexual harassment is reported to them.
- Counselling and medical support to victims of sexual harassment is critical. The resources of the University Counselling and Guidance Centre should be enhanced to effectively handle the victims of sexual abuse.
- The Penalties and disciplinary actions should be revisited to make them more comprehensive and should take into account the interest of the victim.
- The Policy should provide for anonymous complaints, noting that such complaints are more difficult to investigate and results may be less satisfactory. The Committee noted that anonymous allegations are complicated but they should not be ignored. The University zero tolerance policy requires that we take all allegations seriously. Depending on the circumstances of each case for example how much information is provided? the university should investigate the merit of the circumstantial evidence and consider or not to pursue the case.
- Makerere University should propose to parliament to amend the Education (Pre-primary Primary and Post Primary) Acts of 2008 as well as the Universities and other Tertiary Institution Amendment Act of 2006 incorporating issues of sexual harassment in educational institutions. Parliament should be advised to strengthen the Sexual Harassment Act in the Employment Act of 2006.in particular, to deal with the wrongful assumption that sexual harassment occurs only in workplaces with more than 25 employees or that it is only employers and their representatives who are capable of harassing.
Other recommendations included, the need to deeply investigate cases, providing a favourable campus environment to students and staff, awareness raising and training students and staff on sexual harassment issues.
“We are concluding the work we were assigned to do. We would like stakeholders to review the report and suggest important feedback. While handling the task, we were guided by a qualitative research method and also employed a random sampling approach. We were able to conduct 234 interviews but we deliberately interviewed more women compared to men. This is because we realised that ladies were more vulnerable to sexual harassment compared to men therefore, women comprised 59% of our respondents,” she said.
She thanked management, staff, students and other stakeholders for supporting the Committee to ensure that it finalises its work on time. Prof. Sylvia Tamale acknowledged the tremendous role of respondents during the investigations. “I appreciate your cooperation and the information you provided made our work easier,” she said. .
In the same spirit she acknowledged the role of media when she said, “the high profile cases that were reported in the media helped to create a spotlight on the evils of sexual harassment hence increasing awareness on the issue.”
The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe commended the work done by the Committee. In the same spirit he appreciated the support from partners to ensure that Makerere University is free from sexual harassment.
“Makerere University is the epitome of knowledge. The university is tasked to nurture and impart knowledge to people. It is expected that the people to whom we impart knowledge must be free from any impediment to learn. They should be free from any form of harassment. It is hard for a person to learn while facing sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is not only criminal but it is against human moral. It is the worst form of abuse against human dignity,” said the Vice Chancellor.
In line with the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda that guarantees all Ugandans equality, dignity and non-discrimination, Makerere University reaffirms its zero tolerance for sexual harassment and is committed to creating an environment that respects and protects the rights of all its members, male and female.
The Makerere University Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment applies to students, academic staff, administrative staff, and support staff of Makerere University as well as to others who participate in Makerere programmes, activities and employment in both on-and off-campus settings.
“I would like to reiterate the University Council’s decision that anyone facing allegations of sexual harassment should be suspended and investigations expedited. We are extremely clear that we shall not tolerate any form of sexual harassment by anyone to anyone,” he emphasized.
During the interactive session chaired by the Dean School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University Dr. Sarah Ssali, selected prominent panellists discussed the draft findings presented by the chairperson of the Investigation Committee. These included the Vice Chairperson of Makerere University Council who is also the Executive Director of FIDA-Uganda Hon. Irene Ovonji Odida; Makerere University Guild President, H.E Papa Were Salim; Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof. Edward Kirumira and the Director for Gender and Community Development in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Ms Jane Mpagi. Drawing from their constituency representations and personal experiences, the panellists discussed the details of the report in relation to the institution’s stand against sexual harassment and provided further input.
According to Hon. Irene Ovonji Odida, Makerere University leadership should take full responsibility of averting sexual harassment in the university. “We should be responsible for this at all levels of leadership with the top management inclusive,” she said.
Ms Jane Mpagi, in her response to the findings revealed that there are so many sexual harassment cases reported not only from Makerere University but also in other societies. “Sexual harassment has not just started today. We also experienced it in our years though by that time the culture of silence was too much. Today we are receiving so many reports on sexual harassment not because the vice has escalated. It might be the limelight given to the issue,” she said.
Ms. Mpagi thanked the Government of Uganda for providing a conducive environment that has enabled women and girls to be bold and speak on issues of sexual harassment. She also appreciated Makerere University for always being at the fore front when it comes to issues concerning academics in the country. “You were the first to come up with the policy on sexual harassment, then you established the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and now you have championed the investigations against sexual harassment, thank you so much,” she appreciated.
Prof. Edward Kirumira encouraged the University to implement a process of de-hierarcharisation to reduce on the bureaucratic nature of the institution. “We should find an easier way of moving institutional procedures in areas such as registration, marking, and activities in the examination period, clearance and reporting mechanism without using the long processes,” he said.
“On top of creating awareness and sensitizing students on sexual harassment and the Policy, students should be confident that when they report their cases, the University leadership will take action. The Guild reaffirms its zero tolerance for sexual harassment and is taking awareness campaigns on sexual harassment a priority,” said the H.E Papa Were Salim, Makerere University Guild President.
Article by Nabatte Proscovia, Mak- PR Office and Gender Mainstreaming Directorate
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
General2 weeks ago
Application Forms for Admission to Public Universities 2024/2025
General2 weeks ago
African Universities urged on developing comprehensive safeguarding policies with critical elements of safety & protection
Agriculture & Environment1 week ago
Soybean Breeders Deliberate Strategies for Improving Productivity
General7 days ago
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
Engineering, Art & Tech1 week ago
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled