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Committee Investigating Sexual Harassment at Makerere University Presents the Report to Stakeholders for Validation



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.

Stakeholders listening attentantively.

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 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.

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and  Director of Gender Mainstreaming Dr. Euzobia M. Baine.

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 Validation Meeting was well attended.

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. 

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.

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 

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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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